An article about the ridiculous divide in opinion between so-called ‘Arab’ so-called ‘leaders’ and ‘their’ peoples stated midway that “Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday rallied behind Hezbollah, describing Israel as ‘an evil, cancerous tumor’ in the midst of the Islamic world.”

I stopped at that, as I’m sure others might.

Some people might vilify Khamenei for saying such a thing. They’ve been watching the news, seeing the Zionist attacks on Lebanon and on the very existence of a Palestine, hearing it called a ‘reaction’, as though it had been the Arabs that had struck first, as though one hundred years ago there had been an ‘Israel’ to strike against in the first place.

The reason I stopped at it is because I had heard almost exactly the same description used to refer to the so-called ‘State of Israel’ before. I heard it years ago. I was in a little resort in Sinai, called Basata. I was at one of the large communal dinner tables. I was having my dinner and trying to ignore my ‘hippier than thou’ friend who still lived in Faerie-Land at the time and was accordingly trying to have a ‘mutually enlightening‘ conversation with some of the Israeli tourists at the resort.

I remember only one part of that conversation; somebody had very distinctly compared the Zionist presence to a cancerous growth in the Middle East. It wasn’t me, it wasn’t my friend, and it wasn’t a younger Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on a trip to Egypt.

It was one of the Israelis.

At some point, mustering all the honesty he could bring to bear on the situation, the Israeli tourist had finally confessed that “I feel sometimes that we are like a cancer here in the Middle East.

Had I been willing to take part in that particular conversation, the question would’ve been…

Then why not leave?

God damn it all.