Ram, a professor of Middle Eastern history at Ben Gurion University, seeks to enlighten readers on how the cultural values and foundations of Israeli society have affected its perception of Iran. Unfortunately, he is very much influenced by post-Zionist, Saidian, and leftist philosophies. The book focuses primarily on perceived inequalities within Israel and its domination by an ethnocentric elite.
From the opening, Ram argues that Israel's fears about Iran are based upon "phobias" and prejudices. Israel is portrayed as a country with an identity crisis, in which the elite, eschewing a traditional Jewish or Middle Eastern identity, aspires to be "like Europe." He provides a myriad of examples in examining different reactions to the Iranian revolution within the Israeli elite. It is impossible, the author argues, to look at the Israeli elite's or society's responses as monolithic in tone. Academics who do not share Ram's opinions are categorized as close-minded, misinformed, or bigoted. The author's account neglects a realistic portrayal of what occurred within Iran during the revolution when there were a multitude of political philosophies and figures at work.
The view of Iran as a threat derives from 1979, according to the author, as a replacement for the threat from the Arabs. Ram explains that Israel's view of Iran was obscured by "Orientalism." In its haste to be considered part of Europe, Israel imported prejudiced and caricatured views of the Middle East and of Islam. Israel's fear of Iran is seen as one that has been manufactured and cultivated by its elite in order to maintain the status quo. Ram even implies that Iranian Jews find as much or more freedom in Iran than in Israel.
The Israeli public in turn accepts Iran's bogeyman status because what it abhors in its vision of Iran is a mirror-image of what may become of Israel. Despite the misplaced fears of secularists about Iranian Shi'i political designs, they were looking for influence over, not the overthrow of the state. Ram argues that Israeli leaders used hysteria about the dangers of Iran to create a diversion and to present their country as a trusted ally in the war on terrorism. That the Iranian regime has fought a proxy war against Israel on multiple fronts, most notably via Hezbollah and Hamas, undermines Ram's accusations of Israeli paranoia and opportunism.
The Ram thesis borders on the disingenuous and his book has more utility to understand the mindset of post-Zionist writers and intellectuals than the nature of Israel's perceptions of Iran.