Ahmadinejad: "I am not anti-Semitic"
Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul continue to show themselves among
the few in Congress with any integrity and backbone.
They declined to go along with a resolution charging Iranian
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad with incitement to genocide, given
his alleged call for Israel to be 'wiped off the face of the
Palestinians should Decide on Two-State Solution
By Juan Cole
As most of my readers know, Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase
in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini
calling for 'this occupation regime over Jerusalem" to "vanish
from the page of time.' Calling for a regime to vanish is not
the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not
to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed. (Wampum
has more; as does
If Ahmadinejad is a genocidal maniac who just wants to kill
Jews, then why are there 20,000 Jews in Iran with a member of
parliament in Tehran? Couldn't he start at home if that was what
he is really about?
I was talking to two otherwise well-informed Israeli historians
a couple of weeks ago, and they expressed the conviction that
Ahmadinejad had threatened to nuke Israel. I was taken aback.
First of all, Iran doesn't have a nuke. Second, there is no
proof that Iran even has a nuclear weapons program. Third,
Ahmadinejad has denied wanting a bomb. Fourth, Ahmadinejad has
never threatened any sort of direct Iranian military action
against Israel. In other words, that is a pretty dramatic fear
for educated persons to feel, on the basis of . . . nothing.
I renew my call to readers to write protest letters to
newspapers and other media every time they hear it alleged that
Ahmadinejad (or "Iran"!) has threatened to "wipe Israel off the
map." There is no such idiom in Persian and it is not what he
said, and the mistranslation gives entirely the wrong
impression. Wars can start over bad translations.
It was apparently some Western wire service that mistranslated
the phrase as 'wipe Israel off the map', which sounds rather
more violent than calling for regime change. Since then, Iranian
media working in English have themselves depended on that
translation. One of the tricks of Right-Zionist propagandists is
to substitute these English texts for Ahmadinejad's own Persian
text. (Ethan Bronner at the New York Times tried to pull this,
and more recently Michael Rubin at the American Enterprise
Institute.) But good scholarship requires that you go to the
original Persian text in search of the meaning of a phrase.
Bronner and Rubin are guilty disregarding philological
scholarship in favor of mere propagandizing.
These propaganda efforts against Iran and Ahmadinejad also
depend on declining to enter into evidence anything else he has
ever said-- like that it would be wrong to kill Jews! They also
ignore that Ahmadinejad is not even the commander in chief of
the Iranian armed forces.
Anyone who reads this column knows that I deeply disagree with
Ahmadinejad's policies and am not interested in defending him on
most things. I profoundly disagree with his characterization of
Israel, which is a legitimate United Nations member state, and
find his Holocaust denial monstrous. But this quite false charge
that he is genocidal is being promoted by Right-Zionists in and
out of Congress as a preparatory step to getting up a US war
against Iran on false pretences. I don't want to see my country
destroyed by being further embroiled in the Middle East for the
wrong reasons. If the Israeli hardliners and their American amen
corner want a war with Iran, let them fight it themselves and
leave young 18 year old Americans alone.
So here are some things Ahmadinezhad has said that make clear
his intentions, and which are translated by the United States
government Open Source Center. He is hostile to Israel. He'd
like to see regime change (apparently via a referendum on the
shape of the government ruling over geographical Palestine, in
which all "original" residents of any religion would get a
vote). Calling for a referendum on the dissolution of a
government is not calling for genocide. Ahmadinejad also says he
has no objection to a Jewish state in and of itself, he just
thinks it should be located in, say, German territory set apart
for the purpose, rather than displacing Palestinians from their
homes. He may be saying unrealistic things; he is not advocating
killing Jews qua Jews, or genocide.
Note that Ahmadinejad below denies being an anti-Semite (why
deny it if he supposedly glories in it?); points out that he
supports Jewish representation in the Iranian parliament; and
compares his call for an end to the Zionist regime ruling over
Jerusalem to the Western call for the dissolution of the old
Soviet Union. Was Ronald Reagan inciting to genocide when he
called for an end of the Soviet regime?
Iran's President Ahmadinezhad Holds New York News
Conference 21 Sep
News conference by Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad
at UN headquarters in New York -- correspondents'
questions in English simultaneously translated into
Persian -- live
Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN)
Friday, September 22, 2006
Regarding the issue of the invasion of Lebanon, you saw
that everyone - of all religions, of all faiths -
condemned it. Because the nations have awakened. The
nations hate aggression. . . Some people think that if
they level accusations at Ahmadinezhad - saying: He is a
terrorist, he is a murderer, he is anti-Semitic - the
issue would be resolved. No. I am not anti-Semitic. Like
all other human beings, Jews are respected. And, by the
way, there are Muslims and Christians and Jews among the
Palestinian people. We say the people of Palestine
should choose. We do not say that it should be the
Palestinian Muslims. For they lived in peace and harmony
in the past. But then Britain came over and, with
colonialist goals, took control and then handed it over
to the Zionists. And the problem started. Let the people
choose and see what will happen.
Iranian Television Broadcasts President Ahmadinezhad's
Interview With French TV
"Exclusive interview" with Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad by David
Pujadas of French TV's TF2 Channel on 22 March 2007 --
Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1
Sunday, March 25, 2007
(David Pujadas) The fact that Iran's position is
disconcerting, one of the reasons is that Your
Excellency's statements are to a large extent
threatening. For instance, your assertion that Israel
should be wiped from the map of the world, all these
things have created some concern which has been
reflected in the nuclear case too.
(Ahmadinezhad) . . . Let me ask you this question: where
is the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics now? Was it
not wiped off (the map)? How was it wiped off? We have a
totally humanitarian solution for Palestine. We have
said that all the Palestinians should take part in a
free referendum so as to end the 60 year old war. The
outcome is clear from now. It is because of the same
outcome that America and Britain are refusing to yield.
(David Pujadas) Let us clarify everything. Do you really
wish to wipe Israel off the face of the earth? Do you
have a plan for this job or are you in fact making such
(Ahmadinezhad) Look, I told you the solution. I think
the people of Palestine also have the right to determine
their own fate. Let them choose for themselves, the
Christians, the Jews and the Muslims. That is, all the
Palestinians who belong to that land can participate in
the referendum. I think the outcome of such a referendum
is already clear. We saw what happened in last year's
elections (when they voted for HAMAS).
(David Pujadas) If the Palestinians themselves accept
that two governments should enjoy peaceful coexistence
next to each other, will you be ready to accept their
(Ahmadinezhad) Incidentally this is what we are saying.
That is, we are saying let the nation of Palestine
decide for itself without any imposition. They should be
allowed to do so in a free atmosphere. This is the right
of the Palestinian people. Let them decide for
themselves. Let them decide the shape of their own
(David Pujadas) Do you mean with Israel as their
(Ahmadinezhad) Look, let the nation of Palestine decide
about its own state. This is the right of the
Palestinian people. . .
(David Pujadas) A lot is being said about the 60m people
who have been killed during World War II, but why should
we just discuss the 6m people who have been killed in
the Nazi camps for being Jews?
(Ahmadinezhad) You well know that we respect everyone.
The Jews, Christians, Muslims. They are all free in our
country and they have their own representatives in our
Majles [Parliament]. You know that according to the Law
in Iran, every 150,000 people have one representative in
the Majles. But the number of the Jews is not even
20,000 people and they have a representative. We say
that the life and belongings of all people should be
respected. We condemn all crimes. . .
Iran: Presidential Website Reports Ahmadinezhad's
Remarks at Holocaust Conference
Unattributed report: "The President: Truth-Seeking and
Honest Groups Should Be Formed To Investigate the
Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran WWW-Text
Thursday, December 28, 2006
The president stated that due to God's wish and the
vigilance of nations the days of the Zionist regime are
numbered and added: We want prosperity for all humans
and even like to guide our enemies, but some European
and American politicians' one-sided and bigoted support
for the Zionist regime no longer has a function in the
Dr Ahmadinezhad stated that, with each day that passes
of the Zionist regime's life, the interests and
reputation of its supporting powers become more
endangered. He added: The sensible and fair solution is
to remove this regime the same way it was set up and
imposed on the region's countries through planning and
imperialistic objectives. This will bring peace to the
world, and the region's countries will also forgive the
atrocities of the last 60 years.
The president also stated that God did not create human
beings for war, hatred, and enmity. He said the key for
establishment of peace and harmony is justice; justice
is achievable through monotheism and believing in God.
He emphasized: An international effort must be made to
establish peace and to remove the roots of insecurity
and injustice, as the international balance is changing
rapidly and the future evolutions will certainly be for
peace, brotherhood, justice, and worshiping God.
on "comments" below to
read or post comments
Be succinct, constructive and
relevant to the story.
encourage engaging, diverse and
meaningful commentary. Do not
include personal information such
as names, addresses, phone
numbers and emails. Comments
falling outside our guidelines
those including personal
attacks and profanity are
See our complete
this link to notify us if you
have concerns about a comment.
Well promptly review and
remove any inappropriate
Send Page To a Friend
with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material
is distributed without profit to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational
purposes. Information Clearing House has no
affiliation whatsoever with the originator of
this article nor is Information ClearingHouse
endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)