[A-List] Juan Cole on Congressional Resolution Charging Ahmadinejad with Incitement to Genocide
critical.montages at gmail.com
Tue Jun 26 11:06:49 MDT 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Ahmadinejad: "I am not anti-Semitic"
Palestinians should Decide on Two-State Solution
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 map.'
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.
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
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 -- recorded
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 a prediction?
(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
(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 decision?
(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 government.
(David Pujadas) Do you mean with Israel as their neighbor?
(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
Unattributed report: "The President: Truth-Seeking and Honest Groups
Should Be Formed To Investigate the Holocaust"
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 world.
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.
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