Ahmadinejad Spews Raving Lunatic Anti-Semitism on ‘Jerusalem Day’

Note: Revised 9/21/09

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a sermon on Friday for “Jerusalem Day” that is full of the most vile crackpot anti-Semitism that can be imagined.

Anti-Semitism as a form of bigotry typically ascribes the most abject motives and character to Jews in general at the same time as they are depicted as secretly controlling the world. The original version of this posting did not post extended Open Source Center translation. Here are a couple of paragraphs, below. But note that the the first two sentences were not in the Persian text. The OSC translators listened to the original radio broadcast, however, and so it is possible that Ahmadinejad added things orally that were not in his prepared remarks. I have compared the translation to the Persian text and have altered some of my original readings.

‘Before the First World War, certain noises were made in order to organize an evil current to dominate the entire world. Using their colonial experiences, they [the imperial European states] plotted to dominate all nations and the world’s material and intellectual properties. After the First World War, they abused the ignorance of the nations and Muslims of the region, and they put Palestine under the trusteeship of the old colonialist, Britain. They provided an opportunity for the organized criminal Zionists and the[se] rushed into Palestine. Under the cover of buying farms, gardens, and lands, they occupied a major part of the land by the use of weapons and carrying out massacres and assassinations. By the help of the British government and relying on her force, they displaced the people.

Before the Second World War, the noises and activities were intensified. In European countries, a complicated show started which was called anti-Semitism. Of course, some governments and their people have always abhorred the Jews because of indecent behavior by some of the Jews and they were willing to evict the Jews out of Europe. However, some European governments and statesmen and the Zionist network did the main plot of anti-Semitism. They produced hundreds of films. They wrote hundreds of books and circulated rumors. They started a psychological war in order to make them (the Jews) escape to Palestine.’

For him to suggest, as he does here, that anti-Semitism was justified by Jewish “indecent behavior,” is beyond despicable. He also appears to blame Jews for the Nazi crimes against them, saying that the Zionists spread around anti-Semitic books and films in Europe so as to make Jews hated and so as to cause them to be expelled to Palestine. These allegations go beyond simple anti-Zionism into a weird and creepy world of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Elsewhere he says, “My dear ones, the pretext used to establish the Zionist regime was a lie and a corrupt act. It was a lie based on a fabricated claim that cannot be proven. The occupation of the Palestinian land had no connection with the issue of holocaust. The claim, the pretext, [and the directors [dastandarkaran] and the patrons [hamiyan]] are all fraudulent and corrupt. They are all historical criminals. They are responsible for plundering and colonizing the world for the past 500 years.”

I read the Persian phrase, which the government translators dropped, about dastandarkaran (masters, proprietors) and their protectors and patrons (hamiyan) to be a reference to Zionists and imperialists. He then says “all of them” (hamih-’i ishan) are responsible for colonizing and plundering the world for the past half-millennium. I’ve gone back and forth on this, since Ahmadinejad’s speaking style is syntactically sloppy and his referents are not always clear, but I am leaning to thinking that he sees a Jewish/ imperial partnership as having stretched into the distant past.

In other words, he is saying, all of modern history (possibly from the Portuguese conquest of Goa) and certainly the British conquests during WW I, the Nazi persecution of Jews, and last year’s American presidential race, has been the unfolding of a secret Jewish plot, wherein “Zionists” control everything that happens.

You wonder why he holds out any hope of Palestinians prevailing in the face of such a long-lived and all-powerful conspiracy! It is sort of like The Highlander meets the Protocols of the Elders of Zion!

The US press coverage of the speech has focused on Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust, which seems more complete than before (he has in the past said that the number of dead, 6 million, has been ‘exaggerated’). He said this time, “Four or five years after the Second World War, all of a sudden they claimed that during this war, the Holocaust had occurred. They claimed that a few million Jews had been burned in the crematorium furnaces. They institutionalized two slogans. One was the innocence of the Jews. They used lies and very sophisticated propaganda and psychological ploys and created the illusion that they (the Jews) are innocent. The second goal was that they created the illusion that the Jews needed an independent state and government. They were so persuasive and convincing that many of the world’s politicians and intellectuals were deceived and persuaded.” Elsewhere he called this ‘pretext’ a “lie” and a “myth” (afsaneh).

He then went on to repeat his bizarre claim that researchers are prevented from researching the Holocaust. Surely no event in history has been better documented by historians from primary sources.

I just felt a chill, and frankly then nausea, as I read this sewage.

I am not saying that Ahmadinejad is genocidal. He has killed many more Muslims than Jews (I don’t know that he has directly killed any Jews, and Iran has 20,000). A campaign of vilification against me was kicked off when I pointed out that Ahmadinejad had not in fact threatened to wipe Israel off the map, but had just quoted Ayatollah Khomeini to the effect that the ‘Zionist regime over Jerusalem’ must eventually ‘vanish from the page of time.’ Since expressing a wish that a regime will collapse is not a casus belli, hawks who wanted a war on Iran were furious at me for revealing the truth. The usually reasonable New York Times even did a hand-waving smoke and mirrors piece attempting to deflect my argument without actually disproving it. And it remains the case that Ahmadinejad is not the commander in chief of the armed forces and cannot make troops march into war– that prerogative is with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Ahmadinejad could not even appoint a vice president he wanted without Khamenei’s permission (and when it was not forthcoming, he had to dismiss him).

But the venomous rhetoric against Jews (it isn’t just Zionists if it is projected back 500 years) that he used in this speech is so hateful that if it became widespread and ensconced in Iranian society, it certainly would have bad and tragic results– for Jews, Iranians and for us human beings in general.

One of the dangers of the right-wing Zionists’ tactic of smearing as “anti-Semitic” all criticism of any Israeli policy is precisely that they end up trivializing this deadly, soul-killing phenomenon, and by crying wolf so often may actually decrease vigilance toward the real thing. Saying that former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert is corrupt, or that Israeli settlers in the West Bank are violating the international law of occupation, is not anti-Semitism. Neither one is doing any favors to Israel or to world Jewry, and it is odd that anyone should defend them or see criticism of them as bigotry. But the bilge that came out of Ahmadinejad’s mouth on Friday, that is the real thing.

Luckily, most Iranians clearly were not taken in, and his opponents put around pamphlets saying “No to Gaza and Lebanon, I will give my life [only] for Iran!” In fact, by associating it with himself, Ahmadinejad may single-handedly be sinking support for the Palestinian cause among Iranians, since most of them despise him and everything he stands for.

Now excuse me while I go take a shower with lava soap. Ugh.

End/ (Not Continued)

34 Responses

  1. Dear Professor Cole

    It rather looks as if President Ahmadinejad has done his country and his cause a great disservice by illustrating his poor grasp of 20th century events.

    It will have reinforced the case of those in Israel who warn that people are coming to kill them or carry them off into slavery. As this has been their experience for the last five thousand years they do have reason to be cautious about those of us who think we may have moved on.

    This makes the task of removing the three hundred nuclear warheads from people about whom there is a suspicion that they might not be rational actors far more difficult. Perhaps President Ahmadinejad was trying to provoke a preemptive Israeli attack on Iran?

    Your castigation of the denial of the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews and Roma as a first stage of a much larger plan to eliminate the slavs to make room for a superior population in their place is justified.

    It is dangerous for people in positions of power to voice these thoughts and stories which parallel the facts but posit a grand conspiracy. They are accepted as facts by people who don't have the education or the access to other sources of information and who look for the means to strike back at what they see as injustice.

    The Northern Ireland Protestants saw Home Rule as Rome Rule in the early 20th century and for much of that century stuck to their remnant of 17th century plantation mentality as described by Niall Ferguson in "Empire".

    Ferguson is useful reading because of his description of the rise of the Rothschild bankers. I suspect it is an easy mistake to make that when the British needed to raise money for their war that the bankers extracted a declaration supporting Hertzl's analysis of where to put a safe place for Jews.

    Visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau is easy for we westerners. Budget airlines fly to Krakow and there are twice daily guided tours with convenient restaurants and souvenir shops.

    The main camp is surprisingly small, though well preserved and exhibiting some quite moving primary evidence. There is a subtle shift in emphasis away from extermination of Jews to include the many thousands of Polish citizens who died there.

    Our tour guide is doing a PhD in History at University of Krakow

    The thing that is irrefutable is the shrine to St Maximilien Kolbe, Franciscan Friar. I remember a priest coming to our school to campaign for his beatification forty years ago. A conspiracy between the Franciscans and the Israelis won't fly, in my mind.

    If you visit Birkenau you look at the length of the railway sidings and calculate the number of people who would have been on a train. At two trains a day the number of people who could be killed and cremated matches the numbers claimed.

    The horrible thing is that with the difficulties experienced in getting visas for people from the Middle East to visit Europe there is a difficulty in arranging for kids from Tehran or Cairo or Damascus looking at the carefully marked luggage of long dead ladies from Holland and wondering if the place has ghosts, and understanding the fears of their great grandchildren.

  2. So it's much worse than I thought.

    Humiliating.

    You know, Juan, for years I defended this man using your argument about the mistranslation. Now the truth really comes out.

    All I can say is he must be feeling a sense of desperation. To go out on such a limb as such an obvious antagonist of the West…

    It's either a rotten political trick or he actually believes he is pitted against an omnipotent, ethnic, political force. You're right, it is classic anti-semitism.

    I voted in the '09 Iranian election here at a polling station in northern California. I actually did so using my deceased father's 40 year old passport. The pollsters allowed me to vote. (Technically, by Iranian law I retain eligibility of citizenship.) It was the first Iranian election I ever participated in.

    I'm proud to say I did not vote for Ahmadinejad.

    Thank you, Juan, for keeping me informed.

    -Pirouz

  3. Dear Professor Cole

    Just in the interest of balance and to illustrate that the complexity of the situation in Al Quds, Kate Humble has recently shown a series of programs on BBC TV tracing the incence trail from Oman to Bethlehem via Gaza.

    In a piece set in Jerusalem (for balance) having explained the importance of al Aqsa to Muslims, she interviewed an Orthodox gentleman who is supporting a plan to rebuild a Temple on the spot occupied by Al Aqsa.

    There are crazies on both sides.

  4. Without wishing to at all undermine your point, it is as well to understand why Ahmadinejad has been saying what he has. I think your commentary assumes too much coherence on his part.

    I have serious doubts about the extent that Ahmadinejad's rhetoric is motivated by anti-semitism, even if he is exploiting some antisemitic narratives. In my experience, Iranians get irrational about Israel, but they seem not to have any problem with their Jewish community. The two seem to be quite separate in Iranian minds.

    In Ahmadinejad's mind the Zionist project is a neo-colonial project, and he is clearly connecting that with a centuries-old tradition of barbarous marauding Europeans killing, hacking and burning in the region.

    That we are still doing this in the name of democracy while propping up massively repressive regimes and controlling the region for our own ends just gives him and his ilk the perfect platform to strut his stuff.

  5. The Iranian leaders comments play right into the Zionists' handbook. This tells me he is actually an Israeli Mossad agent OR he is very very stupid.

  6. The US and UK governments constantly make the case that their soldiers that die in Iraq and Afghanistan are doing so in order to set up a socio-political environment in those countries that ultimately leads to the elimination of terror on the streets of London and New York.

    So if English soldiers can die in Helmand to protect London why not Iranians in Southern Lebanon to protect Tehran?

    While I agree wholeheartedly with your post I do think the protestations are too loud. I believe that the Iranians, and muslims are the victims here. Would we have supported the anti-apartheid movement any less if Mandela was an anti-white racist? Can we argue that Zimbabwe isn't in need of land, and economic redistribution because Mugabe goes about it in the vilest way possible and for petty political considerations?

    Ahmedinejad is clearly mad, but his madness has a logic. It reflects and distorts the fears and sanctioned aspirations of Iranians that suffer under the threat and reality of Western and Israeli inspired sanctions and violence. Remove that and Ahmedinejad loses his power. This is exactly what Obama meant when he proposed meeting with Tehran without conditions during the presidential campaign.

  7. Ahmadinejad is facing internal strife and resistance to his leadership. He is responding in a conventional manner, by exalting an external enemy for his people to fear and hate– an axis of evil perhaps. This method is well known and highly regarded in many palaces.

  8. 3. On the 500-year issue, I wonder whether this refers to the age of imperialism in general, of which Zionism is an example?

    By the way, I have to view your smug, dismissive attitude as something of an affectation. I realize that in view of past controversies, you are eager not to be seen as anti-Semitic, but you would never use this tone with Israeli politicians. (Washing with lava soap?) Anyway, I see that you understand the attractions of extremist rhetoric.

  9. It is true that Ahmadinejad's speech was anti-Semitic if one translates the words "them/they" in his speech are interpreted to mean "Zionists".

    However, if the words "them/they" are interpreted to mean "Imperialists" then the charge does not apply.

    Any thoughts?

  10. sure, "professor", but when are you gonna post something on ahmadinejad's anti-semitic ravings? [/wingnut]

  11. Thank you Professor Cole for the terse and clear analysis of the latest foulness coming out of Mahmoud Ahmajinedad.

    I hope that the people of Iran stay positive and rational while "dumping" this nutcase, and that Iranian military leaders realize that they will probably get bombed if there is proof beyond reasonable doubt that they possess an atomic weapon (not that I think this would be the brightest idea…that is, bombing Iran, because the West would snuff out Iran after their first launch of any weapon).

    Thanks again.

    Mad Plato

  12. Anybody really believe it's going to get any better? That “peace processes” are anything more than cover to keep the mopes thinking that there’s light at the end of the tunnel? You might take a look, e.g., at a couple of Atlantic articles that describe a lot of what really happens at the Israeli-Palestinian margin, for example, and the story repeats in a most fractal manner in every “corner” of the globe.

    link to theatlantic.com

    Note how once again, the parasites on top of both "sides" profit, while the sheeple on every corner sell their and their children’s future by buying into the locked-in, hard-wired, oh-so-satisfying, tribal, limbic-system-pleasing, grim-jawed fear and hatred of "the Enemy." Just like the military-commercial-“policy” folks lie up in the bowels of nations like obscene, epicene tapeworms and drain the nutrients and send the bodies politic that warm and feed them down the steepening curve of cachexia and eventual extinction.
    And can I just add one word? "Settlements." And maybe two more: "anomie," and "entropy."

    And of course there’s this:

    link to jpfo.org

    and lots more like it.

    And please don’t lambaste me for pointing to this link,

    link to haaretz.com

    and not to the thousands of others that document predation and parasitism by all the profit-and-power-seeking people on all the other “sides” of all the conflicts that us idiots are manipulated into arming and manning and “taking sides” on.
    There’s just too much to try to keep track of, in a world where we have to earn a living somehow and feel the need to band together with others of “our tribe” to “provide for the common defense” by making war and preparing for war, at a huge monetary and spiritual cost that dwarfs any possible returns. Suckered once again by those Intelligent Bandits, in the framework of Prof. Cipolla's "Five Rules of Stupidity."

    We just do not want to look at ourselves and see what we really are. And like the folks who line up for the latest zombie and vampire movies, we LIKE being scared, we LIKE the gore, we LIKE watching the helpless and hapless get their faces eaten off and their blood drained and get turned into the Evil Ones.

  13. Ahmadinejad is a moral monster and his anti-Semetism is abohorant. However, protesters opposing the government in Iran must not renounce solidarity with the Palestinian people just because the ruling clerics use the Palestinian suffering as an ideological prop to rally support for the regime. There are youtube videos of Quds Day protesters chanting (as mentioned by Juan Cole): "No Gaza, No Lebanon, I'll die for Iran." We must oppose chauvinism no matter where we encounter it. We can protest against arbitrary power in Iran AND affirm our solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice, dignity, and national rights. Here is an example of a protest chant also on Quds Day in Iran that exemplifies cosmopolitanism: "Stop Killing the People: in Gaza, in Iran.”( چه ايران، چه غزه، کشتن مردم بسه)

  14. hi juan, thanks for your analysis. i haven't seen the persian yet so i appreciate your checking this. i just wanted to add to your ending comment about ahmadinejad helping to lower support for palestinians that the first time i passed the large monument to palestinians at 'palestine square' in downtown tehran (picture: link to flickr.com) i remember talking with a friend about how no one was paying any attention to it. and his response was that, indeed, no one paid much attention to it or paid more than lip service to palestinian issues. i think that the obsessive symbolic focus of the IR state on palestine had already turned a large number of iranians off from the palestinian cause before ahmadinejad's latest outburts, or even before his first victory. perhaps others who've spent more time in iran than have i can confirm whether this is a valid interpretation.

    keep up the great work.
    mark levine
    (from lovely sweden, where people still value publicly funded university educations)

  15. Thanks for the clear denunciation and exposure of true antisemitism (i.e., not just opposition to Israeli policies). This is particularly welcome when ethnic or racial hatred in our own country (although more veiled) is reemerging.

    A further comment: while appearing to be anti-imperialist, this kind of antisemitism is actually a European disease. It probably was acquired in the Middle East by students in Europe, influenced by Nazi and other pan-German ideologies, which may have been attractive because the immediate problem in the Middle East in the early 20th century was the western colonialist powers of France and Great Britain. The German socialist leader August Bebel called antisemitism "the socialism of fools;" in our time antisemitism is sometimes the anti-imperialism of fools. In fact, racial, ethnic and religious hatreds are often used by established powers to deflect anger (again, as we are seeing now in the US). Luckily, the Iranian opposition appears not to be fooled by this.

  16. Ahmadinejad seems to be following the tactics of the neocons.

    If you recall as necons were losing their support in the US they ratcheted up their rhetoric by such disgusting labels as "Islamo Fascism". Now as Ahmadinejad is losing in Iran he needs to do the same in the hope of changing the conversation.

    I think the best is to ignore him and let Iranians deal with their own issue just as Americans dealt with Bush and his cohorts. It takes time, the rest of the world was patient while Americans were sorting out their issues, US/world should do the same for Iran and Iranians.

  17. What is Ahmadinejad thinking? It's almost as if he wants Israel and the United States to strike Iran. If he were intelligent, he would extend goodwill to Israel and the United States, which would give Iran the moral high ground. Extending goodwill to Israel would lesson the chance of an Israel/US strike on Iran because the people of the world wouldn't back an attack. All Ahmadinejad is doing is empowering the hawks in Israel and the United States, and he is silencing the moderates who are opposed to war. What in the world is Ahmadinejad thinking? Is it a religious thing?

  18. President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Khamenei have here, imho gone beyond the usual anti-them rhetoric ~ apparently having concluded that their political situation has become so perilous ~ that they are now actively seeking western disgust, universal condemnation and the imposition of even more harsh economic sanctions. ref: Clinton: ‘Time Running Out for Iran’ : Warns of 'Profound Consequences' if Iran Can't Prove Intentions Are Peaceful. further, it would not be a stretch to presume that "what the U.S. got from Russia" in return for removal of the ‘defensive missile shield against IRAN’ in Europe is a green light to conduct offensive operations against IRAN. iow, While in the past the only casus belli for "pre-emptive attacks" was some unreal notion of a nascent nuclear programme ~ now the West can rightly say that President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Khamenei appear to be quite mad, indeed — illegitimate leaders, products of a corrupted political process — and by their own rhetoric quite likely rogue military commanders who pose a threat to themselves = their own people as well as other, fragile States in the region. The sad irony of this history, if it comes to pass, is that ISRAEL, in their righteous indignation and likely violent reaction will become, thus the Supreme Leader's willing accomplice in suppressing the real aspiration of the peoples of IRAN, that is their longing for justice and true self-determination.

  19. recently, the obama administration extended the embargo against cuba. while mr. obama didn't make any overtly moronic statements, arguably, the extension itself is about the most moronic statement a president could make. in effect, it asserts that the people of cuba are a threat to the safety and security of the people of the united states. really? really? i mean really? is this any more or less idiotic than what the leader of iran says? does iran have an embargo against anyone? if so, i'm guessing people would comdemn it as racist or dumb or something like that. how is it any different from our embargo against cuba?

  20. What a gift Ahmadinejad has given to Likud and the neocons, who are pimping for an attack on Iran!

    I wonder if A. in fact wants such an attack, to mobilize Iranian patriotism in support of the régime.

  21. could it be that these comments are to stoke anger and a little suspicion before the nuclear talks in Turkey?

    Ottoman Empire also conquested for a very long time before "other outside rulers". I wonder if negotiations are going to sway towards reducing Jerusalem's arsenal, before talking about stopping theirs.

    Another delay tactic. And still another way for the Kohemani to say it is not him speaking, but someone else. Puppets always have a puppeteer.

  22. Presumably Ahmedinajad's base is the Iranian equivalent of the Glenn Beck-watching Teabaggers here in the US, utterly deluded fools.

  23. So Ahmadinejad denied the Nazi genocide of the Jews. In this, he's following the Holocaust-denying President of Israel, Shimon Peres. According to Haaretz, Peres claimed that "[w]hat happened to the Armenians was a tragedy, not a genocide."

    This is pure Holocaust-denial (the term "holocaust" was first used in the sense of a genocide to describe the Young Turk's genocide of the Armenians). As a purely moral matter, the President of Iran has as much right to deny the Nazi genocide of the Jews as the President of Israel has to deny the Armenian Holocaust.

    But where was the outrage directed at Peres's Holocaust denial? Where were the world's leaders bemoaning his slap in the face of history? Where were the talks of sanctions? Both should suffer the same world outrage and sanctions.

    If the President of Israel is to be excused of Holocaust denial because of political concerns, such as relations with Turkey, then the President of Iran must be excused for his political concerns, such as playing to his base.

    Those like me whose ancestors died at the hands of the CUP, who see the Turks blithely denying history without penalty, who see the rest of the world, including the US and Israel, aiding and abetting this Holocaust denial, are waiting for an answer, an answer that is not "Israel is a special case."

  24. If Ahmadinejad hates Jews, and means "Jews" when he says "Zionists", then why would he not say "Jews"?

    The translation of "Zionists" to "Jews" is spontaneous on your part Dr. Cole. Not supported by anything Ahmadinejad said in this speech or ever. In fact, when asked, Ahmadinejad clearly draws a distinction between Zionists – expousers of a political philosophy that he considers evil – and Jews – a religion that he has never spoken negatively of.

    If Mandela says he hates "Apartheidists" and deliberately declines to extend that to "Whites" you don't get to change what he says directly against his own statements. If Reagan hates "Communists" you don't get to convert that, contrary to what Reagan actually says, to "Russians and Chinese as ethnicities".

    You claim Ahmadinejad might have been talking about "Zionists" when he said they have been colonizing the world for 500 years, or he might have meant colonialists in which case he would have been correct. From there you assume he may have meant "Zionists" and if he did mean "Zionists," then he really meant Jews because there were no Zionists 500 years ago. <- That is really an example of tortured logic to create a charge of anti-Semitism where none is present in his words.

    The only reasonable interpretation is that when talking about 500 years ago he was making the charge that is common knowledge, which is that Western Europeans began a project of colonial conquest. The idea that he may, must less must, have been talking about Jews is a little bit crazy.

    About Ahmadinejad being hated by most of Iran's population, as of September 2009, 8 in 10 Iranians consider him honest, and 8 in 10 consider him the legitimate President of Iran. Three months later, convincing evidence of fraud still has not emerged. It seems the Iranian consensus disagrees with your assertion that we don't need any evidence of fraud to be convinced that there was a massive fraud that more than reversed the true results of the election.

    link to worldpublicopinion.org

  25. Dr. Cole,
    Could you elaborate on the sources you used to come to to this current analysis of Ahmadinejad's speech. Was there a recording you heard, were there other sources besides the (USG OSC trans) or an official untranslated trascript, etc.?

    Is this an official site? link to asriran.com

    Thanks,
    Mike Adams

  26. Dear Professor Cole,

    I read the Persian transcript of Ahmadinejad's speech and I noticed several misinterpretations of it in your account. Some of them are context-related errors, but others are outright mistranslations.

    1.Where he says "After the First World War, they abused…" he does not make a reference to the jews or even to Zionists.the word"they" doesn't actually exist in the farsi text, but instead a mini-pronoun in the form of a suffix to the verb is used which works as an unprecursed pronoun and is usually used to make passive sentences in persian. In persian it sounds more like: " the mandatory custody of palestine was given to Britain". So, based on his actual words, he is not suggesting that the Zionists where behind the mandatory takeover of Palestine by Britain. In fact there exists a popular old conspiracy theory in the middle east about the foundation of israel, which suggests the exact opposite of what you accuse ahmadinejad of saying. It suggests that the jewish people were "manipulated" by Britain rather than manipulated Britain, for the purpose of establishing a proxy state which would protect the interests of the colonial powers in the Suez canal and elsewhere in the middle east (which by the way, given the actual history that you mentioned, does indeed seem to have been a smart decision on the part of the Brits).Anyway, It's not at all like the anti-semitic conspiracy theories in the west.

    2. He doesn't say "They institutionalized two slogans. One was the innocence of the Jews." He said "Mazloomiat e ghom e yahood". "Mazloomiat" is the state of being oppressed. The closest English translation I can think of is "Victimhood". to translate "mazloomiat" into "innocence" sounds to me like a very conscious twisting of the meaning. if you question someone's "innocence", you are suggesting that they are "guilty" , whereas if you question someone's victimhood, you are just questioning a narrative of "what others have done to them".

    3. "dast-andar-kaar" does not mean perpetrators. it means "facilitators" or "masterminds", and "Hamiyan" doesn't mean "protectors" . it means "Supporters" which clearly refers to western powers.and these are the ones he associates with" 500 years of plundering". He doesn't add the "perpetrators" to the list of the corrupt until a few lines later , So your interpretation that he blames the Jews for the European colonial history seems to be inaccurate.

  27. 4. He clearly states that he distinguishes between the jewish people and the leaders of the zionist movement. But even then, most of his villifying references are directed at the european colonial powers, for example where he says:" They themselves perpetrate anti-semitism, and then pretentiously rally in support of the Jewish people!"

    5. You wrote:
    "In other words, he is saying, all of modern history (possibly from the Portuguese conquest of Goa) and certainly the British conquests during WW I, the Nazi persecution of Jews, and last year's American presidential race, has been the unfolding of a secret Jewish plot, wherein "Zionists" control everything that happens."

    Even though he has clearly distinguished the Jewish people from Zionists, and has deplored the latter for betraying the principles of Judaism, you accuse him of hinting at the unfolding of "a Jewish plot" ?My understanding is that "classical anti-semitism" is the idea that there is a quintessential element in every real Jew, whereby they all aspire to collectively dominate the world. He says a renegade band of corrupt politicians who have betrayed the Jewish culture are responsible for some atrocities ( which doesn't include the Portuguese conquest of Goa and the British conquests during WW I even according to him) and you still call him a classical anti-semite?

    6. A minor translation error: He doesn't say "Four or five years after WWII". he just says "after WWII" (According to the existing transcripts)

    Finally, it is really frustrating for me as an Iranian to see people in the west see my country through the prism of their own history and culture. Until I moved to the US a few years ago, I wasn't quite aware of antisemitism as a prevailing modern social phenomenon. For me it was always a matter of distant European history .I learned about modern european and American antisemitism here from TV and the movies, and I was and still am shocked by how many Americans hate Jews " just because they exist.. because they breath…" Antisemitism simply never existed in any form in my life while I was in Iran. I'm all the more proud of this because this is despite the fact that criticism of Israel is a very important part of the public political debate there.
    I'm glad you have observed that the majority of Iranians do not believe in any form of antisemitic conspiracy theory, but as a person who has lived with and spoken to all kinds of Iranian people including religious hardliners-the kind of people who would now be supporters of Ahmadinejad- I think I can add to that the observation that antisemitism of the form that has poisoned the west does not exist even among the majority of religious hardliners of Iran.

    I totally agree that Ahmadinejad is a deplorable jackass who needs to be put out of power for the good of us all, but people often get the reasons wrong.

  28. Thanks so much Navid. While I usually respect Prof. Cole's commentary, he was clearly off on this one. I feel I would love to share your words with others.

    David Vickery
    (Canadian now living in Morocco)

  29. Thanks Navid for your comments, corrections, and comparative perspective re anti_semitism inside and outside Iran.

  30. Proffesor Cole,

    How significant a role does goolge translate play in your posts?

    Masoud

  31. My 2 cents as a native speaker of Farsi, though not a scholar of the language. All the translations I produce below are my own and based on the Persian text that Juan linked to. As Juan's revised version also reflects, Ahmadinejad clearly states,"Before WWII their [the Zionists'] activities were expanded and in European countries they set up a complicated show called antisemitism; of course, some European people and their governments, because of the deeds of sectors of Jews, were disgusted with them and were interested in expelling them from Europe; but the main design of antisemitism was designed by European governments and politicians and networks of Zionism …" This is followed by his statement about the "lie" of the Jewish people's mazloomiat. Juan translated mazloomiat as innocence and Navid as victimhood. Mazloom is one who is the object of zolm, which may be translated as cruelty or injustice, and mazloomiat is the state of being mazloom. However, a common usage of the word is in the sense of innocence, as when one may be more suspicious of a naughty kid as the culprit than a "bacheye mazloom" (innocent child) when a misdeed has occurred. I think Ahmadinejad is clearly using the word in the "victimhood" sense, but quite possibly in both senses. But what is clear is that he is categorically denying not only the Holocaust but also the whole account of historical European antisemitism as Zionist propaganda, except, "of course," for the part that the Jews richly deserved because of their unspecified misdeeds.

    As for Ahmadinejad's reference to the 500-year "historical criminals," the text uses a semicolon to connect two independent clauses, "All of them are historical criminals; they are the ones who have colonized and looted the world for 500 years …" "All of them" clearly refers to the Zionists and colonialist/imperialists. The Persian phrase I interpreted as "they are the ones" is "kassani hastand." In general, an alternate interpretation of the latter phrase could be "there are those." But given the first independent clause and the context, "they are the ones" is clearly the more reasonable translation. However, I agree that this may just be a sloppiness that is likely to occur when one is not just reading verbatim from notes, and a couple of misplaced words could change the meaning. (Was he reading verbatim?) But then, was the Persian text edited to correct for such sloppiness?

    In the latter part of the speech he lays off the Jews and clearly identifies the Zionists as antithetical to Abrahamic morality, including that of Judaism, but then offers these advice: "Even the people of Europe and America hate the Zionists and feel inferior or imposed upon relative to them … The colonial leaders started the current of Zionism and strengthened it as tools of domination, but what happened here was that the Zionists dominated them. The formation of the worldwide network of Zionism caused the Zionists to dominate the fate of European governments and America … Many large corporations cannot perform economic work as long as they don't have a Zionist financier and investor and many Zionist corporations are tax exempt in these countries. Many media, film companies and book publishers are under complete domination of the Zionists. The Zionists are the embodiment of imperial and world domination and a complete embodiment of racism in our time … Addressing independent world governments I say, the influence of Zionists in any sector of your culture, politics and economics represents the weakening of your independence … An American university professor described the account of the hiring of a Zionist based on which this individual, upon assuming power, fired all independent professors and replaced them with Zionists." Echos of the Protocols?

  32. I take strong exception to what Navid claimed about the absence of antisemitism in Iran. Check out the 2005 documentary titled "Jews of Iran", link to en.wikipedia.org
    produced by the Iranian filmmaker Ramin Farahani, who made it with the approval of the Iranian authorities for Dutch TV. It depicts both the prejudice and discrimination and the congeniality and acceptance that Jews in Iran receive from their Muslim countrymen. A Jewish girl in Iran, who is planning to emigrate, expresses her love for Iran and its culture, after she describes how one of her teachers had told her Muslim classmates to stay away from her on rainy days as they would be contaminated by her uncleanliness (nejasat). An elderly Jewish woman in a poor neighborhood talks about exclusion from the local bathhouse for a similar reason. A Muslim school girl whose art teacher is Jewish, expresses her dislike for Jews due to "the atmosphere created by Israel." In my experience as an Iranian who's lived in the US since the revolution, crass antisemitism among Iranians, even secular and educated ones, is not uncommon. The use of the pejorative "johood" in reference to Jews, and the stereotypes associated with it, are heard occasionally. But I will not surmise as to what portion of the Iranian population this represents.

    Another quite disturbing trend has been the presence of the Protocols type of antisemitism in Iranian media. Based on casual observation, I find the amount of loony antisemitism on Iranian state media way too disturbing. On a couple of occasions, I have seen discussions, where so-called experts, often identified as academics, explain how the Holocaust "myth" is a deliberate Jewish inversion of a "historical event," cited in the Quran, when the Jews burnt Christians. They were referring to this: link to en.wikipedia.org Analyzing new releases from the "Jewish" Hollywood as clever Zionist propaganda to impart the victimhood of Jews can be seen on Iranian TV. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the revolution, last Feb., Iranian TV showed a special "historical" series called Emarate Farangi (European Building), covering the period spanning the last king of Qajar and the beginning of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's rule. Several portrayals of the devious and criminal Jews (not Zionists) and the Baha'is as among the main conspirators against Iran of the early 20th century (along with the traditional British and Russians) was not even done subtly in this lavishly-produced and much-publicized series. At the time, I scanned a couple of Iranian cultural websites, which did not seem to be affiliated with the government, which roundly criticized the series for its historical inaccuracies, with none of them even mentioning the disgraceful racism in the series. Western personalities that the Iranian government considers nefarious are routinely identified by their ethnicity if Jewish, but not necessarily otherwise. A favorite, accused of fomenting velvet revolutions, is referred to as "George Soros'e yahoodi," "the Jewish George Soros" or "George Soros, the Jew." Another trend has been for some "historians" to routinely uncover Jewish criminal conspiracies throughout recorded history; a favorite of them is accusing Jews of genocide of ancient Iranians because of accounts of revenge or self-defense in the Book of Esther. In no case, however, have I seen any of these accounts being offered to advocate violence against Jews, and the object of this deranged antisemitism seems implicitly to be non-Iranian Jews. The previous Jewish member of the parliament, Morris Motamed, had publicly criticized the Iranian state TV for its antisemitism and was supported by some Muslim members. He had claimed that these programs were culprits for much of the Jewish emigration since the revolution.

    It may be that the antisemitism in Iranian media is beginning to be echoed by high Iranian officials, as per Ahmadinejad's speech. Lets hope not.

  33. Are you kids all fried in the beanie ?
    Ahmadinejad isn't the dude in charge regardless. Would he be worth noticing if he wasn't so much fun to mock ?
    How's your Persian/Farsi ?
    I ran Mike Adam's link through Google Translate : and got complaints about a systematic program of lies by the hegemony.
    I can't think why. Surely the nuclear armed nations of Israel and USA have cause to complain when Iran gets power generating equipment and fuel from Russia instead of the West. Such a shocking example ! It made India ready to buy 4 from Russia when the USA wanted to tie all sorts of conditions into 1 !
    And Iran is such a danger….despite repeated evaluations from inspectors and the CIA that they are doing diddly. Scary dudes indeed! Just like Saddam.
    It just proves if you shout nonsense loud enough and long enough people will internalize it.
    Somebody asked how Cuba was a threat. Duh. They cooperated with Russia the last time that the USA thought they could be cute and site ICBMs close to their soil : one Missile Crisis as I recall. Now Iran has to be demonized for…having a loyal Jewish population ?
    Arabs BTW – and Persians/Iranians are Arabs – are Semites. Guess antiSemitic people might be European Jewry invading Palestine, bulldozing wells and olive groves then.
    Hey. I just get stuff like that from Israelis irate over their government's behaviour – rather like Americans used to be over Vietnam.
    I noted this when Ahmadinejad's speeches were first being perverted beyond reason years ago.
    link to ahmadinejadquotes.blogspot.com

    Nobody can disprove the guff like Ahmadinejad himself. I finally swallowed my misgiving and played the YouTube interview filed under Holocaust.
    Hahahaha. He complains that Israel inflicts a holocaust on Palestinians !

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