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…
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)