Ahmadinejad on Israel: Global Danger or Political Infighting?
by Simon Tisdall
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hostile jibes at Israel have caused almost universal
offence. But Iran-watchers are divided over whether the president's
statements mark a dangerous shift in Tehran's international outlook or form
part of an internal power struggle.
Mr Ahmadinejad's threat "to wipe Israel off the map" should be taken
seriously, said Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel working at
the Brookings Institution in Washington. "Should Israel be satisfied that he
scored an own goal, further isolating Iran?" he asked. "The answer to my
mind is clearly no."
Mr Indyk said the president's threats were consistent with a decade-long
"war by proxy" waged through Hizbullah in Lebanon and Islamic Jihad in
Palestine. Nor was Mr Amadinejad alone in his views. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,
Iran's supreme leader, declared in September that "jihad is the only way to
confront the Zionist enemy".
But Iran's military capacity is limited - and no match for nuclear-armed
Israel. . . .
[Can Lebanon rightfully assassinate Israel's Gen. Ariel Sharon, who, in
1982, ordered the invasion of Lebanon, and massive shelling of Beirut that
killed 15,700 Lebanese civilians?--Eric Margolis, "Mideast Murder, Inc.," Toronto Sun,
October 14, 1997]
[Israel's "1981 bombing of Iraq's Osirak nuclear research facility near
Baghdad, . . . with U.S.-made warplanes and direct U.S. assistance, helped
radicalize Iraq" says former U.S. Congressman Paul Findley.--Enver Masud,
"U.S. Backed Israel Prepares To Strike
Iran," The Wisdom Fund, June 25, 1998]
[We strive to merely state the truth of the Torah, that the Jewish people
never aspired and do not aspire to have their own entity or any political
existence. In fact, our will is simply to follow the Torah, to be a people
of the book, and be loyal to the countries wherein we reside as is required
by G-d. Repentance, acceptance of the teachings of the Torah, return of the
land in full, and the complete dismantlement and transformation of the
entire "state of Israel" to a land belonging to the rule of the indigenous
Palestinian people, is the only G-dly solution, and the only solution that
can truly bring peace.--"Orthodox
Jews to DEMONSTRATE REGARDING THE "GENEVA INITIATIVE"," Neturei Karta,
December 3, 2003]
"Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it
employment... Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor
must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly."--Theodore Herzl, founder
of the World Zionist Organization, speaking of the Arabs of
Palestine, Complete Diaries, June 12, 1895
"We will establish ourselves in Palestine whether you like it or
not...You can hasten our arrival or you can equally retard it. It is however
better for you to help us so as to avoid our constructive powers being
turned into a destructive power which will overthrow the world."--Chaim
Weizmann, Published in "Judische Rundschau," No. 4, 1920
"The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967
and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only bluff, which
was born and developed after the war."--Israeli General Matityahu Peled,
Ha'aretz, March 19, 1972
"It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly
and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time.
The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonialization or Jewish
State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their
lands."--Yoram Bar Porath, Yediot Aahronot, of July 14,1972.
"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the
cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population."--
Israel Koenig, "The Koenig Memorandum," April 1976
"We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash
Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Moslem
regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a
Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate
Trans-Jordan; Syria will fall to us. We then bomb and move on and take Port
Said, Alexandria and Sinai."--David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General
Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New
"We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his
question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?' Ben-Gurion
waved his hand in a gesture which said 'Drive them out!'"--Yitzhak Rabin,
leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times,
October 23, 1979.
"When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it
will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle."--Raphael
Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times,
April 14, 1983
"We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one
centimeter of Eretz Israel... Force is all they do or ever will understand.
We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us
on all fours."--Rafael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces,
Gad Becker, Yediot Ahronot, April 13, 1983, New York Times April 14,
"We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live
here as slaves."--Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee for the Re-election of
General Shlomo Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983
"The Palestinians" would be crushed like grasshoppers ... heads smashed
against the boulders and walls."--Isreali Prime Minister (at the time, in a
speech to Jewish settlers) New York Times, April 1, 1988
"Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do
that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about
American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the
Americans know it."--Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001,
to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio.]
[. . . in the Wall Street Journal of July 7, 2004, Timothy Ryback wrote that
"there is little forensic evidence proving homicidal intent" in the ruins of
Auschwitz. . . .
British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a routine pompous suggestion to
Ahmadinejad: Visit the camps and see for yourself. Ahmadinejad replied: Good
idea, I'll bring a scientific team. He knows about the forensic issues
too.--Arthur R. Butz, "Iran has the U.S.'s number," Daily Northwestern,
February 14, 2006]
[You can always tell when the War Party wants a new war. They will
invariably trot out the Argumentum ad Hitlerum. . . .
"This is 1935, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is as close to Adolf Hitler as we've
seen," said Newt Gingrich to a startled editor at Human Events. . . .
In 1942, Hitler's armies dominated Europe from the Pyrenees to the Urals.
Ahmadinejad is the president of a nation whose air and naval forces would be
toasted in hours by the United States. Iran has missiles that can hit
Israel, but no nuclear warheads. Israel could put scores of atom bombs on
Iran. The United States, without losing a plane, could make the country
uninhabitable with one B-2 flyover and a few MX and Trident missiles.
Why would Ayatollah Khamenei, who has far more power than Ahmadinejad,
permit him to ignite a war that could mean the end of their revolution and
country? And if we were not intimidated by a USSR with thousands of nuclear
warheads targeted on us, why should Ahmadinejad cause Newt to break out in
cold sweats at night?-- Patrick J. Buchanan, "Churchill, Hitler, and
Newt," The Conservative Voice, February 18, 2006
[An Iranian bomb is neither imminent nor would it be apocalyptic.
According to the latest U.S. intelligence estimates, Tehran is a decade away
from possessing a nuclear weapon.
. . . it's time for Washington to call Ahmadinejad's bluff by playing the
card the hard-liners fear most: a dramatic U.S. offer of reconciliation,
including a security guarantee like that offered North Korea. Such a move
would expose the rifts in the regime, deny the hard-liners the confrontation
they court, and deprive the bankrupt revolutionaries of their Great
Satan.--Stanley A. Weiss, "Iran's
president is playing a weak hand," International Herald Tribune, March
[He said that Israel should be wiped off the face of the Middle East in the
sense of being removed to Europe. He was making the rhetorical point that if
the Europeans so favored a Jewish state, why did the Westerners not give the
Jews part of Europe or North America? Why did they give the Jews Palestine,
which was not theirs to give?
One may agree or disagree with the Iranian's point, but it was not a threat
to kill the Jews.--Paul Craig Roberts, "How Bush Brewed the
Iranian Crisis," antiwar.com, May 24, 2006]
[As David Albright of the
Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, the most
experienced non-governmental expert on Iran's nuclear program, told Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty immediately after his election, Ahmadinejad
"doesn't have much to do with the nuclear issue." Albright observed that the
policy on Iran's nuclear program is run by the Supreme National Security
Council "directly under the supreme leader."--Gareth Porter, "Khamenei in
Control and Ready to 'Haggle'," Inter Press Service, May 30, 2006]
[For eight years, the Western countries provided arms to Saddam in the war
against us, including chemical weapons, and gave him political support. . . .
We're a civilized, cultured people, and our history shows that we have
never attacked another country. . . .
It's interesting to note that European nations wanted to allow
the shah's dictatorship the use of nuclear technology. That was a dangerous
regime. Yet those nations were willing to supply it with nuclear technology.
Ever since the Islamic Republic has existed, however, these powers have been
opposed to it. I stress once again, we don't need any nuclear
weapons.--Stefan Aust, Gerhard Spšrl and Dieter Bednarz, "SPIEGEL Interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,"
Spiegel Online, May 30, 2006]
[Ask anyone in Washington, London or Tel Aviv if they can cite any phrase
uttered by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the chances are high they will say he
wants Israel "wiped off the map".
Again it is four short words, though the distortion is worse than in the
Khrushchev case. The remarks are not out of context. They are wrong, pure
and simple. Ahmadinejad never said them. Farsi speakers have pointed out
that he was mistranslated. . . .
[In the thinking of Jabotinsky Zionists like Olmert, there is simply no
place for the Palestinians in the Land of Israel: "There is no choice: the
Arabs must make room for the Jews of Eretz Israel," Jabotinsky
wrote.--Christopher Bollyn, "THE
BLOODY REIGN OF EHUD OLMERT AND HIS TIES TO 9/11," rumormillnews.com, June 18, 2006]
[I have no intention of arguing about the Holocaust. But does it not stand
to reason that some victorious countries of World War II intended to create
an alibi on the basis of which they could continue keeping the defeated
nations of World War II indebted to them.--"President
Ahmadinejad's letter to the German Chancellor," CBS News, September 3,
[Since the Holocaust, it has been almost impossible to hide large-scale
crimes against humanity. . . . yet, Ilan Pappe unveils, one such crime has
been erased from the global public memory: the ethnic cleansing of the
Palestinians in 1948.--Ilan Pappe, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine," Oneworld
Publications, October 2006]
[The full quote translated directly to English: "The Imam said this regime
occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time". Word by word
translation: Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime)
ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar
(from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from).-- Arash Norouzi, "Iran's President
Did Not Say 'Israel must be wiped off the map',"
informationliberation.com, January 19 2007]
[Avigdor Lieberman as deputy prime minister and minister for strategic
threats . . . advocates forceful expulsion of all Palestinians from occupied
territories and Israel.
Mr. Lieberman is not alone in his views. Gamla, an Israeli organization
founded by Jewish settlers and former Israeli military officers, has
published detailed plans for the "complete elimination of the Arab
demographic threat to Israel."--S. Amjad Hussain, "Israel is faced with a difficult choice, Toledo
Blade, January 29, 2007]
[Some 25,000 Jews still live in Iran and many say that President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's fiery anti-Israeli rhetoric is about politics, not
religion.--Scott Peterson, "In
Ahmadinejad's Iran, Jews still find a space," Christian Science
Monitor, April 27, 2007]
["If they don't stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand," said
Shmuel Eliyahu. "And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill
10,000. If they still don't stop we must kill 100,000, even a million.
Whatever it takes to make them stop."
In the letter, Eliyahu quoted from Psalms. "I will pursue my enemies and
apprehend them and I will not desist until I have eradicated them."--Matthew
Wagner, "Eliyahu advocates carpet bombing
Gaza," Haaretz, May 30, 2007]
[There is an interesting problem with selling the "Iran as Nazi Germany"
line. If Ahmadinejad really is Hitler, ready to commit genocide against
Israel's Jews as soon as he can get his hands on a nuclear weapon, why are
some 25,000 Jews living peacefully in Iran and more than reluctant to leave
despite repeated enticements from Israel and American Jews? . . .
[It is an important principle of journalism that when someone makes a
statement, especially a controversial one with grave implications, the
comment should be put in the fullest possible context so the reader can make
an informed judgment. But that rule doesn't seem to apply when the New York
Times writes about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.--Robert Parry, "What Did
Ahmadinejad Really Say?," middle-east-online.com, September 9, 2009]
[Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor . . . They didn't say 'we'll
wipe it out', you are right, but [that] it will not survive, it is a
cancerous tumor, it should be removed--Teymoor Nabili, "A Rare Admission From Israel," aljazeera.net, April 13,
[Ahmadinejad essentially was predicting that Israel's rule over Jerusalem
would eventually come to an end, much like the once mighty Soviet Union
collapsed in the early 1990s.--Elizabeth Murray, "How Obama Recycled a Lie about Iran," consortiumnews.com,
April 25, 2012]
[When Shlomo Sand's book The Invention of the Jewish People was published it caused a
largely a storm of outrage here in the United States among the few who read it. It was a
bestseller in Israel, though mostly reviled, and where it was reviewed in the American
corporate press the response was deeply hostile. Its central argument holds that the
Jews of Europe, the Ashkenazim, are largely descendants of peoples who converted to
Judaism in the distant past and that the claim that all Jews descend from ancient
Israelites is false. Therefore the contention that European Jews are reclaiming ancient
rights to their homeland in what is now Israel is a false claim. Moreover, the peoples
now known as "Palestinians" are in all likelihood much more closely descended
genetically from the ancient Israelites but who in the course of history converted for
one reason or another either to Christianity or to Islam, and who therefore have a just
claim to the land.--Paul Atwood, "
Whatever Happened to Shlomo Sand? Missing in Action After the Storm Over the 'Invention
of the Jewish People'," counterpunch.org, February 14, 2014]