by Davis Lewin
I thought I’d send this unsolicited contribution. Originally from Munich, Germany – a place heavy with bitter history for our people if ever there was one – I found myself standing open-mouthed over my copy of ‘Der Spiegel’ in the middle of the street in London today. If Mobius kindly offers me more space in the future, I shall explain a little about my own first-hand experience of the diplomatic process vis-à-vis Iran so far. But for now, one thing will suffice. Whoever is trying to tell you that Ahmadinejad is just a crackpot, or anything about the constraints on his power due to the workings of Iran’s system of governance – say thank you nicely and look for someone else to explain the world to you. Now, I’ve been told by Iranians who most definitely know what they are talking about that even some ardent conservatives joke that 60% of Iran’s foreign policy problems are due to Ahmadinejad’s not keeping shtumm, but all of this should not matter one bit to us Jews. What matters to us is this.
A few quotes from the interview:

Ahmadinejad: …there are two opinions on this in Europe. One group of scholars or persons, most of them politically motivated, say the Holocaust occurred. Then there is the group of scholars who represent the opposite position and have therefore been imprisoned for the most part. Hence, an impartial group has to come together to investigate and to render an opinion on this very important subject, because the clarification of this issue will contribute to the solution of global problems. Under the pretext of the Holocaust, a very strong polarization has taken place in the world and fronts have been formed…
…if the Holocaust occurred, then Europe must draw the consequences and that it is not Palestine that should pay the price for it. If it did not occur, then the Jews have to go back to where they came from. I believe that the German people today are also prisoners of the Holocaust. Sixty million people died in the Second World War. World War II was a gigantic crime. We condemn it all. We are against bloodshed, regardless of whether a crime was committed against a Muslim or against a Christian or a Jew. But the question is: Why among these 60 million victims are only the Jews the center of attention?
…Why should they [the Germans] have feelings of guilt toward Zionists? Why should the costs of the Zionists be paid out of their pockets? If people committed crimes in the past, then they would have to have been tried 60 years ago. End of story! Why must the German people be humiliated today because a group of people committed crimes in the name of the Germans during the course of history?
…I’m wondering why you’re adopting and fanatically defending the stance of the European politicians. You’re a magazine, not a government. Saying that we should accept the world as it is would mean that the winners of World War II would remain the victorious powers for another 1,000 years and that the German people would be humiliated for another 1,000 years. Do you think that is the correct logic?

The article is already causing a stir, not least on the magazine’s own website. Many feel that the reporters were unduly soft on Ahmadinejad. The mag’s by-line for the online translation reads harmlessly: In an interview with SPIEGEL, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discusses the Holocaust, the future of the state of Israel, mistakes made by the United States in Iraq and Tehran’s nuclear dispute with the West. I have not yet been able to speak directly to my contacts at the magazine, but I understand some consider the article’s publication a mistake on the grounds that even a sixteenth of Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric would land him in jail in Germany.
We are almost used to, even jaded by, Ahmadinejad’s seemingly continuously antisemitic rhetoric. Yet, these are not ‘outbursts’, nor are they irrational hatred. They are calculated. And this latest one, delivered in a manner as any reasonable person might offer an argument, is the well established antisemitic construct that issues from his lips regularly. It will have consolidated his place as the hero of the (not nearly far enough) far-Right and neo-Nazis across Europe and elsewhere, and there are millions of Arabs and Muslims who will agree with Ahmadinehad’s utterings. Here is the head of a state with just over 68 million people (whose right to dislike him is being curtailed even as I write) – a state that sees itself as the ‘rightful regional superpower’ (their phrase), a state that is in the advanced stages of a nuclear programme, with masses and masses of evidence of technological experimentation with no application outside of nuclear weapons technology (heard the list from a British Government source myself). And this leader is amalgamating the German neo-Nazi narrative about ‘Zionist war guilt’ with the extreme ‘send the Jews back to where they came from’ Arab / Muslim camp. Nice. And only one facet of an anxious picture for wellpoisoners the world over …
Just a little heads up to my beautiful sisters and fantastic brothers… crackpot he ain’t. Watch Out.
See also: Denial of Holocaust nothing new in Iran: Ties to Hitler led to plots against British and Jews