Culture, Global, Identity, Religion

Ahmadinejad in 'Der Spiegel'

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

5 thoughts on “Ahmadinejad in 'Der Spiegel'

  1. i don’t think the European right wing would be very happy with the whole “go back where you came from” thing because most Israelis’ grandparents or parents or great grandparents came from well, Europe. And they don’t want a bunch of Jews going back there. Most of the middle eastern countries wouldn’t be too friendly about the return of their Jewish communities either.
    Of course, that’s the whole reason there is a state of Israel anyway.
    Of course, I’m sure the “Islamic” hate groups and the European hate groups could come up with a another “solution”.
    Personally I think Ahmadineijad is trying to provoke the Jewish people into supporting an Israeli attack on Iran. Which could start World War III. You got one thing right though, he is trying to make himself look like a hero, let’s just hope he doesn’t go too far.

  2. Holy crappola! This guy is nuts! “If it did not occur, then the Jews have to go back to where they came from.” Is he serious??? Because as far as I am concerned…..Jews CAME FROM ISRAEL. What the duece!!! I mean I knew he was a duchebag but I’ve never read an interview with him until now. I’m too pissed off to make further comment.

  3. Wow… of all the reasons to hate Ahmadenijad, Holocaust denial nonwithstanding… THAT was the one? Oy.
    If Ahmadenijad wants the Yahoods to “go back where theys camed from”, maybe he can start by giving back the confiscated Iranian Jewish land. And let’s set up a porcine aviary/restaurant there, while we’re at it!

    The history of the Jewish people is replete with scourges, haters and mass murderers of our people. The latest menace to our people is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He spews forth his vitriol against Israel and the Jewish people on a daily basis and has threatened to use his nuclear arsenal at will. There is no question that this latest madman must be taken seriously.
    In his translation of a speech to the “World Without Zionism” conference held for students in October of 2005, Nazila Fathi of The New York Times’ Tehran bureau reported Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying, regarding Israel, in part:
    Our dear Imam (referring to Ayatollah Khomeini) said that the occupying regime (Israel)must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front. This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world. Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world. But we must be aware of tricks.
    Ahmadinejad also claimed in the speech that the issue with Palestine would be over “the day that all refugees return to their homes [and] a democratic government elected by the people comes to power”, and denounced attempts to normalize relations with Israel, condemning all Muslim leaders who accept the existence of Israel as “acknowledging a surrender and defeat of the Islamic world.”
    The speech also indicated that the Iranian President considered Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip to be a trick, designed to gain acknowledgement from Islamic states. In a rally held two days later, Ahmadinejad declared that his words reflected the views of the Iranian people, adding that Westerners are free to comment, but their reactions are invalid.
    In December of 2005 and January and May of 2006 Ahmadinejad made controversial statements which denied the veracity of the Holocaust and criticized European laws against Holocaust denial. CNN and other media outlets reported that he stated concerning the Holocaust that “they have invented a myth that Jews were massacred.”
    In an interview with the German publication Der Spiegel, Ahmadinejad was asked, “Are you still saying that the Holocaust is just ‘a myth’?” He responded, “I will only accept something as truth if I am actually convinced of it.” In the same interview, he later stated, “We oppose every type of crime against any people. But we want to know whether this crime actually took place or not.. If it did not occur, then the Jews have to go back to where they came from”.
    In an interview with Iranian state television’s Arabic-language satellite channel, Al-Alam, on December 8, 2005, Ahmadinejad referred to Israel as a “tumor”, and suggested that it should be relocated to Europe. His other quotes concerning Israel and the Jews are as follows:
    “You believe the Jews were oppressed, why should the Palestinian Muslims have to pay the price?”
    “Germany and Austria, come and give one, two or any number of your provinces to the Zionist regime so they can create a country there… and the problem will be solved at its root.”
    “They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets.”
    “If somebody in their country questions God, nobody says anything, but if somebody denies the myth of the massacre of Jews, the Zionist loudspeakers and the governments in the pay of Zionism will start to scream.”
    If these statements were not enough proof of the danger of the current Iranian regime, it has been recently reported by the Iranian news service that Mohammed Ali Ramim, a senior advisor to Ahmadinejad told students during a visit to the town of Rasht in Iran that, “Jews are a filthy people, and that is why they have been accused throughout history of spreading deadly disease and plagues.”
    Ramin, an alleged historian who serves as the president’s most senior aide, is believed to be the man behind the regime’s recent statements that the Holocaust is a myth. Ramin went on to say, “Historically, there are many accusations against the Jews. For example, it was said that they were the source for such deadly disease as the plague and typhus. This is because the Jews are very filthy people. For a time people also said that they poisoned water wells belonging to Christians and thus killed them.”
    Ramin also reiterated past statements made by Ahmadinejad regarding the Holocaust, saying it was the cause for the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, and claimed that Israel is responsible for the Middle East crisis. “So long as Israel exists in the region there will never be peace and security in the Middle East,” he said adding, “so the resolution of the Holocaust issue will end in the destruction of Israel”.
    The Jerusalem Post reported on 6/16/06 that Ahmadinejad said during a news conference following a meeting with Chinese president Hu Jintao, that, “I think we have sufficiently talked about this matter and these Holocaust events need to be further investigated by independent and impartial parties.” He added that, “An event that has influenced so many diplomatic and political equations of the world needs to investigated and researched by impartial and independent groups.”
    To those who are students of history, we know that this kind of propaganda is not new. It has been utilized against the Jews since time immemorial. We know that Hitler and his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels honed this practice to a fine art. We also know that the current Iranian administration is well adept in this modality as well. We who know the truth, know that this kind of incendiary rhetoric is designed to create a dramatic rise in Jew hatred, thus facilitating their final goal, the eradication of the State of Israel and of the Jewish people. Yes, it is yet the latest round of modern day Hitlers. We are used to this. We must tell the Iranian madman that we’re not going anywhere. We must tell him and the world that no one will eradicate the State of Israel and extricate the Jewish people from their home.
    And to those who believe that this “blather” should not be taken seriously are in fact denying the real threat that this latest round of Jew haters represents. And we ask, “What does the world have to say about all this? Where are all the bold and unequivocal denunciations and condemnations from the leaders of the free world?”
    The answer is clear to those who wish to see it. The world cares little for the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. This is not the first time in history that this kind of anti-Jewish invective has been promulgated by state leaders. This kind of anti-Jewish canard and propaganda has become standard fare for the wide variety of Jew haters that fill the world.
    It is time to clarify our position and to announce without fear and trepidation what our position is. The modern Jewish State of Israel did not come into being because we needed a safe asylum for the thousands of survivors of Hitler’s Holocaust. The Jews of Europe did not come to a country that did not belong to them and displace it’s Arab population. The Jews of Europe and from around the world, came back to their homeland. They did not come as “occupiers” but they returned as the sole legitimate owners of a land that was given to them by the G-d of Israel.
    Did the world feel sorry for the Jews and “allow” them to call “Palestine” their home and rename it Israel? We will never know the true motivation of the UN vote that established Israel as a Jewish State on May 14, 1948. We do however, know that the current state of affairs between the “Palestinians” and the Israelis has nothing to do with the Holocaust. We do know that it is yet another diatribe aimed at delegitimizing the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. We do know that the Holocaust did indeed occur and has been documented and there is no need to investigate it’s authenticity. Just ask any Holocaust survivor.
    We do know that our claim and ownership of the Land of Israel was given to us by the Almighty G-d of Israel and our ownership is declared before any other commandment. One need only look at the first verse in the Book of Genesis, “In the beginning G-d created the Heaven and the Earth.” The biblical commentator and great Torah giant, Rashi, tells us that this verse establishes the Jewish ownership of the Land of Israel. “If the world will say that we are robbers and stole this land, we know that it was G-d who created the world and it was He who first gave it to Canaanites and then gave it to Bnei Yisroel.” It was He who said that “this land shall be yours for as long as the sky remains over the earth.”
    Yet, it is we who must acknowledge this and it is we who must declare to the world that our right to be in this land is from G-d and it is His rule that we must obey. No government or international body can declare our right to ownership of Israel, for the vacillating will of man can be easily refuted or reversed.. It is we who must know that this is the land in which Hashem Yisborach designated as a homeland for us for all time. It is we who must tell this to the nations of the world and to the Iranian dictator. For in the end, it is G-d who we must fear and not man. Ahmadinejad is just the latest in the never ending flow of Jew haters who seek our destruction. In His infinite mercy, it is Hashem alone who allows us to exist. It is Hashem who has brought down and destroyed all those who sought to annihilate His people.
    It is only through faith and trust in the Almighty G-d of Israel and adherence to His commandments that will see us through this clear and present danger. We must raise our voices in prayer and supplication to the Almighty. Now is the time to gird our loins and prepare to defend our faith. May Hashem give us the strength and courage to overcome our enemies and to do His will.

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