The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA, 2.8.2012), published some statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made last Wednesday night in a meeting in Teheran with ambassadors and diplomats from Muslim countries . These reveal that while the Iranians love to claim they are only critical of Israel and “Zionism”, and have nothing against Jews per se, the Iranians in fact simply and transparently use the word “Zionism” to paper over dangerously antisemitic views directed against Jews generally. (And sometimes they don’t even bother to disguise that the target of their hate is Jews per se, as seen in some of the statements made by Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi at a United Nations-sponsored conference on the illegal drug trade in June.)
Ahmadinejad’s statements focused on the question of how to ‘solve the human society’s problems and totally uproot them.’ Ahmadinejad started by observing that “It is quite obvious that the present day conditions of the world are quite messy and the management system in effect has faced defeat in providing the human beings’ basic needs,” but who is responsible for the dysfunctional system? Ahmadinejad had a clear answer:
“It has now been some 400 years that a horrendous Zionist clan has been ruling the major world affairs, and behind the scenes of the major power circles, in political, media, monetary, and banking organisations in the world, they have been the decision makers, to an extent that a big power with a huge economy and over 300 million population, the presidential election hopefuls must go kiss the feet of the Zionists to ensure their victory in the elections…. If the people’s votes really counts in those countries, why then a candidate must go to kiss the feet of a clandestine Zionist minority, sacrificing the entire prestige, chanted mottoes, and values of their system before the Zionists, and justifying the entire criminal acts of that regime?”
Four hundred years? Zionism? If you find yourself confused by Ahmadinejad’s math skills and/or historical knowledge, it is because by “Zionism” he does not mean the Jewish national movement which emerged in the late 19th century. Rather he’s using the terms “Zionist” and “Jewish” interchangeably. Ahmadinejad is notorious for his antisemitic comments, Holocaust denial and wild conspiracy-theories but just in case there is someone out there who is not convinced that he uses “Zionism” as a code word for Jewish, he clarified exactly this point with his own definition of the term :
“Zionism is the modern times plight of the human society and when we meet the European politicians they say speak transparently about everything, but they refrain from talking about the Zionist regime, which proves that Israel is the axis of unity of the world hegemonic powers.”
So if Zionism-a-la-Ahmadinejad is the ultimate evil and source of all suffering, and it controls world politics. What then is Israel? Ahmadinejad answered:
“… Israel is the symbol of the globally ruling Zionism in the world, reiterating ‘Among the western governments and politicians there are great differences of tastes and the political competitions are tough, but in supporting the Zionist regime, they are all united.’ The president pointed out that… their ultimate objective must be the annihilation of the Zionist regime, emphasising, ‘The Zionist regime is both the symbol of the hegemony of the Zionism over the world and the means in the hand of the oppressor powers for expansion of their hegemony in the region and in the world.'”
There you have it! The real problem is that “Jews control the world”, and Israel is the symptom, a symbol, a tool for those really in control of what Ahmadinejad insists is a larger global issue. Sadly, so far there is not that much that is novel in this statement, including the call for Israel’s annihilation. We have seen and heard similar things many times before. But here comes the punchline:
“He [Ahmadinejad] referred to the late Imam Khomeini’s initiative of naming the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as the International Qods Day [al Quds is the Arab name of Jerusalem], arguing, ‘The Qods Day is not merely a strategic solution for the Palestinian problem, as it is to be viewed as a key for solving the world problems; any freedom lover and justice seeker in the world must do its best for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the path for the establishment of justice and freedom in the world.'”
The annual Al-Quds Day rallies will take place later this months across the world and are even being advertised on the sides of city buses in London, as the city is busy with the hustle and bustle of the Olympic Games. In previous years, Hezbullah flags and banners sympathising with terror organisations such as Hamas and Hezbullah and calling for Israel’s destruction were common sights during al-Quds Day rallies.
The Iranian regime is using the Palestinian issue to manipulate and mobilise people around the world to participate in radical, racist demonstrations which are actually not about promoting the Palestinian cause at all, but rather a call for the destruction of Israel as part of a greater antisemitic agenda, based on ethnic hatred and conspiracy theories about evil Jews controlling the world. Only in this distorted context can his demand for the annihilation of Israel be considered a “solution to the world problems.”
Anyone who thinks that Iran picks fights with Israel only out of zealousness in the cause of Palestinian statehood needs to hear what the Iranians are actually saying and think again.