The new Iranian president quickly showed himself to be a hardliner true to the spirit of the radical 1979 takeover by calling for the destruction of Israel. Now, he is showing himself to be as deluded as too many in the Moslem world are by denying the Holocaust, one of the cornerstones for Israel’s creation.
Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reignited the controversy provoked by his recent calls for Israel to be “wiped off the map” yesterday by casting doubt on the historical authenticity of the Holocaust and demanding that an alternative Jewish homeland be established in Europe.
In remarks that sparked outrage in Washington and Jerusalem, Mr Ahmadinejad rejected the “claim” that millions of Jews were murdered by the Nazis, but called on those who believe to set up a Jewish state in countries such as Germany and Austria.
He told journalists at an international Islamic conference in Mecca: “Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces and they insist on it to the extent that if anyone proves something contrary to that they condemn that person and throw them in jail. Although we don’t accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: ‘Is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem?’
“If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe – like in Germany, Austria or other countries – to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it.”
Okay, let’s get this straight: the Holocaust didn’t happen so Israel shouldn’t exist but, if it did happen, Israel shouldn’t exist in the Middle East. Well, apparently this guy could find a sad way to twist the statement “water is wet” into a reason for Israel to not exist.
Under Ahmadinejad, Iran is pushing at breakneck speed towards two goals — becoming a power with nuclear weapons and positioning itself as the key opponent to Israel in the eyes of the Moslem world.
Israel quickly responded to the Holocaust-denying, move-Israel claptrap.
Last night an Israeli government spokesman, Raanan Gissin, decried “the consensus that exists in many circles in the Arab world that the Jewish people … do not have the right to establish a Jewish, democratic state in their ancestral homeland”. He added: “Just to remind Mr Ahmadinejad, we’ve been here long before his ancestors were here.”
Had this Israeli spokesman been typing up his response on an internet forum, the previous statement would have been closed with the following:
Perhaps unfortunately, while appropriate, such a closing is not yet welcome in diplospeak. Also, definitely unfortunate is the fact that a repeat of Osiraq, Iranian-style, would be rather difficult for the Israelis.