Iranian President Calls Holocaust a Myth

(Guardian-UK) Jonathan Freedland - * On Thursday the president of Iran chose to stand with the cranks, neo-fascists, and racists who deny the factual truth of the Holocaust. "Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces," said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "Although we don't accept this claim..." * Suddenly, the usual apologetics won't work. No one can say Iran's president was really complaining about Israel or Zionism, rather than Jews. He was peddling Holocaust denial. It is a stance that seeks to deny Jews their history, their suffering, almost their very being. * When, in October, he stood beneath a banner that promised "A world without Zionism" and called for Israel to be "wiped off the map," many Jews felt a chill at what seemed an annihilationist fantasy. Cooler heads said no, this was merely the hyperbolic style of the region, deployed to press a robust anti-Zionist rather than anti-Semitic case. What he wanted, they explained patiently, was a world without Zionism, not a world without Jews. * Well, now I'm done with the charitable explanations. A man who refuses to believe the historic truth is capable of anything. This is not an Arabic cable TV station or an obscure Egyptian newspaper. This is a head of government, the leader of a nation of 70 million - a country that aspires to lead the Muslim world. And, lest we forget, Iran has nuclear ambitions. So now it's not paranoid to worry about a president with annihilationist dreams - it's smart. * Unfortunately, it doesn't end with Ahmadinejad, for he has given voice to a sentiment that runs deep in Iran and in the wider Muslim world. The virus of anti-Semitism has infected the Muslim world. And virus it is, for Jew-hatred on this scale, as Christian Europe can testify, is a kind of sickness.

2005-12-14 00:00:00

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