Iran's Incitement to Genocide

(Washington Post) Michael Gerson - Over the years, Americans have come to discount statements on Israel and Zionism by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Repetition has rendered them unremarkable. Israel must be "wiped off the map." Zionism is a "germ of corruption" that "will be wiped off the face of the earth." The Zionist regime is "heading toward annihilation." "They should know that they are nearing the last days of their lives." "Israel is destined for destruction and will soon disappear." After Iran's June election, Ahmadinejad will be out of a job, but the problem is that Ahmadinejad's language is not exceptional within the Iranian regime. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has explained, "The perpetual subject of Iran is the elimination of Israel from the region." "There is only one solution to the Middle East problem, namely the annihilation and destruction of the Jewish state." This is not merely hate speech. It has the hallmarks of incitement to genocide: the dehumanization of a targeted group and the use of code words to cover genocidal intent. "How many other states do we know," asks Michael Abramowitz, director of the Center for Genocide Prevention at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, "that talk about other human beings in the way the Iranian leadership speaks of Israelis and Jews? They are conditioning generations of young people in their own country and the broader Middle East to think of Jews as subhuman, which makes acts of terror by groups like Hamas and Hizbullah seem more thinkable."

2013-04-05 00:00:00

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