Excusing Iran is a fatal flaw

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may ‘just’ be attacking Zionists — but in classic, antisemitic terminology

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 1, 2009

At one level, no one need be the least bit surprised at either the tone or the content of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s most recent speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation.

Not once during that speech — apparently — did Ahmadinejad mention Israel or the Jews.

“It is no longer acceptable”, the Iranian President insisted — “that a small minority would dominate the politics, economy and culture of major parts of the world by its complicated networks”.

This “small minority”, he explained, wished for nothing better that to “establish a new form of slavery, and harm the reputation of other nations, even European nations and the United States, to attain its racist ambitions”.

Then, turning his attention to one of his favourite subjects — freedom — Ahmadinejad opined that “the awakening of nations and the expansion of freedom worldwide” would no longer permit the members of this “small minority” to “continue their hypocrisy and vicious attitudes”.

I would not trust any politician who 'played to the gallery' by demonising Jewish people

Where have we heard these words before? That a “small minority”, working through “complicated networks”, is out to dominate “the politics, economy and culture of major parts of the world”?

That, indeed, it wishes to institute “a new form of slavery”, and thus bend the world (or large parts thereof) to its will?

We have heard these words, and we have read them, as part and parcel of the insane ramblings of anti-Jewish conspiracy theorists. The words derive, in fact, from the forged Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which (as refined by the likes of Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Henry Ford) constituted the prospectus (so to speak) for those who advocated — and who advocate still — the annihilation of the Jewish people.

Although Ahmadinejad did not once refer to Israel or the Jews, he did refer throughout his speech to “the Zionist regime”. This fact is being used by certain of his apologists as some sort of proof that he is not the confirmed anti-Jewish racist that I believe him to be. But — based on my own professional knowledge of the use of “Zionist” as a proxy for “Jew” in modern times — I am afraid I cannot accept this defence.

Neither am I prepared to accept another defence, namely that given the controversial circumstances of Ahmadinejad’s re-election as Iranian President, he was merely “playing to the gallery” — that is, saying what his supporters (primarily the inhabitants of rural areas) want to hear, whether he himself actually believes it or not.

In the first place, no responsible national leader would behave in that way. In the second, I would no more trust a politician who “played to the gallery” by demonising Jewish people — by going out of his way to demonise Jewish people — than I would the unctuous individual who recently phoned me to say I had won a huge sum in a lottery and the sooner I divulged my bank details the sooner the money would be in my account. Which is to say, I would not trust such a politician at all.

It is at this point that we need to remind ourselves that Iran will soon be a nuclear power — if it is not such already.

Academics at the University of Wisconsin (which has long been monitoring Iran’s nuclear ambitions) have recently calculated that Iran is producing low-enriched uranium at a rate that may well permit it to manufacture at least two nuclear bombs at virtually a moment’s notice — and certainly within three months.

At a military parade in Teheran last month, Iran’s armed forces displayed a new generation of Sejjil missiles. These are home-made and long-range. Launched from central Iran, they are capable of hitting targets in Israel, Saudi-Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan.

The time cannot be far distant when such missiles, further developed, will be capable of reaching Europe.

Iran and its leadership are, in short, a menace not only to Jews but also to the entire civilised world. The matter is urgent and the time for dealing with it shortens with every passing hour.

Last updated: 12:18pm, October 5 2009