The story so far:
The Daily Telegraph in London claims that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was born Jewish, citing his name as meaning tallit weaver.
Some techno-savvy prankster with an oversize Jewish identity and a propensity for wearing ironic keffiyahs, sets up Ahmadinajew on Twitter to follow the latest musings of the now-conflicted personal identity of the Iranian PM.
The Guardian, in a fit of sanctimonious accuracy, suggests that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a proud Shia, presumably prompting many old jokes revolving around the word “shi’ite.”
The immediate future:
People continue to make jokes as if everything is true for a few hours until it is revealed that Karl Rove was born a woman at which point that cycle plays out for 24 hrs only to be replaced by the revelation that Michael Jackson was born a… [deleted by order of the SAVAMA]
Birthright Israel continues its tear as the world’s leading purveyor of clever Jewish viral videos:
Hat tip: Jewish Robot
Here’s the portion of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Durban II speech that caused dozens of Western diplomats to walk out of a session yesterday at the U.N. racism conference:
The U.N. has since said that Ahmadinejad’s address would have been even more inflammatory; he apparently left out a previously planned reference to Holocaust denial that was in the original text of his speech.
In response, a former Israeli chief rabbi today — Holocaust Remembrance Day — invited Ahmadinejad to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority. “Under the international umbrella of the United Nations, the president of Iran appeared dripping with hatred toward the Jewish people,” Rabbi Yisrael Lau said during a speech at Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. “… Come to Yad Vashem, we’ll show you all of the archives documents and memoirs. We will present you with all the evidence until you are convinced that the Holocaust actually happened.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a “filthy germ” and a “savage beast.”
Speaking of Hezbollah terrorist chief Imad Mughniyeh, who was assassinated last week, Ahmadinejad said Israel was behind the death of this “righteous man.”
“The West created a dark and filthy germ known as the Zionist regime, which has attacked the countries of the region like a savage beast,” the Iranian president said in a televised speech.
Now, I’m eagerly waiting for Ahmadinejad’s latest remarks to be explained away by the folks who so helpfully iinformed the world that Ahmadinejad’s previous statement to the effect that Israel should be wiped out was actually misunderstood and that, in any case, it was really nothing to be overly concerned about.
Today’s Daily News appropriates the New York Post’s epithet of choice. Unlike its archrival, however, the Daily News reserves the w-word for our actual enemies. (Admittedly, the Post’s usage was much funnier.)
Ha’aretz’s man in America, Shmuel Rosner, thinks that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia University was a win for the Iranian president and a clear loss for Israel. He explains that Ahmadinejad’s speech, and the accompanying controversy, helped to underscore his message, namely, as Rosner puts it, “It is not Iran versus the world, but Iran versus Israel.”
The protesters outside only served to reinforce his claims, as many were Jews wearing skullcaps who carried signs protesting his Holocaust denial and calls to wipe Israel off the map. To many, this serves as further proof that Iran is only a problem for Israel, or at most for the Jews.
Ahmadinejad aimed precisely for that. “It’s the Israelis, stupid” was his primary message. Forget about the “Palestinian problem,” Ahmadinejad was telling his listeners. “Instead, we need to solve the Israeli problem — and finally bring peace to the Middle East.” While he did not explicitly reiterate his calls for Israel’s destruction, in practice, the message could not have been clearer.
The pro-Israel camp consoled itself with the knowledge that those who are familiar with the regional complexities, and with Tehran’s antics, will surely realize the absurdity of Ahmadinejad’s proposal.
But the average American is not familiar with the regional complexities. He is tired of the region’s fighting. To him, Ahmadinejad’s idea may sound tempting.
Read the full article.
Bintel Blog reader James Holstun objects to an earlier post of mine in which I quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as having called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” Holstun writes:
I know that this is a widespread accusation — it’s on THE WEB, after all, so it must be true! But people who speak Farsi note that this is a tendentious mistranslation of Ahmadinejad’s comments, and I haven’t seen any refutation… See http://democracyrising.us/content/view/736/164/.
In the era of pre-emptive attacks, it is appropriate to exercise a little caution in one’s accusations, unless one’s aim is precisely to heat things up and prepare the way for a pre-emptive attack based on a non-existent threat. Ahmadinejad is a Jew-hating scumbag, but that’s not an adequate reason to reduce Tehran to a heap of glowing rubble.
There has, indeed, been a great deal of debate over how to translate Ahmadinejad’s now-infamous remark. University of Michigan historian Juan Cole and others have argued that “wiped off the map” is a mistranslation — a mistranslation, moreover, that is being used to beat the drums of war against Iran. “I smell the whiff of war propaganda,” Cole warned The New York Times.