Israeli minister agrees Ahmadinejad never said Israel ‘must be wiped off the map’

Robert Mackey writes: In a reminder that Persian rhetoric is not always easy for English-speakers to interpret, a senior Israeli official has acknowledged that Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, never actually said that Israel “must be wiped off the map.”

Those words were attributed to Mr. Ahmadinejad in 2005, in English translations of his speech to a “World Without Zionism” conference that October. As my colleague Ethan Bronner reported the next year, one problem was translating a metaphorical turn of phrase in Persian that has no exact English equivalent — there was, for instance, no mention of a map — and there was a heated debate about whether the original statement was a threat or a prediction.

Last week, Teymoor Nabili of Al Jazeera suggested during an interview with Dan Meridor, Israel’s minister of intelligence and atomic energy, that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s rhetorical flourish had been misinterpreted. “This idea that Iran wants to wipe Israel out,” Mr. Nabili said, “now that’s a common trope that is put about by a lot of people in Israel, a lot of people in the United States, but as we know Ahmadinejad didn’t say that he plans to exterminate Israel, nor did he say that Iran’s policy is to exterminate Israel.”

In response, Mr. Meridor said that Mr. Ahmadinejad and Iran’s ruling cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had said repeatedly “that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not survive. They didn’t say, ‘We’ll wipe it out,’ you’re right, but, ‘It will not survive.’ ”

Mr. Meridor also pointed out that Iran’s leaders have continued to deny Israel’s right to exist and used highly inflammatory terms to describe the state. After Ayatollah Khamenei compared Israel to a cancerous tumor in February — adding, it “should be cut off” — Mr. Meridor noted those remarks were echoed by the president just last month. “Israel is unnatural, it will not exist, it’s on the verge of collapse,” Mr. Meridor said. “When you hear this from these people, you need to take it seriously.”

As the Guardian columnist Jonathan Steele explained in 2006, a more direct translation of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s remarks would be: “this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time,” echoing a statement once made by the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. [Continue reading...]

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Comments

  1. DE Teodoru says:

    I don’t know what’s the matter with us dumb goyim. We Americans are SUPPOSED to shut up and swallow the hasbara because a lot of people make a living shoveling it down your throats. What? You want they should be unemployed!!!

    Meridor is an old BS artist. By his logic, a physician telling a Jewish patient that his pancreatic cancer is incurable, so he has little time, and should settle his affairs is an “anti-Semite.” Ahmadinejad’s prognosis is no proof of a desire to dangerously pancreatectomize Israel. He never said that he would interfere in Israel’s internal affairs (unless you consider Lebanon a part of Israel). And that’s the whole issue– they keep feeding us dumb goyim the same BS, year after year; afterall, they are convinced that we dumb goyim will think it is candy because, by the time they feed it to us, our Zionist friends (whom by Zionist dogma defines are Israeli citizens of their own Jewish state, like it or not) will have conditioned us dumb goyim to think that, “Hmmm, it smells like s–t, it feels like s—t, it looks like s–it….But good think my Zionist friends convinced me that it tastes terrific, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.”

    Alas, the Zionist hasbara is too smart by half. Last night, BBC had a report on how China is encroaching on the peripheral islands of Pacific South East Asian nations with which the U.S. HAS MUTUAL DEFENSE AGREEMENTS, putting Chinese naval bases on them. Israel said it is our “closest ally,” but it refused to sign such an agreement. Consequently, our primary duty is to our REAL allies by treaty. As the US is made to choose between its treaty obligation and its periodic wars for Israel because our politicians need Zionist campaign contributions, Americans will increasingly see Israel as an impediment to American interests, far more dire than losing the Zionist money American politicians need every election day.

    I would hope Israel will soon normalize rather than forever seek getting ~$10billions/yr. just because of the Holocaust. That is its *ONLY* raison d’etre, by its own choice. No Israeli politician had the courage to persevere in an effort to become a REAL country, with a REAL economy, REAL borders, REAL constitution, REAL treaties with other nations so it could feel safer, stronger economically as well as politically. Hopefully some courageous young Sabra politicians will some day take over and INTEGRATE Israel into the Middle East before Israel dies from Zionist fatigue.