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Former Spanish PM: Iran Actually Wants to Destroy Israel (But We’re Sure It’s Just a Misunderstanding)

It is fashionable in some circles to deny that Iran harbors any ill will toward the Jewish state that might manifest in irrational outbursts of genocidal violence. Such sophisticates challenge the official state translation of Ahmadinejad’s promise to “wipe Israel off the map” and studiously ignore pretty much everything else top Iranian officials have been saying about Israel for many years. The purpose of all this happy denialism, of course, is to reach the foregone conclusion that an Iranian nuclear bomb would not be such a bad thing, and that those who think otherwise are being misled by the insidious spin of the all-powerful Israel Lobby and its warmongering neocon henchmen.

And what a masterful spin operation it is. According to today’s papers, even former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar seems to be in on the act:

Aznar, speaking to a crowd in Jerusalem, recalled a meeting with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in which he expressed his intention to destroy Israel.

“In a private discussion we held in Tehran in October of 2000, Ali Khamenei told me that Israel must be burned to the ground and made to disappear from the face of the Earth,” Aznar told the audience. The former Spanish prime minister went on to say that Iran’s spiritual leader also said that “Iran’s war against the United States and Israel is inevitable.”

Aznar was in Israel as a guest of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, currently headed by former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Dore Gold.

Gold asked him, “When Khamenei was talking about wiping Israel off the map, was he referring to a gradual historical process involving the collapse of the Zionist state, or rather its physical-military termination?”

Aznar answered, “He meant physical termination through military force.”

We’re sure this is all just one big misunderstanding. This is obviously the sort of rhetoric whose nuances can easily be lost in translation, and there are some crucial ambiguities that remain to be explored.

Anyway, we’re pretty sure that the mullahs will use the bomb responsibly, if at all. And all that inflammatory rhetoric in Mein Kampf was just a lot of hot air. Certainly, there is no reason to fear that Iran, newly empowered by nukes, would become even more aggressive in its efforts to destabilize the Middle East. Surely, all reasonable people can agree on that!

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  • Geoff M

    What bugs me about this is that this conversation was to have taken place almost 12 years ago. Why hasn’t Aznar brought this up before?

  • Kris

    Aznar? Ha! Yet another philo-Semite.


    Geoff@1: Dog bites man? Diplomatic niceties?

  • Corlyss

    “And all that inflammatory rhetoric in Mein Kampf was just a lot of hot air.”

    While I agree that when someone says they’re out to destroy you, you should probably take them seriously. However, taking them seriously involves a risk analysis that is bound to implicate the speaker’s latent and patent capacity to do so. Otherwise, there’d be no 1st amendment protection for political speech.

    You could probably count on the finger of one hand anyone, even among Jews, who looked at the ravings of an imprisoned ex-corporal rotting in a Munich jail in 1924 and analyzed correctly that he would one day be Chancellor and in a position to actually realize his ambitions.

  • ahad ha’amoratsim

    ## Colyss, the problem is that even after the ex-corporal was installed as head of state and was no longer rotting in a Munich jail, far too many dismissed his rantings in Mein Kampf as so much hot air, and opined that he would certainly never try to carry out his threats. The denial faction included, as I understand it, the editorial staff of the New York Times.

  • alex scipio

    One bullet in 1936 could have saved tens of millions of europeans. One bullet now could save tens of millions of jews and europeans.

    History will look back on the leader who makes – or does not make – the correct call… and saves – or does not – those millions of lives and, doubtless, trillions of dollars of lost GDP, hurting the inhabitants of the entire globe.

    Which will our Western leaders choose?

  • Lorenz Gude

    It is amazing to me how Westerners through some magic process of fair mindedness (We are simply anti Zionist not anti Semitic!) and multiculturalism wind up abetting the virulent anti Semitism of the Middle East. The ‘Oriental Other’ is always morally clean, and hey presto, the Jews ar dirty. Again.

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