Via Meadia has pointed out instances where high Iranian officials have committed themselves to Israel’s destruction. In The American Interest, Sohrab Ahmari and James Kirchick join us in countering those who seek to downplay or deny the very real malevolent and potentially genocidal intent the rulers of the Islamic Republic harbor towards the Jewish state.Their piece, “We Are All Persian Grammarians Now“, takes on the array of pundits who have made a living out of poo-pooing incendiary Iranian rhetoric, from Robert Mackey to Juan Cole. They conclude:
Extinguishing the Jewish state has been a central tenet of the Iranian regime since its founding by the Ayatollah Khomeini more than three decades ago. “Ever since coming to this revolution,” Khomeini declared in a televised speech not long before his death, “one of our major points has been that Israel must be destroyed.” Khomeini’s successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been equally clear. Last February, he described Israel as a “cancerous tumor” that must be “cut.” Iran’s military leaders frequently echo such calls. “The Iranian nation is standing for its cause that is the full annihilation of Israel,” the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, less than two weeks ago. And the unsubtle cry of “Death to Israel” is a regular incantation at Friday prayers. These are not empty threats or nebulous hopes, but murderous exhortations backed up by concrete policies.There is something deeply pernicious about the attempt to whitewash the grossly anti-Semitic ideology of Iran’s leadership—as if nitpicking over repeated mistranslations of one statement could exonerate Iran when nearly two dozen other choice utterances refer to Israel in eliminationist terms. Reasonable people can disagree about what should be done with respect to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but not about the overt hostility embedded in the Iranian leadership’s rhetoric on Israel.
Be sure to read the whole thing and pass it along the next time someone claims that Iranian rhetoric has just been “mistranslated” or “misunderstood.”