Monday, September 21, 2009

Juan Cole's Iran blogging takes a strange turn

Ahamadinjad's recent pronouncements, as you probably already know, reprise some of his favorite anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denial tropes. This prompts a post from Juan entitled "Ahmadinejad Spews Raving Lunatic Anti-Semitism on 'Jerusalem Day.'" OK, we get the picture, Juan--this is bad stuff. At one point he summarizes:
In other words, he is saying, all of modern history (possibly from the Portuguese conquest of Goa) and certainly the British conquests during WW I, the Nazi persecution of Jews, and last year's American presidential race, has been the unfolding of a secret Jewish plot, wherein "Zionists" control everything that happens.
He wants us to identify this sort of thinking with Ahmadinejad himself, however, and argues
. . . it remains the case that Ahmadinejad is not the commander in chief of the armed forces and cannot make troops march into war-- that prerogative is with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Ahmadinejad could not even appoint a vice president he wanted without Khamenei's permission (and when it was not forthcoming, he had to dismiss him).

But the venomous rhetoric against Jews (it isn't just Zionists if it is projected back 500 years) that he used in this speech is so hateful that if it became widespread and ensconced in Iranian society, it certainly would have bad and tragic results-- for Jews, Iranians and for us human beings in general.
Good thing it's only Ahmadinejad, right? As anyone who pays attention knows, Holocaust-denial has pervaded Iran's press agencies for quite some time. Sometimes this takes the form of reports of Ahmadinejad speeches, but quite often it doesn't. Key allies of Iran, such as Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, have also "spewed" Holocaust denial. I would say this rhetoric has become "widespread and ensconced," and not just in Iranian society. Juan seems mostly concerned with reassuring us that he is personally disgusted but that there is really nothing to worry about:
Luckily, most Iranians clearly were not taken in, and his opponents put around pamphlets saying "No to Gaza and Lebanon, I will give my life [only] for Iran!" In fact, by associating it with himself, Ahmadinejad may single-handedly be sinking support for the Palestinian cause among Iranians, since most of them despise him and everything he stands for.

Now excuse me while I go take a shower with lava soap. Ugh.
For a few days afterwards Juan served up more posts on Iran, mainly insisting that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons. Take a bow, Juan.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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