Does Iran’s President Want Israel Wiped Off The Map – Does He Deny The Holocaust?
By Anneliese Fikentscher and Andreas Neumann
Translation to English: Erik Appleby
“The German government condemned the repetitive offending anti-Israel statements by Ahmadinejad to be shocking. Such behaviour is not tolerable, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated. […] Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel proclaimed Ahmadinejad’s statements to be ‘inconceivable'” (published by tagesschau.de 2005-12-14.
But not only the German Foreign Minister Steinmeier and the Federal Chancellor Merkel allege this, but the Bild-Zeitung, tagesschau.de, parts of the peace movement, US-President George W. Bush, the ‘Papers for German and international politics’, CNN, the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, almost the entire world does so, too: Iran’s President Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust.
What is this assertion based on? In substance it is based on dispatches of 2 days – 2005-12-14 and 2006-02-11.
“The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stepped up his verbal attacks against Israel and the Western states and has denied the Holocaust. Instead of making Israel’s attacks against Palestine a subject of discussion ‘the Western states devote their energy to the fairy-tale of the massacre against the Jews’, Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday in a speech at Zahedan in the south-east of Iran which was broadcasted directly by the news-channel Khabar. That day he stated that if the Western states really believe in the assassination of six million Jews in W.W. II they should put a piece of land in Europe, in the USA, Canada or Alaska at Israel’s disposal.” – dispatch of the German press agency DPA, 2005-12-14.
The German TV-station n24 spreads the following on 2006-12-14 using the title ‘Iran’s President calls the Holocaust a myth’: “The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stepped up his verbal attacks against Israel and called the Holocaust a ‘myth’ used as a pretext by the Europeans to found a Jewish state in the center of the Islamic world . ‘In the name of the Holocaust they have created a myth and regard it to be worthier than God, religion and the prophets’ the Iranian head of state said.”
The Iranian press agency IRNA renders Ahmadinejad on 2005-12-14 as follows: “‘If the Europeans are telling the truth in their claim that they have killed six million Jews in the Holocaust during the World War II – which seems they are right in their claim because they insist on it and arrest and imprison those who oppose it, why the Palestinian nation should pay for the crime. Why have they come to the very heart of the Islamic world and are committing crimes against the dear Palestine using their bombs, rockets, missiles and sanctions.’ […] ‘If you have committed the crimes so give a piece of your land somewhere in Europe or America and Canada or Alaska to them to set up their own state there.’ […] Ahmadinejad said some have created a myth on holocaust and hold it even higher than the very belief in religion and prophets […] The president further said, ‘If your civilization consists of aggression, displacing the oppressed nations, suppressing justice-seeking voices and spreading injustice and poverty for the majority of people on the earth, then we say it out loud that we despise your hollow civilization.'”
There again we find the quotation already rendered by n24: “In the name of the Holocaust they created a myth.” We can see that this is completely different from what is published by e.g. the DPA – the massacre against the Jews is a fairy-tale. What Ahmadinejad does is not denying the Holocaust. No! It is dealing out criticism against the mendacity of the imperialistic powers who use the Holocaust to muzzle critical voices and to achieve advantages concerning the legitimization of a planned war. This is criticism against the exploitation of the Holocaust.
CNN (2005-12-15) renders as follows: “If you have burned the Jews why don’t you give a piece of Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to Israel. Our question is, if you have committed this huge crime, why should the innocent nation of Palestine pay for this crime?”
The Washingtonian “Middle East Media Research Institute” (MEMRI) renders Ahmadinejad’s statements from 2005-12-14 as follows: “…we ask you: if you indeed committed this great crime, why should the oppressed people of Palestine be punished for it? * […] If you committed a crime, you yourselves should pay for it. Our offer was and remains as follows: If you committed a crime, it is only appropriate that you place a piece of your land at their disposal – a piece of Europe, of America, of Canada, or of Alaska – so they can establish their own state. Rest assured that if you do so, the Iranian people will voice no objection.”
The MEMRI-rendering uses the relieving translation ‘great crime’ and misappropriates the following sentence at the * marked passage: “Why have they come to the very heart of the Islamic world and are committing crimes against the dear Palestine using their bombs, rockets, missiles and sanctions.” This sentence has obviously been left out deliberately because it would intimate why the Israeli state could have forfeited the right to establish itself in Palestine – videlicet because of its aggressive expansionist policy against the people of Palestine, ignoring any law of nations and disobeying all UN-resolutions.
In spite of the variability referring to the rendering of the statements of Iran’s President we should nevertheless note down: the reproach of denying the Holocaust cannot be sustained if Ahmadinejad speaks of a great and huge crime that has been done to the Jews.
In another IRNA-dispatch (2005-12-14) the Arabian author Ghazi Abu Daqa writes about Ahmadinejad: “The Iranian president has nothing against the followers of Judaism […] Ahmadinejad is against Zionism as well as its expansionist and occupying policy. That is why he managed to declare to the world with courage that there is no place for the Zionist regime in the world civilized community.”
It’s no wonder that such opinions do not go down particularly well with the ideas of the centers of power in the Western world. But for this reason they are not wrong right away. Dealing out criticism against the aggressive policy of the Western world, to which Israel belongs as well, is not yet anti-Semitism. We should at least to give audience to this kind of criticism – even if it is a problematic field for us.
2006-02-11 Ahmadinejad said according to IRNA: “[…] the real holocaust should be sought in Palestine, where the blood of the oppressed nation is shed every day and Iraq, where the defenceless Muslim people are killed daily. […] ‘Some western governments, in particular the US, approve of the sacrilege on the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), while denial of the >Myth of Holocaust<, based on which the Zionists have been exerting pressure upon other countries for the past 60 years and kill the innocent Palestinians, is considered as a crime' [...]" The assertion that Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust thus is wrong in more than one aspect. He does not deny the Holocaust, but speaks of denial itself. And he does not speak of denial of the Holocaust, but of denial of the Myth of Holocaust. This is something totally different. All in all he speaks of the exploitation of the Holocaust. The Myth of Holocaust, like it is made a subject of discussion by Ahmadinejad, is a myth that has been built up in conjunction with the Holocaust to - as he says - put pressure onto somebody. We might follow this train of thoughts or we might not. But we cannot equalize his thoughts with denial of the Holocaust. If Ahmadinejad according to this 2006-02-11 condemns the fact that it is forbidden and treated as a crime to do research into the Myth of Holocaust, as we find it quoted in the MEMRI translation, this acquires a meaning much different from the common and wide-spread one. If the myth related to the Holocaust is commuted to a ‘Fairy Tale of the Massacre’ – like the DPA did – this can only be understood as a malicious misinterpretation.
By the use of misrepresentation and adulteration it apparently succeeded to constitute the statements of the Iranian President to be part and parcel of the currently fought propaganda battle. It is our responsibility to counter this.
Does Iran’s President Want Israel Wiped Off The Map – Does He Deny The Holocaust?
Iran Official Recasts Holocaust Comments
By Nicholas Paphitis – Associated Press Writer
Iran: Holocaust remarks misunderstood
Iran: Ahmedinejad’s Holocaust Comments ‘Misunderstood’
NewsMax.com Wires – Friday, Dec. 16, 2005