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December 08, 2005

Public Display of Evil
Babak Seradjeh  [info|posts]

Holocaust_Memorial_Miami.JPG BBC reports:

"If European countries claim that they have killed Jews in World War II...why don't they provide the Zionist regime with a piece of Europe," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Iranian television.
Is that a real question, I asked myself. I wodnered why Mr. Ahmanedinejad doesn't provide the Palestinians with a piece of Iran. Reading the piece again, and seeing that the Holocaust is reduced to a "claim" (by those who did it, surprisingly), I got curious to see if this implied doubt was accurate. Unfortunately, BBC is consistently brief on such aspects. But sure enough, a simple google search returned this Reuters news piece, Iran's Ahmadinejad casts doubt on Holocaust:
Ahmadinejad was quoted by IRNA [from a news conference he gave in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca] as saying: "Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces and they insist on it to the extent that if anyone proves something contrary to that they condemn that person and throw them in jail ... Although we don't accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem?" he said. "If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe -- like in Germany, Austria or other countries -- to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it."

Such evil remarks in blatant disregard of documented history is nothing new of course coming from the kind of people that Mr. Ahmadinejad represents. Denying the Holocaust, calling to wipe a country off the map, or to move it, are all the stuff of my generation's childhood, in school, on the radio and on TV, in the bold and thick slogans on the walls, the streamlined propaganda that aimed to penetrate all the space it could find in our brains.

And it is not just the incomprehensible attachment that Mr. Ahmadinejad and his constituents feel to the issue of Israel while there are so much to be done about the people of Iran that makes this issue important. The importance is in that it is a showcase of all that is wrong with these people's ideals and methods: ignorance, impudence, total disrespect for human lives (which was once again brutallly demonstrated by the latest plane crash in which more than a 100 people died while reportedly the plane was so out of shape that the original pilot did not accept to fly it), and most importantly, a burning desire to force one's flawed view on the rest of the people. Their persistent quest for acquiring nuclear power only finds its true meaning in this context.

That it is now on an international display, plain and simple, for everyone to see is another matter though. It is a rare opprtunity to see the evil for what it is. Only the leaders of the world need to address it in more meaningful actions than words of disblief or condemnation.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at December 8, 2005 07:57 PM [permalink]:

This article was amazing. Babak I take off my hat to you.

Interestingly I wanted to comment on what someone called coop said about the violencein Isarael in the other thread but it is sort of relevant here too, because it addresses oneof ythe main ewasons why people don't see such evil when it stares them in the eye.
The truth is that the most prevalent form of anti-israel attitude among people like coop in Iran comes not from Islamism at all but rather leftism.
So unlike many other evil crap that the government has tried to inject in our generatiopns head unsuccessfully, due to the healthy effect of our families inside our houses, in the case of Israel (and not the jews interestingly enough) many families where "left-striken" already. So this myth of Israeli violence or "occupatio" of the socalled "palestine" has gone somewhat unchalleneged. It is there but for a completely different reason than what the regime wants .Because the islamic-palestinian ideal is hated many degrees of magnitude more than the supposed israeli violence=occupation amongour generation.
But it again proves the known truth that like the case of Nazism, it is the leftist=communist warped and non-sense worldview that lies at the core of many troubles and that strengthens more obvious forms of rabid inhuman insanity like Nazism and Islamism.
It is amazing how much we as a nation got hurt by this stinking nonsensicall madness called "the left" and its "ideals".

What yoyu wrote also made me think of the idea iof people who lived during Nazism. Those who were not directly targeted, they also under estimated the evil of Nazism, especially with th memory of the atrocities of WWI already in their heads blinding them of ehat was going in front of their eyes.

It is also interesting how the socalled "reform" in this regime is in line with the madness, only again in a subtle way. When Khatami says he doesn't consider helping those that fight state-terrorism, what do you think he meant? When the likes of Roger garody come to Iran under Khatami's time, what wasthat all about?
When Khatami goes to Lebanon and is greeted by the Nazis of our time, the Hezbollah, etc etc etc.

dwasrk times, very dark times.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at December 8, 2005 08:05 PM [permalink]:

As for the plane crash, what can one say?
That is the hell we are condemend to live by this revolution.
It seems the journalists were not allowed to leave the plane once it was realized the plane was compeltely out of order.
See here .

Of course twe get again the ususla nonsense conspiracy theories, but that is absurd.
the truth is worse. It is just this lack of any repsect for huma life for this regime and it speople, and let's face it a part of our culture. This pathetic ceremony was more important than the lives of all these people so no cancellation was in order.
Stupidity, yes but that is what is at the core of evil and vice versa.
Evil it is as you said.

yaser k at December 8, 2005 09:55 PM [permalink]:

What AN has said shouldn't at least surprize us. We knew this going to happen. The issue is not how much evil he is but how to deal with this evil and I am wondering what you mean by "the world need to address it in more meaningful actions than words of disblief or condemnation"?

An Iranian Student (AIS) at December 8, 2005 10:15 PM [permalink]:

"The issue is not how much evil he is but how to deal with this evil"

Yser, what is wrong with you?! How can you say such bad things?
Come on, I thought you were a "reasonable" man, a "pragmatic" man. You know, people are unworthy, they are apathetic, they don't support people like Ganji and all that to be able to make a difference..blah..blah..blah... and "dealing" with your AN is only daydreamin, no?!
Shouldn't we instead try to "change" him a bit, you know "reform" him.. he is a bit looney , but we can go step by step, gradually, slowly , infinitesimally... you should know, you were the expert, no?!
maybe next time you can hire three hundred buses and a couple of dolls so that the second term of your AN would be a reformed version, what'ya say?

....Many retional and pragmatic possibilities you know.

Babak S at December 8, 2005 10:44 PM [permalink]:

Good question Yaser. the answer is not that simple, but I can give you a few hints of what I mean:

1. I want Russians to stop selling Iran these missiles. Perhaps Mr. Ivanov could tell us how it is his affair but not our people's who would be suffocating under the tyranny of those who would wield the power to use those missiles.

2. Or how about the Chinese to stop the implicit and explicit support they have given to the enrichment program in Iran. Even without actually referring the nuclear issue to the security council, that coould deter a nuclear hardline Islamic Republic.

3. Or how about Spaniards stop arming Hugo Chavez who says: "Today we can say that Iran and Venezuela, the Iranian revolution and the Venezuelan revolution, are brothers; we have achieved it. And that brotherhood hopes for a world of equals."

Nema at December 9, 2005 01:48 AM [permalink]:

I disagree with Babak. I don't think it has anything to do with rolling back military sales. I think it has to do with conditioning trade with the promotion of human rights. This isn't a hard pressed concern either. The EU conditions membership on ratification and observance of the European Convention on Human Rights. One of the major reasons Turkey has improved observance on human rights is because its conditioned on trade. It is probably unlikely that Russia or China will change their policies without significant pressure by the EU.

Its interesting though, I remember reading a month ago that Khamanei had sanctioned Ahmadinejad from mentioning anything about Israel after his statement about "wiping Israel off the map." I'm curious how accurate those reports were.

yaser k at December 9, 2005 10:35 AM [permalink]:

In order that the trade policies work, a minimum rationality in the hostile government is required (which e.g. Turkey has). AN and his team don't have this minimum requirement and therefore I don't think they care much about it. Considering the oil price, any kind of sanction is also doesn't look practical at the time.

International pressure is a catalyst provided that reaction is already happening. If it is not, it can't do much.

Bandehkhoda at December 9, 2005 11:32 AM [permalink]:


I agree on many issues with your comments, but have always taken issue with your stance on the Palestinians. To be frank, I see it as rather racist.

The recognition of the rights of the Palestinians is not a lack of recognition of the rights of the Israelis. The "so-called" Palestine is an international political entity recognized by every nation in the world (and even within the progressive sections of the Israeli society itself). If you neglect the rights of Palestinians to their own homeland, you would not be very different from Ahmadinejad, it's the same basic principle of "EVIL". Sometimes people don't see the evil in themselves but readily identify it in others.

The difference between the anti-Israeli attitude of the Iranian left with that of the Islamic fundamentalists is the fact that the fundamentalists oppose the existence of the state of Israel with anti-semitism at its core. The left (while often obnoxious and unfair) opposes the violation of rights of the Palestinians, which has been documented extensively by Amnesty International, the United Nations and many other human rights organizations across the globe.

Nema at December 9, 2005 12:32 PM [permalink]:


I've personally been to both Israel and Palestine and I think you have grave misunderstandings about the society there. Palestinians are by no means Islamic fanatics. Moreover, there is clearly occupation going on whether or not you believe that "Palestine" was a state in the past or not. Whether an stable community is rooted by its place or controlled by a foreign entity by military force, there is occupation. The problem is that the suffering of Palestinians is used as a pretext to justify political ambitions by the Iranian government as well as by many terrorist. It is used as a justification in the same breath as the existence of dictatorships in the Arab world is used as a pretext for justifying political attacks.

Honestly, I'm not sure the plight of Palestinians really factors into Iran's foreign policy. I really think its a political game being played by Iran reflecting its broader bi-lateral relations vis a vis Israel.

Dan at December 9, 2005 01:55 PM [permalink]:

Iran's leader seems to have forgotten that Israel helped supply weapons to fight Iraq during the war,while most countries supported Iraq.I'm not sure if he really believes Israel should be moved to Europe (or "Eurabia" as I like to call it),or if he merely wanted to score points with his audience in Mecca.
As for Palestine,here is a quote I read somewhere that makes a lot of sense:
"Jordan is the Palestinian-Arab nation-state,just as Israel is the Palestinian-Jewish nation-state."

Nema at December 9, 2005 04:01 PM [permalink]:


I don't think Iran does forget that. In fact, it sheds light that Iran's foreign policy making towards Israel seems to be guided by political, rather then religious, viewpoints. So what political factors are fueling significant anti-Israel political posturing in Iran now?

Also I'm not sure what sense that statement makes. The Jordanian government considers it Jordanian, not Palestinian, not Arab. There is a misconception that there is an "Arab people." There isn't. None of the arab-speaking countries consider themselves as the same or similar people as other arab-speaking countries. Hence the reason for bi-lateral tensions between various Arab states. The problem with the statement "Jordan is the Palestinian-Arab nation-state,just as Israel is the Palestinian-Jewish nation-state." is that it reflects a perception by some Israeli's that Palestinians should be pushed out of the west bank and gaza into Jordan, because there's so many of them there anyway, and because they are all arab. Its an effort to justify occupation and forced re-settlement on highly superficial and racist grounds.

Personally, my view on the Arab-Israel conflict is this. In Rwanda and South Africa we expected different communities there to reconcile and live in one country, because the inviolability of human rights for all persons. So why do we not expect the same in Israel? Why shouldn't we expect one state for both Palestinians and Israelis? Thats my problem with this whole rhetoric.

Shahram at December 9, 2005 05:37 PM [permalink]:

I am no expert on the Israeli-Palestinian issues, but I would like to address the President himself. I have to say that my attacks are simply personal, because I have similar jackets/coats to those of his and ever since his presidency I have not been able to use them because he is notoriously patented that appearance. So I am just attacking him because of my superficial dislike of him and unlike some Iranians in Iran I do not like to make references to Darwin's theory and etc. There goes my personal attack on His Excellency Persident Doctor Ahmadinejad:

First, Mr. President, if you do not know history please Shut up! If you think Israelis have to be returned to Europe, you cannot just single out Germany and Austria. There were other countries that collaborated with the Nazis: What about Hungary? What about Vichy France?

But I think we know that you are at best a genius in engineering and not history!

Second, at least half of the Israeli Jewish population is increasingly "not" of European origin, but of Mizrahi Jews; that is Jews of the Middle East and North Africa. Today, according to some reports (I will add more academically supported data soon) half of the Jewish population of Israel is of the North African and other Middle Eastern background.

Do you know why Mr. President? Because when, and almost every time that Israel won in either of the major battles in the 1960s and early 1970s a good chunk of the Jewish population in Arab and Islamic states were kicked out of their countries by the gracious Arab and Islamic states! Where do you think most of these people went to, Mr. President? They went to Israel!

Now, Would you Mr. President Dr. Ahmadinejad agree that all these Arab Jews and other Muslim countries' Jews who were expelled out of their houses and their properties were confiscated should also return with all of their children to the respective Arab and Muslim countries? Would you agree that they have to be paid a healthy and comparably just compensation that would also include an inter-generational sum? Would Arab and Muslim states be ready to embrace back all of these Mizrahi Jews?

If your response is equivocal, and/or if it is negative, I have another response for you Mr. Ahmadinejad: Please Shut Up Your Excellency Mr. President Dr. Ahmadinejad !

An Iranian Student (AIS) at December 9, 2005 07:41 PM [permalink]:

The fact that it is the will of the international community for the "formation" of an independent state of Palestine is nothing i ever disputed. What I said and is perfectly correct is that there was never a Palestinian state. You disagree?
Hence no meaningful notion of a pelstinian land that has been occupied. the regions in Gaza and West bank under Israeli occupation is DIFFERENt from a palestinian state.
There is no racism or neglect of the facts involved in my part.
Once the stae uis formed we can all talk meaningfully of palestinians as a nationality.

As for the left, i'm afraid is much worse than that. they "might" accept the oresence of Israel in words but that is mostly lip service. the LEFT in Iran in general considers Israel in its entirety to be an illegitimate occupying state.

Nema at December 9, 2005 08:09 PM [permalink]:

I think whether or not a Palestinian state existed is certainly debateable, but the products of that debate are meaningless, primarily because the non-existance of state boundaries does not negate the right to self-determination all peoples have. However, I will say this, international consensus is a highly contentious ground for determining the existence of a "state" per se. The guidelines used by almost every major international legal scholar is the existence of defined territorial borders, population, cultures, etc. which define a self-guided community of persons. Subsequently, whether the international community said there existed a "Palestinian state" is irrelevant in determining whether such state existed. Clearly what is more important, is whether a community of people existed in the region with defined borders and boundaries and with systems of politics and law to regulate those boundaries.

All the evidence points to the fact that such systems existed in the region known as Palestine. The Israeli counter to that is that there "were no persons" when they entered into Palestinian villages or that by fleeing their homes in the midst of war, the Palestinians had given up any rights to their homes. That argument is not only false, but goes against all major principles of human right and the rights of displaced persons. Put it in context, storm comes into Lousiana, people leave the state in order to get away from harm. Once storm passes, people from state X move in and occupy the land and homes of those who had sought shelter in other states.

At this point, if not before, Israelis justify occupation based upon a Biblical grant of property. I think its interesting because almost every moral and legal code in the world has a principle of attenuated connections. I believe the Old Testament states something along the lines that the son should not incur punishment from his fathers mistakes. In other words, at some point temporal proximity and intervening variables seperate the unlawful, or immoral, act from "fruits" of that act.

That being said, I think there's a broader problem evident here. If we condition self-determination purely on arbitrary state borders or state recognition by international powers, then we are neglecting the existence of different and diverse perceptions on communal autonomy with a colonial mentality. At this point the damage has been done. However, my conclusion is that with relation to Israel-Palestine, there is no reason why one state with both palestinians and israelis doesn't exist. It just makes sense. In mainland Israel you have a significant population of Palestinians whom, because of their growing birthrate, are reaching near 20% of the population. In the West Bank you have pockets of settlements which are also continously growing and constitute a significant of the population in the area. You cannot divorce Palestinians and Israelis from each other absent violent military conflict and literal forces of racial cleansing. You cannot possess a "Jewish state" without enforcing racially and religiously preferential laws which intentionally grant greater rights to one community over another purely on the basis of religious and ethnic makeup. Those are the consequences of having a "two-state" solution in Israel and Palestinian while recognizing the homogenous character of the region.

Nema at December 9, 2005 08:11 PM [permalink]:

I mean heterogenous

Ron at December 9, 2005 10:55 PM [permalink]:


I can appreciate the great sympathy you have towards the people involved in this tragic conflict.
But good intentions are not enough to solve this kind of problem. Both sides have their own historical
reasons not to trust each other, and this has to be taken into account. You offer what's known as the
one-state solution, I believe most eloquently described by President Qaddaffi in his thesis on "Isratine",
see his website. While this would be an ideal solution, it would require much bigger issues to be solved
in the world, mainly the kind of anti-semitism we've heard from Mr. Ahmanedinejad, which can also be heard
practically anywhere in the world.

Until this time, the Jewish people will be forever locked in survival-mode. And what you would call racism really
has nothing to do with race, Jews and Arabs are practically the same race, if there is such a thing. What you might
percieve as Jews looking down on their Arab neighbours and treating them unfairly is a result of circumstances beyond
the control of either group. There is a reason why Jews don't trust much of the world, including their Arab neighbours,
who, by the way, if you're interested, weren't such good neighbours to the Jews even before there was an occupation or a modern
state of israel, and that is the reason why reasonable Jews can think ceding control over territory is suicidal.

President Ahmanedinejad has done the Jewish people a great service by speaking what is on his mind and in his heart.
Now the question is will people finally begin to understand that there is *evil* in this world when people who hate
are given so much power.

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