Buried in the Week
in Review section of the New York Times is an admission that Iran’s
president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said Israel should be “wiped off the
map,” a reference to a mistranslated phrase bandied about the corporate
media over the last several weeks as an example of Iran’s intention to
attack Israel, especially after it develops nukes, either next week or a decade
out, depending on the level of fanaticism of the neocon making the claim.
In predictable, pro-Israel fashion, Ethan Bronner writes: “When combined
with Iran’s longstanding support for Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah
of Lebanon, two groups that have killed numerous Israelis, and Mr. Ahmadinejad’s
refusal to acknowledge the Holocaust, it is hard to argue that, from Israel’s
point of view, Mr. Ahmadinejad poses no threat. Still, it is true that he has
never specifically threatened war against Israel.”
In other words, for Ethan Bronner and the New York Times, it doesn’t
matter what Ahmadinejad actually said because everybody (here in the land of
the brainwashed) knows Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map, an updated version
of Arabs pushing Jews into the sea.
In fact, Ahmadinejad never used the phrase “wiped off the map”
in his speech. Instead, he said Israel should be “eliminated from the
page of history,” which is different than saying Israel should be wiped
off the map.
“Does this quibbling over phrases matter? Yes, of course. Within days
of the Ahmadinejad speech the then Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, was
calling for Iran to be expelled from the United Nations. Other foreign leaders
have quoted the map phrase. The United States is piling pressure on its allies
to be tough with Iran,” writes Jonathan
Steele for the Guardian. “The fact that [Ahmadinejad] compared his
desired option—the elimination of ‘the regime occupying Jerusalem’—with
the fall of the Shah’s regime in Iran makes it crystal clear that he is
talking about regime change, not the end of Israel…. The Iranian president
is undeniably an opponent of Zionism or, if you prefer the phrase, the Zionist
regime. But so are substantial numbers of Israeli citizens, Jews as well as
Arabs. The anti-Zionist and non-Zionist traditions in Israel are not insignificant.
So we should not demonise Ahmadinejad on those grounds alone.”
Point is, the corporate media, onboard with the neocon plan to demonize all
things Muslim, will not correct the record, or will not give it the same amount
of air play as the original misquotation, in fact a MEMRI-spun
In 2002, the neocons worked overtime to demonize Saddam Hussein—not a
difficult task, as he was an unsavory character, but an unsavory character supported
and armed to the teeth for decades by the United States nonetheless—and
the corporate media dutifully spread neocon lies about Iraq (millions of people,
to this day, believe Saddam had something to do with nine eleven, thus demonstrating
facts have nothing to do with reporting the news, or rather propaganda).
It does not matter what Ahmadinejad actually said, or that he was democratically
elected by the people of Iran. As a Muslim, Ahmadinejad is concerned about Israel’s
occupation of al-Quds (Jerusalem), where the Dome of the Rock is situated (Muslims
believe the center of the dome is the spot from which Muhammad ascended through
the heavens to God). If the Israelis annexed the Vatican and did not allow Christians
to pilgrimage there, imagine the response of Catholics.
Fake Muslim terrorists in Ontario and London, inflammatory cartoons of Muhammad,
misquoting and demonizing Ahmadinejad—all of these things are propaganda
artifices designed to be used to build a case for further attacks against Islam,
specifically the coming shock and awe campaign to be unleashed against the people
In the weeks ahead, we can expect the freshly cobbled together Iranian Directorate,
a refurbished Office of Special Plans, to issue all manner of absurd propaganda
against Iran in preparation for an attack.
Question is, will the American people buy into the lies and disinformation?
But of course.
Wiping falsehoods from the pages of time
by Eli Stephens
i on the news
Since last October, and continuing since then, there has been continuing controversy
over Iranian President Ahmadinejad's alleged remark about "wiping Israel
off the map." In the American "mainstream," that he said this
is undisputed conventional wisdom.
article in the Guardian delves at length into the translation questions
that have arisen surrounding this quote, concluding, more or less as Juan Cole
did back in October, that "eliminated from the page of history" is
a better translation.
To me, however, the key is still precisely what I (with zero knowledge of
Farsi) wrote last
The Iranian Foreign Ministry responded to the U.N. statement by saying
that "Iran is loyal to its commitments based on the U.N. charter and
it has never used or threatened to use force against any country,"
and indeed, a reading of Ahmadinejad's statement suggests quite clearly
that the "wiped off the map" is to be taken literally (i.e., that
the political boundaries of the region should be redrawn), and not figurately
as meaning "wiped off the face of the earth." He explicitly denies
that he is talking about "A fight between Judaism and other religions,"
and explicitly describes the endpoint of the struggle in the Middle East
by saying: "It will be over the day a Palestinian government, which
belongs to the Palestinian people, comes to power; the day that all refugees
return to their homes; a democratic government elected by the people comes
to power." There is no talk of "driving the Jews into the sea"
or "waging war against Israel" or anything remotely along those
lines, merely the expression of support for the goal of a democratic Palestinian
state. And for that, he is condemned by the U.N., while real aggressor states
like the U.S. and U.K. (not to mention Israel) are among those who do the
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