Israel Off The Map" Hoax
Barely a day goes by that one can avoid reading or hearing yet another Israeli, American or British warhawk regurgitate the broken record that Iran's President Ahmadinejad threatened to "wipe Israel off the map," framed in the ridiculous context that Israelis are being targeted for a second holocaust. This baseless rallying call for conflict holds about as much credibility as Dick Cheney's assertion that Saddam Hussein was planning to light up American skies with mushroom clouds.
Today it's the turn of would-be future British Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, who repeated the "wipe Israel off he map" fraud in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, using it to qualify his refusal to rule out a military strike on Iran under a Tory government.
Did Ahmadinejad really threaten to "wipe Israel off the map" or is this phrase just another jingoistic brand slogan for selling the next war in the Middle East?
The devil is in the detail, wiping Israel off the map suggests a physical genocidal assault, a literal population relocation or elimination akin to what the Nazis did. According to numerous different translations, Ahmadinejad never used the word "map," instead his statement was in the context of time and applied to the Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem. Ahmadinejad was expressing his future hope that the Zionist regime in Israel would fall, not that Iran was going to physically annex the country and its population.
To claim Ahmadinejad has issued a rallying cry to ethnically cleanse Israel is akin to saying that Churchill wanted to murder all Germans when he stated his desire to crush the Nazis. This is about the demise of a corrupt occupying power, not the deaths of millions of innocent people.
The Guardian's Jonathan Steele cites four different translations, from professors to the BBC to the New York Times and even pro-Israel news outlets, in none of those translations is the word "map" used. The closest translation to what the Iranian President actually said is, "The regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time," or a narrow relative thereof. In no version is the word "map" used or a context of mass genocide or hostile military action even hinted at.
The acceptance of the word "map" seemingly originated with the New York Times, who later had to back away from this false translation. The BBC also wrongly used the word and, in comments to Steele, later accepted their mistake but refused to issue a retraction.
"The fact that he 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. As a schoolboy opponent of the Shah in the 1970's he surely did not favor Iran's removal from the page of time. He just wanted the Shah out," writes Steele.
"It's important to note that the "quote" in question was itself a quote, writes Arash Norouzi, "they are the words of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Revolution. Although he quoted Khomeini to affirm his own position on Zionism, the actual words belong to Khomeini and not Ahmadinejad. Thus, Ahmadinejad has essentially been credited (or blamed) for a quote that is not only unoriginal, but represents a viewpoint already in place well before he ever took office."
Professor Juan Cole concurs, arguing, "Now, some might say, "So he didn't say, 'wipe off the map,' he said 'erase from the page.' What's the difference? Anyway he's saying he wants to get rid of Israel. Ahmadinejad was not making a threat, he was quoting a saying of Khomeini and urging that pro-Palestinian activists in Iran not give up hope -- that the occupation of Jerusalem was no more a continued inevitability than had been the hegemony of the Shah's government. Whatever this quotation from a decades-old speech of Khomeini may have meant, Ahmadinejad did not say that 'Israel must be wiped off the map' with the implication that phrase has of Nazi-style extermination of a people. He said that the occupation regime over Jerusalem must be erased from the page of time."
Let's consider for a moment that Ahmadinejad really does wish to initiate a nuclear war on Israel, is this feasible? It would be like Paris Hilton picking a fight with Mike Tyson. The CIA's own estimates put Iran five to ten years away from being able to produce one nuclear bomb even if they were in the planning stages now, which is highly unlikely given that international inspectors have found no evidence of such a program and CIA satellite imagery also shows no proof of nuclear arms. Contrast this to an Israeli arsenal of anything up to 200 launch ready nukes allied to the might of the U.S. which has nearly 6,000 active warheads not to mention so-called "mini-nukes."
While it can be reasonably argued that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon at some point in the future, to then claim that this means Ahmadinejad wishes to enact a second holocaust is an unfathomable leap of logic. The real reason for any nation in that region trying to acquire a nuclear weapon is for self defense, because they are surrounded by other hostile powers that already have the bomb.
Returning to the "wipe Israel off the map hoax," loathe are we to forget another of the commercial jingles concocted for hoodwinking Americans into attacking a certain other Middle Eastern country - "he used weapons of mass destruction against his own people," referring of course to Saddam Hussein's alleged role in the Halabja massacre where Iraqi Kurds were gassed. In reality, as former CIA analyst Stephen Pelletiere has revealed, Halabja came as a result of a battlefield exchange between the Iranians and the Iraqis after the Kurds had sided with the Iranians and allowed them to enter the city. According to the DIA's own report at the time, the type of gas that killed the Kurds was not used by the Iraqis but was used by the Iranians. The incident was a tragedy of war, not a directed program of genocide at the behest of Saddam Hussein.
Whenever Bush administration officials and others used Halabja as a pretext for war, the mass media routinely failed to mention the DIA report, just as they have failed to provide any balance on the real meaning of Ahmadinejad's statement, despite the fact that it is completely distorted almost every day and used as a call to arms as well as a propagandistic ploy to convince western populations that dark skinned invaders are hell-bent on their wholesale destruction.
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