Right here on the Atlantic website, Reza Aslan writes:
It might seem shocking to both casual and dedicated Iran-watcher that the bombastic Ahmadinejad could, behind Tehran's closed doors, be playing the reformer. After all, this was the man who, in 2005, generated wide outrage in the West for suggesting that Israel should be "wiped from the map." But even that case said as much about our limited understanding of him and his context as it did about Ahmadinejad himself. The expression "wipe from the map" means "destroy" in English but not in Farsi. In Farsi, it means not that Israel should be eliminated but that the existing political borders should literally be wiped from a literal map and replaced with those of historic Palestine. That's still not something likely to win him cheers in U.S. policy circles, but the distinction, which has been largely lost from the West's understanding of the Iranian president, is important.
Hmmm. So Israel should be replaced by Palestine, which is different than removing Israel from the map. Got it. What Ahmadinejad has been trying to say all along, then, is "Shabbat Shalom, Jews!"
Just to clarify the record of the Holocaust-denying, eliminationist anti-Semitic Iranian president, here are some of the things he's said about Israel and Jews in the last several years:
October, 2005: "Our dear Imam said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine... I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world. But we must be aware of tricks."
July, 2006: "Nations in the region will be more furious every day. It won't take long before the wrath of the people turns into a terrible explosion that will wipe the Zionist entity off the map...The basic problem in the Islamic world is the existence of the Zionist regime, and the Islamic world and the region must mobilize to remove this problem. It is a usurper that our enemies made and imposed on the Muslim world, a regime that prevented the progress of the region's nations, a regime that all Muslims must join hands in isolating worldwide."
August, 2006: "Our position on the Middle East is clear. We want the root of tensions to be removed. During these sixty years what was the root of massacres, crimes and conflicts?...The solution is clear and nothing has changed."
October, 2006: "This regime (Israel) will be gone, definitely..."You (the Western powers) should know that any government that stands by the Zionist regime from now on will not see any result but the hatred of the people...The wrath of the region's people is boiling... You should not complain that we did not give a warning. We are saying this explicitly now..."
November, 2006: "The great powers created the Zionist regime to extend their domination in the region. Every day this regime is massacring Palestinians...As this regime goes against the path of life, we will soon see its disappearance and its destruction."
December, 2006: "The Zionist regime is on the slope of disappearance and the freedom movement and the struggles of the Palestinian people have more success every day...It is the religious duty of all Muslims to stand by the Palestines...The continued crimes of the Zionist regime will only accelerate the downfall of this fake regime."
December, 2006: "I want to tell [Western counties] that just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and does not exist anymore, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out and humanity will be free."
June, 2007: ''God willing, in the near future we will witness the destruction of the corrupt occupier regime..."
June, 2007: ''In Lebanon, the corrupt, arrogant powers and the Zionist regime did all they could in an unfair 33-day war. But after 60 years [Israel's] greatness fell apart...The countdown to this regime's destruction started through the hands of Hezbollah's children...We will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future thanks to the endeavours of all Palestinian and Lebanese fighters.''
August, 2007: "Our support (for the Palestinian people) is unconditional. As for the Israelis, let them go find somewhere else."
August, 2007: "The Zionist regime is the standard bearer of invasion, occupation and Satan...When the philosophy behind the establishment of a regime is in question, it is not unlikely that it will find itself on a course of decline and dissolution."
October 5, 2007: "Canada and Alaska have vast lands, why don't you relocate them over there and keep helping them over there with (aid of) 30 to 40 billion dollars per year for building a new existence over there?"
November, 2007: "It is impossible that the Zionist regime will survive. Collapse is in the nature of this regime because it has been created on aggression, lying, oppression and crime..."
January, 2008: "I advise you to abandon the filthy Zionist entity which has reached the end of the line... It has lost its reason to be and will sooner or later fall. The ones who still support the criminal Zionists should know that the occupiers' days are numbered."
February, 2008: "World powers have created a black and dirty microbe named the Zionist regime and have unleashed it like a savage animal on the nations of the region."
March, 2008: "Gaza is the beginning, the real issue is elsewhere. They should know that both in the prelude and in the real thing they face a defeat and this time they will be uprooted."
April, 2008: "The time has come to see the weakness and collapse of the Zionist regime and its supporters. They are doing everything in order to save it, but they will not succeed."
May, 2008: "Those who think they can revive the stinking corpse of the usurping and fake Israeli regime by throwing a birthday party are seriously mistaken... Today the reason for the Zionist regime's existence is questioned and this regime is on its way to annihilation...has reached the end like a dead rat after being slapped by the Lebanese."
June, 2008: "(Israel) has reached the end of its function and will soon disappear off the geographical domain."
October, 2010, to Hezbollah: "My dear ones, you are victorious and your enemies are defeated. You will stay and your enemies, who are the enemies of humanity, are on the slippery slope to destruction. You are honorable and respected and your Zionist enemies are shamed, wretched and pitiful."