A Little Ahmadinejad Revisionism for You

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."

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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