Jack Shafer Points Out a Flaw in Ahmadinejad's Thinking

The Iranian president is arguing that the only thing standing between humanity and world peace are the Joos. (And yes, when Ahmadinejad says "Zionists," he doesn't actually mean "Zionists.") Jack Shafer e-mailed Goldblog the following observation: "After all, the world was a peaceful place until Israel was formed."

There's a corollary here, to an argument you hear made from time to time. The argument goes like this: Israel's existence -- its displacement of the Palestinians, its behavior -- is a main cause of anti-Semitism today. Most Jews don't find this argument terribly convincing, for the simple reason that anti-Semitism predates the creation of Israel, and was, of course, much worse before Israel gained independence. The Germans obviously were not motivated to kill six million Jews because they were upset about Israel's settlement policy. They were motivated by, among many other things, fears of worldwide Jewish domination (fears best expressed in our age by the Iranian regime and its supporters and apologists). If Israel had existed in 1939, there would not have been a Holocaust.

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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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