By Request: Ahmadenijad and Genocide

Chris Dornan raises an issue that "is not a topic that many people will want to deal with" but I said I was taking requests, so "What is your position on the Goldberg/Walt disagreement over whether Ahmadinejad has called for genocide." You can construe Ahmadenijad's remarks about Israel the way Jeff Goldberg is doing, or you could draw a distinction between the idea of destroying Israel as a political entity and the idea of destroying its population. Independent Poland ceased to exist in the nineteenth century without there being a genocide of the Polish people.

But the whole discussion seems to be undertaken in bad faith. One way or another, Iran isn't going to destroy Israel. And one way or another, Iran's rhetoric about Israel is ugly. At the same time, you have people in the United States who want to scuttle efforts at good-faith diplomacy with Iran in favor of an approach centered exclusively on coercion up to the point of actual bombing, and semi-pornographic displays of Iranian rhetoric about Israel is part of their political strategy. But bombing Iran is still a bad idea, the "bomb Iran" brigades are still crazy, and a serious, good-faith effort to improve relations with Iran is still a good idea. That's the Iran debate that matters.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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