As Americans work themselves into another tizzy over Iran’s president setting foot on U.S. soil–especially the right-wingers, who’ve been spitting venom about Ahmadinejad and decrying him as a maniac–some myths should be exposed about this man, myths propagated by a media that is anything but liberal.

Myth #1 of the not-so-liberal media: Ahmadinejad wants to “wipe Israel off the map.”
REVELATION: Ahmadinejad once said: “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the pages of time…” The Iranian president is talking about a regime change at a political conference. A regime change is hardly radical for to the American mind, particularly among conservatives, who’ve made it their mission to dissolve any “regime” they deem unfit for American economic interests. And so, in our arrogance and despite the evidence out there of what he actually said, we continue to believe the lie that “Isael should be wiped off the map.” Is this in the interest of a liberal media? No. It is in the interest of right-wing conservatives who want to continue driving the war machine.
Here is a play-by-play rundown if you really want to further scrutinize the quote.

Myth #1, Part 2 of the not-so-liberal media: Ahmadinejad wants to at least attack Israel.
REVELATION: Ahmadinejad once said, “I think that the Israeli government is a fabricated government and I have talked about the solution. The solution is democracy. We have said allow Palestinian people to participate in a free and fair referendum to express their views. What we are saying only serves the cause of durable peace. We want durable peace in that part of the world. A durable peace will only come about with once the views of the people are met.”

Republicans have said, ‘oh, well how can he talk about democracy when Iran is really a theocracy?!’ This is also used to justify the assertion that Iranians must be freed from their government. But in fact, Iran elected Ahmadenijad in a general election. And then Republicans will counter that by saying, ‘oh, but what about their Supreme Leader! he’s the one running the country!’ But in fact the citizens of Iran WANTED this type of leadership. In 1979 they demonstrated in the streets of Tehran by the millions and overthrew an opressive Iranian monarchy that had been set up by the U.S. government*.

Myth #2 of the not-so-liberal media: Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust denier.
Skepticism about the Holocaust narrative has started to take hold in the Middle East not because people hate Jews but because that narrative is deployed to argue that Israel has a right to “defend itself” by attacking every country in its vicinity. Middle East publics are so used to western canards legitimizing colonial or imperial takeovers that some wonder if the six-million-dead argument is just another myth or exaggerated tale. It is dismal that Mr. Ahmadinejad seems to belong to this ill-educated sector, but he has never been known for his higher education.

Still, Mr. Ahmadinejad did not say what the US Subcommittee on Intelligence Policy reported that he said: “They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets.” He actually said, “In the name of the Holocaust they have created a myth and regard it to be worthier than God, religion and the prophets.” This language targets the myth of the Holocaust, not the Holocaust itself – i.e., “myth” as “mystique”, or what has been done with the Holocaust. Other writers, including important Jewish theologians, have criticized the “cult” or “ghost” of the Holocaust without denying that it happened. In any case, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s main message has been that, if the Holocaust happened as Europe says it did, then Europe, and not the Muslim world, is responsible for it. (taken from this article on the World News Daily website.

This little bit of counter-journalism exposes the some of these myths along with a perfect illustration of how the so-called “liberal media” is in fact working fully to the benefit of conservatives wanting to sink their teeth into Iranian soil, er, oil.

*Next week: America’s involvement in the 1953 overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian president in favor of a monarch…

Ahmadinejad: a Real Terror Threat or Invention of a (not-so-liberal) Media?

9 thoughts on “Ahmadinejad: a Real Terror Threat or Invention of a (not-so-liberal) Media?

  • Yet again we’re obsessed with “Conservative Right-Wingism” instead of the real issues at hand, but I’ll humor you.

    I’ll grant you myth#1. Honestly, I don’t trust anyone’s translation of Farsi or Arabic, and it is very possible that he just meant regime change. I’m not sure what regime he proposes to put in its place, but I won’t make any suppositions there. However, he said these words (however they’re supposed to translate) at a conference titled: “The World without Zionism”. Since Zionism is by its definition the creation and reality of a Jewish state (i.e. Israel), it’s not hard to overstep meanings of “regime change” by someone at this conference. Did you know, also, that all the official translations from President Ahmadinejad’s office and his foreign minister’s office show it as “wiping Israel away”? Is it possible that people with their own idealogical agenda have simply latched on to an alternative translation?

    On Myth#2, it’s just not relevant. Are you saying they wouldn’t if they couldn’t? If I was President of Iran in its current situation, I would probably want to attack Israel.

    And Iran IS a theocracy. Right or wrong; that’s what it is. Quality of life for women, minorities, etc. went WAY down after we bailed on the Shah. The Shah was no Boy Scout, but the country was being heavily pushed by the U.S. in the direction of a constitutional monarchy. This may hurt your eyes, but Kissinger sort of knew what he was doing there. I’ll wait for your “Evil U.S. meddling in others’ affairs” post next week to comment any further on that.

    On Myth#3, Ahmadinejad IS a holocaust denier. He set up a conference last year inviting people from all over the world to “discuss” the myths and realities of the Holocaust. Guess who represented the U.S? David Duke. Noone at this conference WASN’T a Holocaust denier. “Lack of education” (?!?) is no excuse for a sitting president to deny the realities of the Holocaust. If you want to make the argument that the EVIL NEOCONS and their ZIONIST friends USE the Holocaust to further their political agendas, you can easily make that argument. That doesn’t change whether someone is a Holocaust denier or not. M.A. is indeed just that…educated or not (and by the way, he apparently has a PhD in Transportation Engineering–lack of education is not an excuse I would use for him).

    The real point is, though:

    Actions speak louder than words and dissecting translations of a brutal dictator is a complete waste of time. Amnesty International and Human Rights watch give Iran VERY low marks when it comes to human rights abuses in Iran. And these marks have gotten worse since M.A. became president. He indeed does actually fight against the ultra-conservatives in Iran on Hijab, etc., but his regime is a brutal one, and defending him for the purpose of castigating U.S. foreign policy (which we are all free to castigate) is simply a complete waste of time.

  • Now we’re daring? LOL. I normally only take Triple Dog Dares, but felt I would make an exception here.

    I think Scott Ritter is guilty here of the “scare tactics” that our Government is constantly accused of, but in this case, he’s right.

    That’s why I’ve never said, once, that we had a “right” to go to war with Iran, nor did I infer it would even be a remotely good idea. However, the entire “civilized” world including the UNGA legitimately believes that allowing Iran to have nuclear weapons is a bad idea. The leadership of Iran…both the secular President and the theocratic mullahs, are internationally recognized as sponsors of terrorism.

    Now, more to the point at hand:

    Just because it would not be a good idea right now to get into a full-fledged war with Iran does not mean that we all have to welcome him with open arms at our universities and defend him. People have a right to protest against this guy being embraced in New York City while his weapons are supplying an insurgency in Iraq (regardless of legitimacy of war in Iraq).

    This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. Basically you post a three-pronged defense of a ruthless dictator that is so obviously an enemy of the U.S. just because some “Evil Conservatives” had a problem with said ruthless dictator hanging out in New York speaking at our Universities and castigating the US at the USGA.

    When I point out how ridiculous this is, you post an article of Scott Ritter telling us that if we attack Iran, they will DEFINITELY nuke one of our cities.

    Why in the name of all that is holy is it necessary to defend this unholy chump for the purpose of criticizing U.S. foreign policy?

    You will get no argument from me that there are serious flaws with our foreign policy and most importantly with how we are perceived in the world. But laying out the red carpet and fighting to defend the integrity of the RESULTS of our EVIL meddling is both counterintuitive and counterproductive.

    In other words it is much more productive to simply demonize the U.S. if you so desire, without feeling obligated to lionize and sanctify thugs like M.A.

    Is Kim Jong Il next? I don’t think anyone would argue that going to war with North Korea would be DECIDEDLY impractical. Does that mean that Kim Jong Il is really not that bad of a guy?

    I think you see my point, but if you want me to keep beating this dead horse, I will…

  • Why should anyone enter into discourse on this website when you continue to state opinions and make claims without backing any of them up with factual data? (“sponsors of terrorism,” “ruthless dictator,” “his weapons are supplying an insurgency in Iraq…”)

    The main point of your remarks is to criticize this author for being critical. Typical response from the Right! How dare anyone criticize Uncle Sam! Especially a “ferner”!

    To restate the point of the original posting: misunderstanding/misconstruement of Ahmadinejad’s statements leads to anti-Iranian fervor, increasing tension between our goverment and theirs, and an eventual escalating inevitable military conflict. The war in Iraq was the result of a witch hunt. The same sort of thing is happening now with Iran. It is not a waste of time to attempt to prevent DISASTER, to expose fact from fiction and to attempt to address problems with answers instead of bombs.

  • I recently found an excellent blog post which I think could serve as an antidote to the utter hysteria surrounding the Ahmadinejad visit. It describes how the red carpet was once rolled out for another certain someone who was the leader of a country which, um, wasn’t all that friendly to the United States either. Read it and ponder.

    What it reveals, at least to me, is that we once had a foreign policy based on some modicum of reason and rationality. I stress modicum — many aspects of U.S. foreign policy following the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt haven’t been that swell. But at the very rock bottom least, once upon a time, we had (A) a sense of our own limitations in the world and (B) a realization that the conduct of foreign policy is not based on a division of the world into “good guys” with whom we have relations and “bad guys” who we sanction, target, and threaten. That is to say, once upon a glorious time there was nothing odd about talking with one’s “enemies” (be they real or imagined). Let us contrast this with U.S. foreign policy of today, which is often defined by certain elements of the elite as the process by which we tell those damn foreigners what to do. It has also not been lost on certain segments that foreign policy can be usefully employed as one of the modern equivalents of bread and circuses. That is to say, fodder and red meat to whip up the masses (“THE AY-RABS ARE COMING TO KILL US ALL!!” — it is sad to see parts of the policy, educational, and media elite indulging the last acceptable racism in this country).

    It is equally sad and frustrating to me when people insist upon dividing up the world in the way in which I described previously. Personally, I find the regimes, policies and/or leaders of a host of countries utterly despicable and unworthy of many avenues of U.S. support. But that doesn’t mean I would refuse to accord the leaders of these countries the proper and expected diplomatic niceties when they visit the United States. That doesn’t mean that I would believe it acceptable, if I were a high-level U.S. official or a public figure of any sort, to launch continuous, hysterical public bromides against them. Nor does it mean that I would refuse to negotiate with them over issues of common concern. That’s diplomacy. Get used to it.

    To bring this to a close, I echo Rothell’s comments that the point of his original post was not to “defend” Ahmadinejad or try to convince people that he is a “good guy.” (whatever that is). But rather to attempt to deconstruct and call into question some of the hysterical accusations launched against him. Personally, I find it utterly, utterly, utterly irrelevant if the accusations are in fact accurate. I fail to see how that changes the proper conduct of U.S. foreign policy towards Iran. But the run-up to the war in Iraq and other recent disastrous policies with respect to the Middle East and the Muslim world demonstrates the power that overheated rhetoric and wild charges, repeated over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again through the now never-ceasing media cycle brainwashes both the policy elite and the American public overall. Therefore, an effective and needed tactic is to attempt to point out the holes and inconsistencies in the charges which are designed for a “whip-up” effect in the hope that this attenuates some of their power. That was the point of Rothell’s post in my mind.

  • I agree with Rothell that Iraq was a witch hunt and that it’s a noble aim to do whatever one can to prevent more of the same. Although I didn’t agree with all of his original post, I thought it was in the spirit that he later explained it to be.

    Regarding WDP’s comments, Ahmadinejad can’t be supplying an insurgency in Iraq, since an insurgency would require a functioning government. Iraq has no such thing. It would be more accurate to say he’s taking sides in a civil war. However, the extent of Iran’s involvement is very much debatable.

    I’ll agree with WDP that an Iran with nuclear weapons is bad news. However, I would rather have a nuclear Iran than another US invasion (as such an invasion would break our military, break our bank, and do irreparable harm to our relationship with many of our allies not named Israel). Like all policy, foreign policy is cost/benefit, and the cost of this effort is more than we can afford. I know that no one on this site supports such an invasion, but I think this is the way that the Right may frame the debate at some point in the future and wanted to go ahead and preempt it…no pun intended, of course 🙂

  • WDPorter is wrong :

    A delegation of True Torah Jews AKA Neturei Karta also attended the Holocaust conference. They do not deny the Holocaust, just as Ahmadinejad never denied it happened.

    Rothell’s background on the issue at hand is all correct. The Farsi translation was provided by Juan Cole whose academic credentials are impeccable.

    The spirit of the Khoemeini quote was more like ‘as the Communist regime (USSR) faded into history, so too will the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv fade into history’

    Ahmadinejad did not say it originally, Khomeini did. Ahamdinejad quoted the revolutionary leader.

    But if this statement is an assertion that Iran plans to wipe Israel off the map, then Americans are tools, plain and simple, for allowing the well-designed propaganda to work on them.

    But Rothell, a word of warning, all this stuff has been said on this site before about Iran, and it did not make a dent, regardless of how sound the arguments are. Don’t waste too much of your time on this issue. You are going to get all excited and the responses will drain the very energy from your being.

    When WDPorter says “i’ll humor you” which he does quite a bit, it means i really think you are full of it, but i’ll be good enough to respond to your lowly comments … LOL

    So let them discuss the “real” issues at hand, although I could not think of any issue more important right now than heading off the current Neocon led push for another war for false and falsified reasons.

  • Professor!…thanks for stopping by. No need to warn Mr. Rothell. He’s aware how insanely rational I am.

    As far as the “WDPorter is wrong…” comments:

    I have already acknowledged that I don’t trust hardly anyone’s translations of Farsi OR Arabic, so it it was mistranslated, it was mistranslated, but it is also possible that what he meant was exactly what has been translated. This point was conceded in the first SENTENCE of my original response. My point about the translation was that they didn’t feel the urgency to deny the implications until much later, when the implications became slightly unpopular.

    The Neturei Karta is an anti-Zionist group, and in my eyes any credibility they add to the “educational conference” in question is minimal. There was an American representative as well…

    As usual everyone is missing everyone’s point:

    * Rothell’s original point was that Right Wing Nutjobs are using Ahmadinejad’s comments to drum up war against Iran.

    That’s entirely possible, and maybe even likely.

    * The Holocaust Deniers’ point is PROBABLY (unless they’re just bloody stupid) that the right-wing-IsraelLobby-controlled media is USING the Holocaust to drum up war against Arabs and Persians, and Muslims in general.

    Probably, but why? Because they just hate Arabs and Persians and Muslims? Or because they legitimately believe that the survival of the State of Israel is at stake. The Neturei Karta has every right to go hang out at a conference with a blatant Holocaust Anti-Zionist propoganda machine, but Jews who so support Zionism don’t have the right to push their agenda?

    What’s your argument? That the Holocaust deniers’ conference has more credibility because SOMEONE there doesn’t deny the Holocaust, but STILL believes that Israel does not have a right to a state…

    BUT those that push the nefarious agenda that there indeed WAS a Holocaust and it really doesn’t take a conference to confirm or deny it and that Israel DOES have a right to its own State…those guys are just evil and twisted?

    Or is it that the latter argument just makes a little more sense, thus more people believe it…including the EVIL American right-wing-IsraelLobby-controlled press…

    * MY point is that it doesn’t matter what Ahmadinejad said, or that he’s a PhD that pushes a Holocaust-denier agenda and believes that Israel does not have a right to exist and holds little workshops on why he’s right.

    * What DOES matter is that he is and the state in which he Presides over is a supporter of terrorist groups with both anti-Israeli and anti-American agendas.

    * What does matter is he also is responsible for making a theocratic totalitarian regime notorious for human rights violations EVEN WORSE.

    * What does matter is that when a ruthless asshole dictator comes to an American University (please recall the timing of Rothell’s post) and starts trying to wax philosphical, it is the right-wing-IsraelLobby-controlled media’s right to bitch, whine and complain. And it is also the evil NEOCONs god-given right to point out the obvious: This guy is uncool and he shouldn’t have nuclear weapons–ever. And he probably shouldn’t be welcomed with open arms into American Universities to wax philosophical.


    If everyone’s point here is that there is drumming up for war in Iran, then you’re right, and it is unfortunate, and I don’t agree with it.

    That is a point that can be easily made without defending the sanity, virtue, or purity of an absolute THUG like Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. I’ll repeat the first paragraph of the post just to illustrate:

    “As Americans work themselves into another tizzy over Iran’s president setting foot on U.S. soil–especially the right-wingers, who’ve been spitting venom about Ahmadinejad and decrying him as a maniac–some myths should be exposed about this man, myths propagated by a media that is anything but liberal.”

    If that wasn’t the intent, fine. But it is what came out on the page, and that’s all I have to go by.

    Come see us anytime, Professor.

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