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First of all that is not completely true. He is on the record calling for the ethnic cleansing of Israel. Secondly there's the Holocaust denial stuff.
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 11:58:08 AM EST
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Where is he on record calling for ethnic cleansing ? I refer you to the fairly comprehensive wikipedia entry on the controversy.

I agree with Juan Cole's view that what he actually said was stupid and ignorant, but he didn't say what he is accused of. He said that the zionist regime (not israel) would vanish from history (ie die out). This is more or less what we discuss here in shergald's other diaries where the actions of the settler-state makes the two-state solution increasingly impossible, leaving a single state which will destroy zionism as an ideology. This is actually what the Ayatollah Khomenei used to say when he was an ally of Israel's. In context it makes sense, but has presented such a gift to Iran's enemies that it was monumentally stupid to repeat it. But it was not a threat.

However, Shimon Peres was making a threat when he responded that Iran too could be wiped off the map. This seems to remain in place despite that he was heavily criticised within Israel for saying this at hte time.

However, his holocaust denial is true and was a pathetic response to the furore created by the misinterpretation of the earlier comment. Again, it has just been a gift to Iran's enemies and attracted considerable criticism within Iran.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:05:59 PM EST
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Interview with Ahmadinejad

I'd call ethnically cleansing the place of its Jewish population rather more than just 'regime change'.

Secondly, you said there's no racism, Holocaust denial is racism.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:28:47 PM EST
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Holocaust denial is racism.

It is? Often motivated by racism, sure. But intrinsically racist?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:35:24 PM EST
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Yes, always racist. It can't be anything but by its very nature. Think about it for a second. A holocaust denier has to explain why basically every single historian accepts it, why there are a gazillion witness testimonies, why the Western countries treat it as very real.
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:41:22 PM EST
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Why "always racist" by "its very nature"?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:43:26 PM EST
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Again, think about the question I just asked, and you'll have your answer.
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:46:09 PM EST
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No I won't, unless I start with your desired answer.

The denier could claim it was a huge conspiracy by aliens. Why is that racist? Or the denier could be a gay neo-Nazi who was motivated by wanting to deny the Nazi state's mass murder of homosexuals.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:49:00 PM EST
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Well yes, if we're talking about someone who is genuinely schizophrenic or otherwise severely delusional in the clinical sense, that's true. So my apologies to all those holocaust deniers who are getting signals from aliens - now please get back on your meds.

As for the gay example - I'm speaking of the Jewish holocaust.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:52:46 PM EST
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I'm speaking of the Jewish holocaust.

Ah. I hadn't realised they were separate.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:54:41 PM EST
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by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:58:39 PM EST
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I didn't realise there was a gay one, a gypsy one, a jewish one and whatever. I thought they were all one event "the Holocaust".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:03:09 PM EST
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They actually had different scopes, different ideological bases, and different mechanics. The gypsy one has a fair amount of similarity to the Jewish one, though the ideological basis and centrality to the Nazi project are different. The gay one is just very different.
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:05:27 PM EST
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Needless to say, for a university professor now PM, Ahmadinejad, whose purpose was to deny Israel its raison de etre, actually in some ways stupidly did the opposite. He's apparently not a particular bright man when it comes to Middle East politics.

However, Israeli politicians have been making hay out of mistranslations of his statements, and nothing he said corresponds to ethnic cleansing or wiping Israel or its people off the map. The issue has always been Zionism and its effects, since 1948, on the Palestinian people, and the use of the Holocaust to justify it all. Hence, the even more inappropriate attempt at Holocaust denial. The Palestinians are in truth the only ethnically cleansed population in Israel-Palestine and now the much diminished Palestinian territories.

Ahmadinejad's foolishness is that he opened his mouth at a time when Iran is developing nuclear power and with it the belief that Iran wants to become the next nation with nuclear weapons. In so doing, he opened the door to incredible antiIranian propaganda, especially Israel's latest meme, the "right to exist," which replaced the "recognition" meme that preceded it, after the Arab League and everyone else gave that to Israel. "Right to exist" seem to be only the latest red herring for Israel to avoid peace initiatives and continue its military occupation and colonization of the Palestinian territories.

The fact that the Iranian government is supported by Iranian Jews who have been living in the Tehran region for over 3,000 years support the government would seem to say much about the absence of antiSemitism in Iran. Zionism is the issue, not Judiasm or Jewishness.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 01:55:52 PM EST
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The Palestinians are in truth the only ethnically cleansed population in Israel-Palestine and now the much diminished Palestinian territories.

Actually, like many of the Palestinians, many of the Israeli Jews are also descendants of folks who were ethnically cleansed, be it from Europe or the ME.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:00:39 PM EST
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I can't get up the references for it at this time, but there was no ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa after 1948, except in one country, either Iraq or Yemen, not certain. In contrast to the myth of a Jewish ethnic cleansing in response to the Palestinian ethnic cleansing is largely false. Jews from Arab countries largely emigrated voluntarily to Israel and were not forced out. There was an increase in antiSemitici incidents in some of these countries, but by and large, it was induced by incentives from Israel, and in some cases, through allegedly antiSemitic incidents propagated by Israeli agents. This emigration lasted from 1948 until about 1968.

In 1948, Israel had enthnically cleansed about two thirds of the Palestinian population, roughtly 800,000, but there were still about one third, or 400,000 Palestinians living within the confines of the newly born state of Israel. At that time there were only roughly 550,000 Jews in Israel. It created the first demographic threat to Israel's being a Jewish majority state. Increasing the Jewish population was first line business, and it did so by encouraging Jews from all over the world to emigrate, including of course Jews in Arab majority countries.

The myth of the Jewish Nakba or ethnic cleansing is just that, a myth, given the proviso that life became difficult in some countries. Forced emmigration was limited to one country as stated above, and may in fact occurred during or after the 1967 war.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:45:45 PM EST
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PS: No disagreement whatsoever with the European ethnic cleansings in Germany and other european countries in the 30s and then the Holocaust, but we were discussing ethnic cleansings in the Middle East, specifically.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:47:47 PM EST
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If you're going to argue there was no ethnic cleansing of the Arab Jews you're also going to have to reject the notion of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. The Arab Jews emigrated 'voluntarily' under an atmosphere of intensified discrimination and violence, mass arrests, confiscations of property, and alternating calls for expulsions with bans on emigration. There are exceptions, like Morocco, but even there dozens were killed in the late forties.
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:24:51 PM EST
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The Palestinian ethnic cleansing occurred over a period of about 3 months. It began with the adoption of Plan Dalet by Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv around March 15, 1948, two months before Independence. In the two month period before Independence, 250,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed forceably and through fear stemming from village massacres of which Deir Yassin is the best known, by the Haganah and the terrorist groups, the Irgun, Stern Gang, and others. The remaining Palestinians were ethnically cleansed after Independence.

The so-called Jewish "ethnic cleansing" from Arab countries, by contrast, would have had to occur over a period of 20 years, and if you include the period of the Iran revolution, it is 30 years. The events you said occurred did occur, but they were sporadic, occurred over a 20 year period, may have been in some cases induced by Israeli agents, and in only one country was there a government sponsored forced emigration (again, I don't recall the country). At the same time, Israel provided incentives to induce people to emigrate because it needed population.

I know that there is an effort to create a Jewish Nakba, an ethnic cleansing, in order to justify the Palestinian Nakba that occurred long before it, but I don't believe that most people would use the term ethnic cleansing to characterize the emigration of Jews from Arabic countries over two decades. It use of course is an attempt at tit-for-tat, which then justifies the Palestinian ethnic cleansing and a nonclaim by Palestinian refugees. In fact, it is quite evident to most that the Palestinian Nakba did increase antiSemitism in Arab countries, but there was always some around anyway.

And yes, there were attempts to stop Jewish Arabs from leaving for Israel for the very reason that Israel was inducing or encouraging their emigration. It was believed that the emigration was assisting in the further disenfranchisement of the Palestinians of their homes and land. No doubt that it was widely known that Israel then proceeded to attempt to erase the memory of the Palestinians by bulldozing most of the 470 villages emptied of their residents, into the ground, and just changing the names of the others that were then populated by Jewish emigrees. In many cases, Palestinian family homes were just appropriated. I have heard of complaints by Israeli Palestinians, citizens, who are not permitted to visit their villages, who know that their family home was taken over by new Israeli emigrants. Many of Israeli Palestinians, citizens, are actually internal refugees from their family villages. Jewish emigrees can take their homes, but they cannot even visit them.

There is no tit-for-tat

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:46:59 PM EST
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The emigration did take place over an extended period of time, but it was far from evenly spread. What you saw was a wave of violence accompanying the first Arab-Israeli war. At that point a great many wanted out, but many countries refused permission. Under international pressure, certain countries at certain times opened their borders at which point there was mass flight.

There were also those who first tried to stay, given that they saw themselves as Jewish Arabs and who had no interest in becoming Israelis, but later decided that it simply wasn't worth it, leading to second waves. There's also the understandable fact that faced with  pogroms and intense government anti-Jewish propaganda and discrimination just a short period after the Holocaust, most Jews weren't interested in gambling.

Sure the pattern wasn't the same as the Naqba, but that doesn't mean that it didn't happen. Nor does the Israeli government's use of the events in its propaganda change the reality of what happened. I personally happen to think that Palestinian refugees outside the 1967 borders should have no claims on Israel (or any other refugees in any other place after a couple decades). However, I'm not going to go running around claiming the Palestinians left voluntarily under Arab encouragement - a myth long propagated by pro-Israeli propaganda.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 04:06:20 PM EST
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And isn't this the point you are trying to make all along: that the Palestinian refugees, thrown out of Israeli in 1948, have no rights to their homes and lands?

I personally happen to think that Palestinian refugees outside the 1967 borders should have no claims on Israel (or any other refugees in any other place after a couple decades).

Well that is the very point of this propagandish notion of a Jewish Nakba that somehow mullifies the Palestinian right to their homes and lands. Israeli can just keep it all, in spite of the fact it was stolen by force. Over 10 thousand Palestinians died during the Nakba.

This kind of thinking requires that one comflate Palestinian and Arab, to see Palestinians as just Arabs who might be from anywhere in the Middle East, and that being so, they sinned when in Iraq or Yemen, a forced exodus was mandated, albeit not in all the other countries.

Sorry that kind of thinking doesn't fly very well because Palestinians are Palestinians and not Iraqis or Yemeni. It is part of western prejudice to see all Arabs alike. It just doesn't work.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 06:28:15 PM EST
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This has nothing to do with what happened in 1948, nor the nationality of the Palestinians, nor what happened to the Jews in the Middle East or in Europe, nor really anything else but when it happened. I also don't think the huge populations of 'refugees' in Poland or Germany, or Greece and Turkey or Pakistan and India have any rights.

The Naqba and the subsequent forced exodus of the Arab Jews are linked only in the sense that the latter was in part a retaliation for the first. They neither excuse nor compensate for one another. The only claim the Palestinians have on the Israelis with respect to the Naqba is in terms of historical memory and acknowledgement of that foundational crime.

There's a reason why ethnic cleansing is regarded as a form of genocide under the Genocide Convention, regardless of the amount of bloodshed that accompanies it: what it does is kill a society. If the individuals that made up that society aren't killed as well, it is potentially revivable for some time. But that point has long since passed. Another society now lives in that territorial space. Furthermore, the current Israeli society is no longer the same one that committed the ethnic cleansing (other crimes yes, but not that one).

So what we're talking about here is the descendants of perpetrators being punished, on the basis that that will somehow resurrect the long deceased. Forcing Israeli society to accept mass immigration of anyone against its will would be a crime in itself. I know it's a cliche, but two wrongs really don't make a right.

The current inhabitants of Israel have a right to their land, Palestinians in the occuppied territories have a right to theirs. Neither has any rights vis a vis anyone else as refugees because they are not. Nor is the land you're talking about 'their' land. Not any more.

Or do you really believe that Vilnius isn't legitimately Lithuanian because back in 1939 Wilno happened to be about 2% Lithuanian, or Wroclaw Polish because Breslau was some 99% German in 1944? How about Izmir/Smyrna and the rest of Greek Asia minor? What rights do the Turkish descendants of all those who fled the various independence and Balkan wars have? How far back do you want to go?

I can sympathize with the Palestinian feelings about this, they've been horribly fucked over. I can also sympathize with the extreme paranoia of the Israelis that is such an important factor in what they're currently doing to the Palestinians. But I want the Israelis out of the Territories and I don't want to force the Israelis to accept an influx of Palestinians into their own land.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 06:58:40 PM EST
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In the end it will not be what you or I want, but what the participants will agree to. Whatever is agreed upon will obviously have to include 5 million Palestinian refugees waiting in numerous UN camps around the Middle East. At the present time, however, it is evident from its actions that Israel does not want a two state solution, and continues on a trajectory of military occupation and colonization that is happening NOW.

That's why I'm here: to publicize an ongoing crime by the current government of Israel against the Palestinian people, which from all appearances is a continuation of the Zionist project implemented in 1948. The Israelis now control 42% of the West Bank. Some like Jimmy Carter say it is actually 58% but however much control is involved it is in the form of poured cement and a half million transplanted Israelis. Ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians continues every day.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 09:51:44 PM EST
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So, effectively, ethnic cleansing is rewarded as long as a country has the military and political might to delay a just and equitable resolution for a few decades, or until the cleansed die off, so that their descendants have less of a hold over the losses.

I would agree that this is the reality.

But... I would also say that international law bans "settling" for precisely these reasons.

by Upstate NY on Fri Sep 5th, 2008 at 09:58:47 AM EST
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The fact that the Iranian government is supported by Iranian Jews who have been living in the Tehran region for over 3,000 years support the government would seem to say much about the absence of antiSemitism in Iran. Zionism is the issue, not Judiasm or Jewishness.

First of all the majority of the Iranian Jewish population fled. Secondly, what else can they say? It's not like expressing pro-Zionist sentiment or attacking the Iranian state ideology is legal in Iran.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:08:48 PM EST
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I may question your term "fled" without an authoritative reference, but there are today about 25,000 Iranian Jews living in and around Tehran. They are not interested in emigrating to Israel, or so I understand from the words of one of their leaders. Jews have been living in Persia-Iran since 1,000 BC, I understand.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 02:52:28 PM EST
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Fled in the aftermath of the revolution. As for the spokesperson, again what else can they say? Though those that stayed are clearly a self selected population. Nor does a minority population indicate lack of discrimination - are you really going to say that Israeli Arabs aren't discriminated against?
by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:08:52 PM EST
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But Khomeni was very supportive and tolerant of Jewish Iranians, so while what you say is apparently true, I don't understand the origin or motivation behind that emigration. From 1948 to 1969 then, one cannot find a source for what you would call an ethnic cleansing as none apparently occurred. Also remember that there are at least 22 Arab countries in the wider Middle East. Iran, of course, is 55% Persian with most of the remaining population, Arab.

Do you have any unbiased sources/links that might enlighten on your point?

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:26:00 PM EST
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Wiki Iraq Jews

Wiki Egypt Jews

But I'm not going to do your homework for you. If you honestly don't know anything about the situation that Jews in various Arab countries faced from the late forties on, then perhaps you should avoid commenting on it. Nor do I think that there is anything that could be called an unbiased source on this or related subjects.

As for why Iranian Jews emigrated following the revolution: In addition to the reasons that led a great many Muslim Iranians, particularly urban educated ones to emigrate, there were also specific ones - e.g. the death penalty for the expression of sympathy for Zionism or Israel, de jure second class citizen status, and severe penalties for contacts with Israel. Add in the existence of a decent option in terms of emigration, and of course they left.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:52:28 PM EST
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I'm not going to do your homework for you.

Sorry but it has been a couple of years I went through that material. However, if you are going to quote WIKIPEDIA, I suggest to you that you find other sources of evidence, valid ones, supporting this "Jewish Nakba," the concept of which is just what I said it was.

I suggest that you go over to Muzzlewatch, a subsidiary of Jewish Voice for Peace (I could also refer you to the Electronic Intifada for similar information) about CAMERA, an Israeli propaganda org, that attempted to change WIKIPEDIA history about the IP conflict and all else associated with it, but was caught in the act. Perhaps WIKIPEDIA is why you hold the views you do.

However, I don't really want to go on with this in this diary, which is about racism in Israel and the Palestinian territories today.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 04:06:35 PM EST
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I think that's rather stretching things. He didn't call for "ethnic cleansing" - he was making a rhetorical point about the injustice of 'repaying' Jews for the Holocaust at the expense of Palestinians, as opposed to Europeans.

He wasn't actually threatening to do anything about it. That's the key point. Just like how he often expresses the prediction or the wish that the 'Zionist regime' will fall, but, hostile as that statement undoubtedly is, it's clearly not a threat of regime change.

The Heathlander

by heathlander on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 at 04:59:16 AM EST
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