October 27, 2005

Iran's wishful thinking or premature cartography?

There's almost worldwide apoplexy about a throwaway line by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Israel should be "wiped off the map." Now I can't see anything terribly wrong here. There are many people who believe that Israel has no right to exist. Let's break it down, shall we? Israel exists on the basis of colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and segregationist laws. The UN has ruled, in General Assembly Resolution 194, year on year since the zionist movement carried out its ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinians, that the Palestinians have the right to return to their homes and that Israel should allow this. Now if Israel was forced to comply with this humanitarian demand then there would be a non-Jewish majority. If that were the case, they might not want to call the state "Israel". They might prefer to call it Palestine. If that was to happen then cartographers will want to "wipe Israel from the map" and replace it with Palestine.

I heard on Channel 4 News that Ahmadinejad made a reference to the resistance of the Palestinians leading to this wiping Israel from the map but I have seen nothing to indicate that Iran intends to do anything to further what has been described as a mere "wish" of the President:
"Iran's policy toward Israel will remain unchanged. We do not want more confrontation with the West," a senior government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during the conference "The World without Zionism" in Tehran October 26, 2005. Ahmadinejad's call for Israel to be "wiped off the map" does not signal the start of a more aggressive stance toward Israel by Tehran, officials and analysts said on Thursday. (REUTERS/Isna)
"What Ahmadinejad said is his wish, but it does not mean Iran will take practical steps to destroy Israel."
This is highly significant. Consider the fact that Israel exists because it wiped most Palestinians from Palestine and it wiped Palestine from the map. Look for this context in any of our own media on this. And yet what a President of a Muslim country has said is held to carry more weight than what Israel has actually done. Look at the BBC's coverage. Check out the Russian foreign minister:
"Those who insist on transferring the Iranian nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council have received an additional argument for doing so," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a trip to Jordan.

"What I saw on television was unacceptable," added the minister, whose country has been supplying civilian nuclear know-how to Iran, and he promised Moscow would bring its concern to Iran's attention.
This from a minister from the former Soviet Union. Surely cartographers have wiped the Soviet Union from the map. Was it a big deal? The best part of all this was the BBC's report of the war criminal Shimon Peres's statement:
Israeli Vice-Prime Minister Shimon Peres said the remark contravened the UN's charter and was "tantamount to a crime against humanity".
And this from the butcher of Qana.

The blanket coverage of this and the mobilisation of governments to condemn Iran is worrying though. Iran is being threatened by the US and pressured by the EU. Ahmadinejad certainly picked his time to be mouthing off empty rhetoric. But given that he simply restated a long held Iranian government conviction, why has this one liner got so much coverage?

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