Op-Ed: Lieberman Tells Me Iran is Like Hitler
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel.
Last week I had a forty minute interview with Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
We talked about various issues, including his "land for land" proposal for the Palestinians ("We should give them Um el Fahm and annex the settlements"), the tragedy of the peace process ("Oslo has failed and since Gaza's withdrawal we got 14.000 rockets"), his home in the Judean settlement of Nokdim ("I am happy with my choice"), the strategic importance of Samarian high ground ("We did many simulations of a potential withdrawal and the results say that we will have another Gaza") and his youth in Soviet Union ("my father was exiled in Siberia and I became Israel's foreign minister, a proof that the only limit of the open societies is the sky").
But most important of all, we discussed the Iranian nuclear race. Lieberman compared the ayatollahs' anti-Semitism to the Nazis: " Why tis it that the Western world still accepts Teheran?", he aks during the interview. The reference is to a speech delivered a few days earlier by Iran’s Vice President, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, who at a United Nations conference told stories of gynecologists’ killing black babies on the orders of the Zionists.
Lieberman rightly said that the Iranian ayatollahs are not "madmen", but "fanatics" with a very clear agenda: "Israel's destruction".
He also said that it would be very easy to dismiss Iran's rant as anti-Semitic madness, except for the fact that these kind of blood libels are now mainstream in the entire Islamic world.
Furthemore, the Arab-Israeli conflict made anti-Semitism also socially acceptable in Europe,- and the Muslim cospirarcy mentality rings a genocidal tone (remember: Rwandan Hutus seriously thought that the Tutsis were planning to kill them, so they had to pre-empt this threat and we all know what happened to the Tutsis).
The Muslim obsession with plots resembles that of Josef Stalin, who accused the Jewish doctors of plotting to poison the Soviet leader. The doctors' show trial was meant to cleanse the Soviet Union of "foreign," "cosmopolitan," and "Zionist" (read Jewish) threats.
European anti-Semitism had long manifested,itself as one of the more bizarre subtypes of Jew-hatred, and the fear of Jewish doctors was typified by a rule from the Catholic Council of Valladolid in 1322, asserting that Jewish physicians "under guise of medicine, surgery, or apothecary arts commit treachery with much ardor and kill Christian folk when administering medicine to them." The Hellenistic writer Origen (185-254 AD) set the tone beforehand when he said that the Jews had formed a "conspiracy against the Saviour of the human race".
Adolf Hitler too believed that there was a Jewish plot to destroy Europe.
Today the Arab street is infested by hundreds of anti-Jewish plots. It’s impossible to list them all.
The latest is Yasser Arafat's assassination by the Israelis, exhumed along with rumors of how the villain met his death..
There is the twisted lie accusing Israel of distributing drug-laced chewing gum and candy with the aim of killing children and sexually corrupting Arab women.
There is the lingerie soaked with invisible ink for coded Jewish messages.
Last year post-Mubarak Egypt scapeagoated Israel for the E.Coli-infected farm exports that killed 48 Germans.
The Arabs claim that powerful hormones are part of a Jewish plot to undermine Muslim piety and ensure Israel’s domination over the Middle East. Other chemicals are used to turn the Arab daughters into nymphomaniacs and drive them into prostitution.
Another favorite blood libel is that the Israelis are poisoning Arab water supplies. The rumors caused instances of hysteria, with dozens of Palestinian schoolgirls having to be hospitalized after fainting.
Does anyone remember the PLO stating that “the Israelis and the Germans killed the Israeli athletes in Munich to make the Arabs look bad”, or that it was Mrs. Klinghoffer who killed Leon Klinghoffer on the Achilles Lauro and tossed his disabled body and his wheelchair into the sea to make the PLO look bad?
The plot mentality has created an atmosphere in which Jews are represented as pigs and monkeys, as liars and connivers, as vile, hook-nosed scum who infect children with AIDS. Jews are subtly scapegoated, depicted as fomenting and benefiting from internal conflict in the Arab world.
The best of all the Arab hallucinations is a story published the British-based Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat, which accused Zionists of trying to manipulate Franz Kafka. The Saudi paper devoted its entire cultural supplement to Kafka, charging that a "literary conspiracy" was trying to conceal Kafka's anti-Zionist sentiments, trying to make him into a supporter of the Jewish State.
One of the modern roots of this Nazi way of thinking is the late Ayatollah Khomeini’s war against the Jews. The founder of Iran’s Islamic Republic recalled that the Persian King Cyrus had liberated the Jews from their Babylonian captivity in the sixth century B.C. as someone “preventing the natural disappearance of elements who would never be satisfied with anything less than world domination”.
According to Khomeini, the Jews plot to destroy Islam. “From the very beginning, the historical movement of Islam has had to contend with the Jews, for it was they who first established anti-Islamic propaganda. . . . They are wretched people who wish to establish Jewish domination throughout the world”.
Today a virulent anti-Semitism is being fueled by Muslim apocalyptic literature, Shia and Sunni alike. Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel in an area historically Arab, represent a challenge to Islamic fanatic eschatology. No previously Muslim country should ever be able to become non-Muslim. The plots, produced on a daily basis, easily present the conflict between the Palestinian David and the Jewish Goliath, between military occupation and just resistance, between evil Jews bent on world domination and the innocent Arab victims of countless Jewish conspiracies.
That's why, as Lieberman said to me, the "civilized world" should take very seriously the avalanche of fables, lies and plots that the Islamic world today produces against the Jews"
He has a point. After all, it was words, not machines, that produced Auschwitz.