While Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly toned down his usual anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric in his annual speech to the United Nations General Assembly, he did not hold back Tuesday evening when the Iranian government hosted what was described as a dinner for "leaders of Abrahamic religions."
Among those in attendance was the notorious anti-Semite and racist Louis Farrakhan, the 79-year-old leader of the Nation of Islam, the group which has recently escalated a campaign promoting a range of propaganda demonizing Jews and claiming they control Hollywood, the media and were responsible for the transatlantic slave trade.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said it was outraged that two leading purveyors of anti-Semitism had shared a platform in New York City, calling it "yet another example of the extreme views of the Iranian government toward Jews and Israel and their attempt to promote those hateful views before an American audience by consorting with like-minded bigots."
"The Iranian president may have held back in his speech to the United Nations, but when he was not speaking on the dais before world leaders Ahmadinejad once again gave voice to his virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiments," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "I'm sure the irony is lost on no one that the Iranian government felt it necessary to invite one of the foremost purveyors of anti-Semitism in the United States to have dinner with their president and foreign minister. Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime apparently will go to any extreme, even consorting with like-minded bigots, to endorse their warped worldview."
During his speech at the dinner at the Warwick Hotel, Ahmadinejad resumed calling the Jewish state "uncivilized" and a "fake government." He reportedly claimed that the world's popular opinion stands against Israel, and that, "If in every country today, and in America in particular, if they were to take a poll they would see that the majority of the people are opposed to the Zionist and would end support of the Zionist regime."
The Iranian leader also said he believes "Zionists" were behind the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" that sparked a wave of violence and anti-American protests across the Muslim and Arab world. Giving new life to an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory started after the film's Coptic Christian producer falsely claimed in interviews that he was Jewish, the Iranian leader suggested the film was "perpetrated to stimulate and create opportunities to save the Zionists."
Ahmadinejad previously met with Farrakhan as part of his 2010 visit to New York City, where he also met with members of the virulently anti-Semitic New Black Panther Party and well-known anti-Israel activists.