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Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.
So it works out that Iran’s vice president really hates Jews. In fact, he hates Jews so much that even The New York Times reported it. On Tuesday, the Times published an account of Iranian Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi’s speech before a UN forum on fighting drug addiction in Tehran.
Rahimi claimed that Jews control the illegal drug trade. We sell drugs, he said, in order to fulfill what he said is a Talmudic writ to “destroy everyone who opposes the Jews.”
He said that our conspiracy is obvious since, he claimed, there are no Jewish drug addicts.
He went so far as to promise to pay anyone who can find a Jewish drug addict.
As he put it, “The Islamic Republic of Iran will pay for anybody who can research and find one single Zionist who is an addict. They do not exist. This is the proof of their involvement in drugs trade.”
Oops, sorry, he doesn’t hate Jews. He hates Zionists.
Some of his best friends are Jews.
At least that is what the Times would have us believe. As reporter Thomas Erdbrink put it, “‘Zionists’ is Iran’s ideological term for Jews who support the state of Israel.”
He also helpfully noted, “More than 25,000 Jews live in Iran, and they are recognized as a religious minority, with a representative in Parliament.”
Aside from that, just so we don’t get the wrong impression about the Iranian government, Erdbrink calmed us down by noting, therapeutically, “Several Iranian ministers gave politically neutral briefings on the impact of the drug trade on the country.”
So aside from the fact that its vice president is a frothing-at-the-mouth anti-Semite, the Iranian regime is perfectly respectable. Nothing to see here folks, move on.
Except, of course, that this is not the case.
Iran’s “Supreme Leader” routinely refers to Israel as a cancer. For instance, in a sermon before thousands of Muslim worshipers in February, Ali Khamenei said, “The Zionist regime is a cancerous tumor and it will be removed.”
Then there’s Rahimi’s direct boss, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who can’t ask what the weather is like without calling for the annihilation of the Jewish people.
But then he too usually calls us Jews “Zionists,” (which most of us are), so his calls for the genocide of Jewry is really just a political statement and not proof that what moves him when he wakes up in the morning and goes to bed at night is a passionate, obsessive desire to murder an entire people.
Many commentators seized on Erdbrink’s write-up of Rahimi’s diatribe as further proof that the civilized world cannot permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. And that is fair enough.
Of course Iran cannot be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons. They are religious fanatics who rule under a deranged banner of messianic genocide.
BUT THE real issue here is that these commentators felt it necessary to seize on the Times’ write-up of Rahimi’s speech to make this obvious point. That is, the real issue here isn’t the Iranians. The real issue is the Western media. From the New York Times to the BBC to the European media, Jew-hatred is the most under-reported – and arguably most important story – of our times.
No issue unites the Muslim world more than venomous, murderous hatred of Jews.
No single issue informs their foreign policies more than hatred of Jews. And yet, reporting – even biased, misleadingly understated reporting – of this massive, strategically pivotal phenomenon is almost nonexistent in most major media outlets. As a consequence, it is a major event when the Times finally publishes an anemic report about it. And again, even that report hides the real story.
Erdbrink ended his report by quoting an unnamed European diplomat who was in Rahimi’s audience at the conference. The diplomat told him that on the one hand, “This was definitely one of the worst speeches I have heard in my life. My gut reaction was: Why are we supporting any cooperation with these people?”
But, lest we reach any policy conclusions from Rahimi’s bigotry, the diplomat soothed, “If we do not support the United Nations on helping Iran fight drugs, voices like the one of Mr. Rahimi will be the only ones out there.”
What both Erdbrink and his European interlocutor failed to acknowledge is that Rahimi won’t be punished for his views. He was promoted because of his views. Helping Iran fight drugs doesn’t encourage non-genocidal Iranian politicians. It legitimizes the regime that promoted Rahimi and Ahmadinejad and Khamenei and every other powerful politician and military commander because of their hatred of Jews.
The Western media has two basic approaches to their non-reporting of Islamic Jew-hatred and its significance for international security. The first approach is to ignore the issue because it is ideologically inconvenient.
The New York Times, like every other major Western media outlet except The Wall Street Journal, is of the opinion that the Islamic world should be appeased. The Muslim Brotherhood and Iran should be accommodated.
If they gave Islamic Jew-hatred coverage commensurate with its actual significance, they would be undermining their ideological agenda. In light of their ubiquitous and vituperative obsession with Jewish people, it is obvious that it is impossible to appease the Muslim world.
The second approach to contending with Islamic Jew-hatred is to justify it by claiming that Israel has earned all the hate coming its way. It’s “political” they say. The Islamic demonization of Jews is understandable given the Palestinians and all that.
Obviously, both of these approaches to the story of Islamic Jew-hatred are appalling. The former approach involves a breach of the very concept of objective journalism. After all, the purpose of journalism is to report on the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.
And the latter approach is no less bigoted than the hatred it serves to whitewash. The European diplomat’s gut reaction to Rahimi’s speech, “Why are we supporting any cooperation with these people?” was entirely rational.
AND IF Rahimi’s hatred had been directed against any other people, race, creed, state or color, no one would support cooperation with “these people.”
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