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.
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
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
Oops, sorry, he doesn’t hate Jews. He hates Zionists.
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.”
helpfully noted, “More than 25,000 Jews live in Iran, and they are recognized as
a religious minority, with a representative in Parliament.”
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
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
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
Then, of course, 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.
course Iran cannot be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons. They are religious
fanatics who rule under a deranged banner of messianic genocide.
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
to the BBC to the European media, Jew-hatred is the most
under-reported – and arguably most important story – of our times.
issue unites the Muslim world more than venomous, murderous hatred of
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
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
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
AND IF Rahimi’s hatred had been directed against any other
people, race, creed, state or color, no one would support cooperation with
No one would support the Palestinian national movement if
its inherent, overwhelming hatred was directed, say, against the black state
rather than the Jewish state.
Demonizing and delegitimizing Israel is the
core goal of the Palestinian national movement.
To this end the
Palestinian Authority’s Information Ministry published a style guide to instruct
Palestinians what terms they should use to avoid legitimizing
According to Palestinian Media Watch’s report about the style
guide, language must be chosen that will avoid presenting Israel’s existence as
“natural.” As the book’s introduction explains, using Israeli terminology “turns
the essence of the Zionist endeavor (i.e., Israeli statehood) from a racist,
colonialist endeavor into an endeavor of self-definition and independence for
the Jewish People.”
Among its other guidelines, the PA’s style guide
tells Palestinians to replace the term “Star of David,” with “six-pointed star.”
And this makes sense. The term “Star of David” exposes the Jews’ national rights
to the Land of Israel. After all, this is the land of the Jewish King David who
founded the Jewish capital of Jerusalem three thousand years ago.
central goal of Palestinian propaganda, and advanced by all relevant sectors of
Palestinian society, is to rewrite history and erase the Jews from the history
of the Land of Israel.
And rather than call them on this intellectual
crime of literally biblical proportions, the Western media collaborates with
them. For instance, on Tuesday, the New York Times published an article about
the efforts of the Palestinians from Battir, an Arab village southwest of
Jerusalem, to have their ancient terraced irrigation system recognized as a
UNESCO World Heritage Site. They claim the designation is necessary and urgent
because if they don’t get it, Israel may build a portion of the security barrier
through the village and harm the irrigation system.
Isabel Kershner, the
Times’ reporter, referred to the irrigation system as “a Roman-era irrigation
But as the bloggers Yisrael Medad and Elli Fischer pointed out,
it is a Jewish irrigation system from the Second Temple period. And while Battir
is a reasonable candidate for World Heritage Site status, it is first and
foremost a Jewish heritage site. Battir is the Arab name for the ancient Jewish
village Betar, the site of Bar- Kochba’s last stand against the Roman
It is the last place where Jews were sovereign until the
establishment of the State of Israel.
But Kershner didn’t mention any of
Doing so would lead to too many inconvenient truths – about the
nature of Palestinian nationalism, about UNESCO, about Jewish rights to the
land. So the historical significance of Battir was left unreported, and the
nature of the irrigation system was reported incorrectly.
On the face of
it, it can be argued that the Western media’s willful blindness towards Islamic
Jew-hatred and its influence on world affairs are part and parcel of the Western
elite’s collective refusal to recognize and contend with the implications of the
But this is too forgiving.
Policy-makers who ignore
Islamic Jew-hatred are doing so because they are trying to sell their policies.
What’s the New York Times’ excuse? The media are supposed to report facts, not
shape perceptions. The facts, not the perceptions are supposed to inform
That is, they are not supposed to collaborate with policy-makers,
they are supposed to inform policy-makers and the general public.
this leads us back to the well-meaning commentators who seized on Erdbrink’s
report about how Iran’s vice president believes that Jews – sorry Zionists – are
monsters, and used it as proof that Iran cannot be permitted to get the bomb.
Yes, of course, they are right that it is worth re-quoting his vile remarks to
make the point. But by quoting the Times, they may be scoring a couple of
tactical points today, but they are losing a long-term strategic battle. They
are giving respectability to a media organ that is consummately unworthy of our
respect. They are giving respectability to a news organ with an institutional
policy of denying, underreporting, and misleadingly reporting about the most
important issue that shapes events in the Middle East today: Islamic hatred of