Thus, to allow the threat of Israeli aggression or potential of renewed American diplomacy to muzzle him, President Ahmadinejad would have done a great disservice to himself, his government, the Iranian people, their Revolution and their Constitution.
The tone of much progressive criticism of Ahmadinejad’s speech seems to say, “He should’ve been more tactful… It’s unhelpful to say things so bluntly… He should be more understanding, more wishy-washy, less specific, more diplomatic.” Pardon me, but when did outrage over injustice have to be nicely stated? Ahmadinejad should be “nicer” when speaking out about the murderous policies of the US and Israel while Iran hasn’t threatened or attacked any other country in centuries? Why is it Ahmadinejad’s responsibility gently walk on eggshells when addressing a room full of historic and current colonialists, occupiers, militarists, and imperialists, who consistently attempt to degrade him by namecalling? This smacks more of Western Caucasian apologia than progressive tenderness and tact. If you’re not furious about what Israel is doing on a daily basis, then you’re not paying attention. Well, Ahmadinejad is paying attention and he doesn’t feel compelled to coddle the European (and American) imperialists who brought the world to this point, the same people who supported the repressive tyranny of the Shah’s dictatorship in Iran.
Are these critics truly suggesting that the Iranian guy in the room should practice deferential diplomacy with Western powers? Is he their butler? The elected president of a country whose democratic government was aggressively overthrown by a CIA coup at the bidding of Britain, an historically imperial and colonial country, should be sensitive to the delicate sensibilities of the Western governments that have demonized and ostracized that country for thirty years? Why should imperialists be handled with kid gloves? So that their delegates won’t storm out in a pre-planned huff like so many frustrated toddlers?
At the end of his critique, Weissman writes, “One final question: Should we join Ahmadinejad in calling the Israelis ‘racist perpetrators of genocide?’ I would not. The long-standing Israeli policy of seeking ‘more land and fewer Arabs’ is horrendous. But it is not genocide, at least not until Avigdor Lieberman has his way. And it is not essentially racial, but increasingly religious, denying people first-class citizenship because they do not share the dominant faith or identity. To me, that is every bit as pernicious as racism, whether in Israel or any number of Islamic countries.”
When it was founded in 1948, the United Nations defined genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
Is this really such an outlandish description of what Palestinians have been subjected to for the past hundred years and what continues to befall them on a daily basis? Thoughts of cancer patients denied travel permits and mothers forced to go into labor at West Bank checkpoints, as well as the hundreds upon hundreds of slaughtered innocents in Gaza just four months ago, prove the point quite easily.
Also, is the “Islamic racism,” mentioned by Weissman, intended to implicate Iran? If so, he should elaborate. Even Ayatollah Khomeini, whom progressives still love to demonize as an extremist and a zealot, always made a strong distinction between Judaism and Zionism. When Khomeini returned from exile in 1979, he met with representatives of Jewish communities and issued a religious decree, ensuring the safety and protection of Jews in Iran during and after the coming Revolution.
President Ahmadinejad’s speech at Durban II doesn’t really need my defending. His words speak for themselves. However, when progressive commentators treat Ahmadinejad as a pariah, they wind up speaking for the very imperialists they’re supposed to be opposing.
There’s already plenty of propaganda out there. I think it’s time for a little truth.