Fidel to Ahmadinejad: ‘Stop Slandering the Jews’

"He criticized Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust and explained why the Iranian government would better serve the cause of peace by acknowledging the "unique" history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence."

Jeffrey Goldberg reports his conversation with Castro:

…Castro’s message to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, was not so abstract, however. Over the course of this first, five-hour discussion, Castro repeatedly returned to his excoriation of anti-Semitism. He criticized Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust and explained why the Iranian government would better serve the cause of peace by acknowledging the “unique” history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence.

He began this discussion by describing his own, first encounters with anti-Semitism, as a small boy. “I remember when I was a boy – a long time ago – when I was five or six years old and I lived in the countryside,” he said, “and I remember Good Friday. What was the atmosphere a child breathed? `Be quiet, God is dead.’ God died every year between Thursday and Saturday of Holy Week, and it made a profound impression on everyone. What happened? They would say, `The Jews killed God.’ They blamed the Jews for killing God! Do you realize this?”

He went on, “Well, I didn’t know what a Jew was. I knew of a bird that was a called a ‘Jew,’ and so for me the Jews were those birds.  These birds had big noses. I don’t even know why they were called that. That’s what I remember. This is how ignorant the entire population was.”

He said the Iranian government should understand the consequences of theological anti-Semitism. “This went on for maybe two thousand years,” he said. “I don’t think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. I would say much more than the Muslims. They have been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything.” The Iranian government should understand that the Jews “were expelled from their land, persecuted and mistreated all over the world, as the ones who killed God. In my judgment here’s what happened to them: Reverse selection. What’s reverse selection? Over 2,000 years they were subjected to terrible persecution and then to the pogroms. One might have assumed that they would have disappeared; I think their culture and religion kept them together as a nation.” He continued: “The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust.” I asked him if he would tell Ahmadinejad what he was telling me. “I am saying this so you can communicate it,” he answered.

Castro went on to analyze the conflict between Israel and Iran. He said he understood Iranian fears of Israeli-American aggression and he added that, in his view, American sanctions and Israeli threats will not dissuade the Iranian leadership from pursuing nuclear weapons. “This problem is not going to get resolved, because the Iranians are not going to back down in the face of threats. That’s my opinion,” he said. He then noted that, unlike Cuba, Iran is a “profoundly religious country,” and he said that religious leaders are less apt to compromise. He noted that even secular Cuba has resisted various American demands over the past 50 years….

Read the whole piece here.

6 Responses to “Fidel to Ahmadinejad: ‘Stop Slandering the Jews’”

  1. Bialik Says:

    I’m speechless.

  2. zkharya Says:

    An extraordinary interview, all round. Note how the culturally Catholic Christian Castro affirmed the “Zionist myth” of Jews’ being historically
    a) a nation
    b) exiled and
    c) scattered over the earth.

    Answering nicely Ahmadinejad’s continual assertion that the alien “Zionists” simply converged from all points of the compass on Palestine for no reason other than to plunder and persecute the Palestinians i.e. more or less the PSC line.

    But what Castro needs to understand is that before the Iranian government can make any progress, it needs to confront the Arab and Islamic antisemitism that drove most Jews to leave. That “antisemitism” is not something “out there” (again the PSC line), but very much closer to home.

  3. Blacklisted Dictator Says:

    I attach an email that I sent to Cosatu in South Africa. As yet,
    no response!

    Dear Bongani Masuku and Patrick Craven,

    I thought that you and your colleagues at Cosatu, would be interested in the attached interview. I know that you are both admirers of Fidel Castro so, I am sure, that you and will give his words serious consideration. Please let me know whether you concur with him.

  4. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Jeffrey Goldberg says that this is the first of two reports by him on his meetings with Castro. Will you be linking us to the other one, to see if he has any other interesting anti-antisemitic comments?

  5. Blacklisted Dictator Says:

    Brian,
    The other report is about the Cuban economy. Interesting that it featured in the SA press whilst his positive comments about Israel and Jews were ignored.
    Benign censorship?


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