Thursday, June 14, 2012

Twisting Words to Make War


Lost in Translation: Iran Never

Threatened to Wipe Israel Off the Map

By Steve Rendall
Beaver County Peace Links via Extra! June 2012

The menacing threat has been repeated endlessly in U.S. corporate media in recent years: Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” “Iran,” “Israel” and “wipe” in one form or another occur together in more than 17,000 articles in the Nexis news database over the last seven years. It plays a critical role in the case for pre-emptive war against Iran. There’s just one problem: It never happened.

Mideast expert and blogger Juan Cole (Informed Comment, 5/3/06) noted long ago that Iranian leaders never called for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” but a recent admission by an Israeli official to that effect suggests that there is hope this information might finally penetrate the corporate media bubble.

On Al Jazeera English (4/14/12), Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor agreed with interviewer Teymoor Nabili’s suggestion that the supposed remarks were never actually made. Iranian leaders, Meridor said, come basically ideologically, religiously, with the statement that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not survive. They didn’t say “we’ll wipe it out,” you are right, but [that] it will not survive, it is a cancerous tumor, it should be removed.

The Persian phrase Meridor was asked about was used by Ahmadinejad in a 2005 speech in which neither maps nor wiping were mentioned. As Cole explained (Informed Comment, 5/3/06):

The actual quote, which comes from an old speech of Khomeini, does not imply military action, or killing anyone at all.... The phrase is almost metaphysical. He quoted Khomeini that “the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time.” It is in fact probably a reference to some phrase in a medieval Persian poem. It is not about tanks.