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Iran's Genocidal Calls To Annihilate Israel Echo The Words Of Hitler And Goebbels

January 31, 2013


January 30, 2013 - San Francisco, CA - - In 2009, Elihu D. Richter and Alex Barnea, two Israeli experts on genocide and the Holocaust, published a noteworthy article on "Tehran's Genocidal Incitement against Israel." They point out that Iranian statements demonizing Jews are not new. Back in 1970, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini referred to "wretched Jews," but later began substituting the word "Zionist" for "Jew." Khomeini is often called "the Imam" or supreme religious and political leader (Fuehrer in German; Hitler also called himself the Fuehrer, the Leader). "Imam" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Khomeini's successor, began to dehumanize Israel as a "cancerous tumor." And the current Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated in October 2005 that "Israel must be wiped off the map."

Some experts claim that this phrase was a mistranslation and "that Ahmadinejad did not have genocidal intent." However, Richter and Barnea maintain that the phrase "Israel must be wiped off the map" reflects the Islamic Republic's official English translation which was reiterated on billboards and murals. Calls for the annihilation of Israel are not new either. Back in the 1950s former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, a strong admirer of Adolf Hitler and the German Nazis, wanted to drive all the Jews into the sea.

Richter and Barnea point out that calls for the annihilation of Israel constitute "incitement to genocide." The United Nations "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide" specifies that "genocide is a crime under international law," and that "direct and public incitement to commit genocide" is a punishable act – indeed, "a crime against humanity." Iran is a signatory to the convention, and, therefore, bound by its rules. The convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1948. The convention calls genocide "an odious scourge," which "has inflicted great losses on humanity." It is not at all coincidental that the convention was adopted only three years after the Second World War when the Nazis killed six million Jews. As early as January 1939, Hitler threatened to exterminate "the Jewish race in Europe," while in 1942 and after the U.S. State Department and the British Foreign Office actually shelved alarming and reliable reports on the gas chambers of Auschwitz – until it was too late. Frequent requests to bomb those gas chambers were ignored by the U.S. War Department.

The 1948 Convention also had another genocide in mind, namely the genocide of the Christian Armenians by the Muslim Turks. The acts were perpetrated between 1915 and 1917. Hannibal Travis recently pointed out that Hitler invoked the Armenian genocide when he attacked Poland on September 1, 1939, and started World War II.

Iran's genocidal hate speech comparable to Nazi rhetoric

Richter and Barnea published a "timeline of statements by Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders (2000-2008)." This clearly shows that it is Iran's core business to destroy Israel and kill all the Jews who live there. Thus, on January 15, 2001, Khamenei said: "The perpetual subject of Iran is the elimination of Israel from the region." Another translation says: "The mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) is to erase Israel from the map of the region." And on December 14, 2001, former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said: "If one day… the Islamic world will be equipped with weapons available to Israel now… the deployment of even one atomic bomb inside Israel will wipe it off the face of the earth but would only do damage to the Islamic world." Apparently, Rafsanjani does not mind that such a bomb would also kill many Muslim Palestinians in Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. Maybe, he sees them as expendable martyrs. In 1988, Rafsanjani said that "we should fully equip ourselves both in the offensive and defensive use of chemical, bacteriological, and radiological weapons."

In April 2005, Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani, an influential and hardline cleric who resides in Iran's so-called holy city of Qom, said: "One should fight the Jews and vanquish them so that the conditions for the advent of the Hidden Imam will be met." The so-called "Hidden Iman" or "Mahdi" is an important apocalyptical theme in Iran's Shia religion. These hardline clerics believe that all the Jews must be killed or defeated first before the apocalyptic vision of the Hidden Iman comes true. Nouri Hamadi sides with Iran's current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a religious lunatic who equally loves to emphasize apocalyptical themes. Shortly after his election in 2005, Ahmadinejad said: "Today, we should define our economic, cultural and political policies based on the Mahdi's return." (Ahmadinejad's disastrous economic policies resulted in skyrocketing inflation, by the way.)

Ahmadinejad repeatedly called for the complete elimination of Israel. Thus, on October 26, 2005, he said: "Our dear Imam (Khomeini) ordered that this Jerusalem occupying regime must be erased from the page of time. This was a very wise statement." On April 14, 2006, he said: "Israel heading towards annihilation." "A dried rotten tree that will collapse with a single storm." In December 2006, he said: "The Zionist regime will be wiped out, and humanity will be liberated." On February 20, 2008, he said: "They (the global powers) have created a black and filthy microbe called the Zionist regime." Hitler, by they way, referred to Judaism as "the race-tuberculosis of peolpes," and other Nazi leaders, notably SS-Fuehrer Heinrich Himmler and Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, depicted the Jews as "bacteria", "virus" or "vermin" – "Ungeziefer" in German. The only way to get rid of all those "very dangerous Jews" is to execute them or kill them in gas chambers such as the ones which were operating in Auschwitz and Majdadek, two Nazi death camps where "Zyklon B" was used. That is how the Holocaust started – with anti-Semitic rhetoric and paranoid conspiration theories.

On April 17, 2008, Ahmadinejad emphasized apocalyptic themes once again, when he said: "The region and the world are prepared for great changes and for being cleansed of Satanic enemies" (referring to the Great Satan – USA – and Little Satan – Israel). He was echoing Goebbels and Nazi party ideologist Alfred Rosenberg who equally linked the Jews to "Satanic" forces.
On January 12, 2009, Hassan Rowhani, Ali Khamenei's representative on the Supreme National Security Council, referred to Israel as a "cancerous tumor." So did Khamenei himself on several occasions. Hitler, too, more than once likened the Jews to a cancer. "For example, in 1941 Hitler ordered the excising of what he called ‘the Jewish cancer' from Germany," Clifford D. May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, points out in an illuminating article on "Iran's threats to Israel echo the words of Hitler."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the conference of non-alligned nations in Tehran in August 2012. Without naming his the host country Iran by name, he lashed out against any member state of the UN that threatens to annihilate or eliminate another member state: "I strongly reject threats by any member state to destroy another, or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust." "Claiming that Israel does not have the right to exist or describing it in racist terms is not only wrong but undermines the very principle we all have pledged to uphold," he added. Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a known Holocaust denier, was sitting right next to him and looked very embarassed.

The expedient or altruistic lie

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, the UN's own nuclear watchdog, is deeply concerned about Iran's nuclear program. There is no doubt about the military dimensions of this program, and Iran is not very cooperative. The Iranians pretend to be willing to negotiate, but their real actions point in another direction. An Iranian nuclear bomb will pose a direct threat to the existence of Israel. Ahmad Hashemi, a well informed former Iranian official, recently raised the alarm when he wrote: "During my four and a half years as an employee of the Iranian foreign ministry, I learned beyond doubt, that my country's participation in talks is purely a stalling tactic." "While at the Iranian foreign ministry, I served as interpreter for visiting dignitaries, diplomats and officials. I paid close attention to public proclamations and official statements. And I was present at inner-circle conversations in which a number of high-profile Iranian officials made no secret of their intention to go atomic." "I interpreted as the Iranian defense officials misinformed and deceived the (IAEA) inspectors." "Using a well-known concept in Shiite jurisprudence known as the expedient or altruistic lie, Iranian officials are perfectly willing to lie when it comes to their intentions and programs." "Once the extent of the deception is understood, the question should not be whether Iran's nuclear program is peaceful but rather when and how the program can be safely terminated."

The Russians play a nefarious role both in Syria and Iran. This is not new either. When Khomeini came to power in 1979 the then communist Soviet Union or "the Soviets" supported the new so-called "anti-imperialist" Iranian leaders, even after the same Muslim fanatics cracked down on local Iranian communists. In his book "The Soviet Union and Revolutionary Iran" Aryeh Y. Yodfat makes the following observation: "A strange situation now developed in which the Soviets supported those whom they generally termed ‘reactionary' (those who rejected Western culture and concepts of which communism too was a part), while opposing those who had called for modernization and relative secularization."

The Russians, therefore, cannot be trusted, at least as long as they continue to support the obnoxious Syrian and Iranian regimes.

Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter in the Netherlands. Website:

End Notes:

Elihu D. Richter and Alex Barnea, Tehran's Genocidal Incitement against Israel, in: Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2009, pp. 45-51.

Leo Kuper, The Prevention of Genocide (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1985), pp. 241-246 (Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide).

Hannibal Travis, Did the Armenian Genocide Inspire Hitler?, in: Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2013, pp. 27-35.

Kasra Naji, Ahmadinejad. The Secret History of Iran's Radical Leader (London/New York: I.B. Tauris, 2008), p. 92. (Quote from Ahmadinejad on "the Mahdi's return").

Claus-Ekkehard Bärsch, Die politische Religion des Nationalsozialismus (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1998) p. 125, 126. (Jews depicted as "Satanic" by Goebbels.)

Clifford D. May, Iran's Threats to Israel echo the words of Hitler, deserve censure, in: Deseret News, August 24, 2012.

Jerusalem Post, August 30, 2012 ("Ban condemns Iran's threats, Holocaust denial").

Ahmad Hashemi, Don't be fooled: Iran wants the bomb, in: The Times of Israel, January 17, 2013.

Aryeh Y. Yodfat, The Soviet Union and Revolutionary Iran (London: Croom Helm, 1984), p. 114.

©2013 Emerson Vermaat. All rights reserved.

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at