For what is hopefully the last time, the leaders of the world at the United Nations General Assembly were unfairly forced to endure another vitriolic speech from the “President” of Iran. I use the term President loosely, for the Iranian people suffer under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rule, despite his claims of service to the noble people of Iran. The man took stage and—to the surprise of many—soft-pedaled his speech: no loud declarations of the need to wipe Israel off the map, no vocal denial of the Holocaust. The lack of flash was made up for in substance and was no less hateful.
The United States and Israel were obviously the hegemonic (and Zionist) powers President Ahmadinejad referred to vaguely throughout his rambling speech. He claimed that America and Israel have “entrusted themselves to the devil;” that they have conspired and forced poverty upon the world. What Mr. Ahmadinejad ignores is that it has been his actions—and those of his government—that have brought poverty to the people of Iran. Their repressive regime has been a boot on neck of the Iranian people. His regime’s insistence on pursuing nuclear weapons—for what ends we can only imagine and fear—has led to strict economic sanctions that have harmed his people. Mr. Ahmadinejad speaks of “continued threats by the uncivilized Zionists,” as he pursues nuclear weapons, denies the Holocaust, and refers to Israel as a “false regime.”
Critics may contend that Iran is merely reacting to the military threats from the United States and Israel. They contend that Iran’s response is in fact rational. This is an ahistorical view of relations in the region that ignores the many attacks into Israeli territory. It ignores the Iranian role of propping up the dictatorial Assad regime in Syria, known to be committing atrocities against its own citizens using Iranian provided weaponry. It ignores Iran’s patronage of Hezbollah and their campaign of suicide and rocket attacks on civilians. It ignores the death of Neda Agha-Soltan.
President Ahmadinejad calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. He denies the right of Israel to exist and calls it a false regime with no basis in history. He then appears at the United Nations and claims to seek peace?
As American President Barrack Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu know and have affirmed this week, until there is agreement that Israel has a right to exist, there cannot be capitulation to tyrants. Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons remains a threat to the very existence of Israel and the stability of the region.
We must stand with the people of Israel in the face of aggression and existential threat. The United States and Israel do not want war, only to live in security with a guarantee that Israel has a right to exist. If Iran does not want war, they need to abandon their nuclear program and end their quest to see the elimination of the Israeli state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu most eloquently responded to Iran when he said, “The Jewish people have come home and [they] will never be uprooted again.” Ahmadinejad denies the Children of Abraham’s place in history; this is not the first time there has been an attempt to eradicate the Jews. And, as before, it will not succeed.