The Madness of Mahmoud Ahmadinejah
In 1933, his first year as chancellor, Adolph Hitler began boycotting Jewish shops. By 1935 he deprived Jews of German citizenship. In early 1938, laws were passed restricting Jewish economic activity. In October 1938, thousands of Polish Jews were deported. Then, on the nights of November 9-10, 1938, a pogrom was unleashed on Jewish businesses as gangs of Nazi youth broke the windows of Jewish businesses and homes, burning synagogues and looting. Kristallnacht (“The Night of Broken Glass”), as it came to be known, was the defining moment for many when they realized the true madness that was Adolph Hitler. That night German theologian and political dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer circled Psalm 74:8 in his Bible: “They said in their hearts, let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.” He wrote in the margin next to the passage, “10 November 1938.”
There is a little-known man named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is now the President of Iran. If you are like most people, you probably have only the faintest clue who he is. If you don’t know him, read this short but chilling biography.
On October 27, 2005–the closing day of Ramadan–this man, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called on Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth. The new Iranian President reportedly “repeated his call, from earlier in the week, for Israel to be annihilated, and the “Zionists” (i.e. Jews) exterminated, while several tens of thousands chanted anti-Semitic and anti-American slogans.” Following those remarks, Tony Blair responded “I felt a real sense of revulsion at those remarks … There has been a long time in which I’ve been answering questions on Iran with everyone saying to me ‘tell us you’re not going to do anything about Iran…. If they carry on like this, the question people are going to be asking us is, ‘When are you going to do something about this,’ because you imagine a state like that with an attitude like that having a nuclear weapon.” EU leaders issued a joint statement that same day: “Calls for violence, and for the destruction of any state, are manifestly inconsistent with any claim to be a mature and responsible member of the international community.” Israel is so alarmed with events in Iran that Netanyahu is now calling on Sharon to adopt the “Begin legacy,” a reference to the 1981 bombing of Iraq’s nuclear facility.
Yesterday, this man Ahmadinejad was reported to describe Israel as a “tumor” that should be removed to Europe. These were his words: “Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces and they insist on it to the extent that if anyone proves something contrary to that they condemn that person and throw them in jail. Although we don’t accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: ‘Is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem?’ “If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe – like in Germany, Austria or other countries – to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it.” Then Ahmadinejad said he will continue to develop nuclear power and that the West had no right to suspect Iran.
Thankfully, the reaction from world leaders was swift and strong. The United Nations, United States, France, Germany and Britain have all unequivocally rebuked Ahmadinejad, with Annan expressing shock, Merkel calling his words “totally unacceptable,” Jack Straw condemning them “unreservedly,” and the State Department describing them as “appalling and reprehensible.” But Ahmadinejad has refused to back down.
As we divert our gaze toward other concerns, we should not miss the momentous nature of current events in Iran. In the course of a few weeks, the Iranian President has called for the annihilation of Israel, denied the “claim” that millions of innocent Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and offered to support any Europeans who would work to relocate Israel. Thus, we have from the mouth of one man – the leader of a country seeking nuclear capability no less – a bold call for a new Holocaust and a flat denial that the original one ever occurred.
I am not given to hyperbole, but when is the defining moment that we realize the madness that is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? I fear we should be circling that passage from Psalm 74 again: “They said in their hearts, let us destroy them together” and writing in the margin “8 December 2005.”