The state of Israel is to blame for everything

April 22, 2009 at 12:30 pm (anti-fascism, Anti-Racism, anti-semitism, Iran, israel, Max Dunbar, religion)

Following on from Comrade Charlie’s post I thought it would be useful to collate a round-up of the reaction to the consequences of inviting a genocidal racist to address an anti-racism conference.

First up is Seth Freedman who says, essentially: what else did you expect?

Inviting the Iranian president to take centre stage in such a high-profile forum was always inevitably going to be a recipe for disaster, in terms of what the UN ostensibly hoped to achieve with the Durban Review Conference – so what did anyone really expect to happen when Ahmadinejad stepped up to the plate?

In Ahmadinejad’s myopic worldview, the only country worth singling out for criticism is Israel; the only ideology worth hauling over the coals is Zionism. His own personal crusade is so inextricably linked to the Israel-Palestine imbroglio as to render any hopes he would have used his platform to talk about anything other than the I/P conflict utterly redundant.

Also at CiF Brian Klug has set a fun quiz. Of the three quotes below, two of them are from ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ and one is from Ahmadinejad’s speech.

A. ‘In our day, all the governments of the entire world are consciously or unconsciously submissive to the commands of this great supergovernment of Zion … All affairs – industry, commerce, and diplomacy – are in the hands of Zion.’

B. ‘In social and political circles, in business and art, wherever one probes, Zionism raises its ugly head … and suddenly reveals itself ubiquitous and all-powerful.’

C. ‘[Zionists have] penetrated into the political and economic structures including their legislation, mass media, companies, financial systems and their security and intelligence agencies … to the extent that nothing can be done against their will.’

Can you guess which piece of poisonous rhetoric comes from Iran’s cretinous ruler? Were you right?

On to the blogs now. Over on Chas Newkey-Burden’s site (steady, Comrade Resistor!) there is a guest post from Alex Dwek, who is at the conference.

So Ahmadinejad was introduced by the president of the conference. The room was tense, emotions were on edge. We had no idea what was awaited us. At this point I looked around the room and saw that Elie Weisel, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner was sitting a few rows in front. I had always wondered what it must be like for a survivor of the Holocaust to witness 60 years on the President of a country denying that such atrocities ever took place.

Ahmadinejad began to speak. No sooner had he got a few words in when there was shouting and chaos. Two men in clown wigs were shouting and running towards the stage throwing clowns noses as the President of Iran! (The two guys, were members of the French Union of Jewish Students, who had managed to get onto the plenary floor!)

The NGO room went absolutely crazy, cheering and screaming. Ahmadinejad continued, but the NGO room was still going mad with people out of there chairs running around. The sound for the English interpretation was not working. The students were going mad, along with Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, who was also in the NGO room. There were shouts of: ‘This is a deliberate attempt to prevent us from hearing him’ and ‘This is a breach of our human rights’. There were also calls from others in the room that this was all part of the Zionist’s plan. This developed into a minor confrontation.

A big debating point is whether anti-racist delegations were right to walk. Stay or go? Boycott the whole event on the chimney-sweep wrestling principle or attend and challenge racism? Azarmehr thinks they should have stayed:

By walking out [these delegations] allowed Ahmadinejad to babble on without being challenged and they allowed him to become the champion of the Arabs. For example imagine if a representative of one of those countries that walked out, stood up to Ahmadinejad’s wolf cries for Gaza and reminded everyone that five times more Iranians were killed in the two months during the 1988 massacre of Iranian political prisoners by the Islamic Republic than were killed by the recent conflict in Gaza.

Or one of them who walked out could have asked if Israel is such a racist genocidal regime, why did the Islamic Republic buy arms from Israel during the Irangate affair?



  1. Jim Denham said,

    Good to see that Steve Bell cartoon attacking Ahmadinejad’s fascim: Bell hasn’t always been so sound on these matters.

    Today’s Morning Star, grotesquely, uses an article ostensibly about Holocaust memorial day, headlined “Remembering the six million victims”, to effectively back Ahmadinejad and attack those who boycotted the UN “Racism” conference, using COSATU as cover:

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Also, have a look at this, and – maybe- sign in to join the debate.

  3. maxdunbar said,

    That is a great comment on the NS piece.

    And I cannot believe that Steve Bell cartoon, it is just so good.

  4. paul fauvet said,

    Steve Bell’s cartoon is the best thing he’s drawn for years. Maybe the suitably savage cartoonist of the Thatcher years has returned from the dead.

    But read the thread in the Guardian’s “Comment is Free” underneath the cartoon. A disturbingly large number of comments come from angered Guardian readers who thought that Steve Bell was one of them and are outraged to discover that he isn’t.

  5. Lobby Ludd said,

    “Good to see that Steve Bell cartoon attacking Ahmadinejad’s fascim: Bell hasn’t always been so sound on these matters.”

    One to watch out for, I’d say, Jim. (Who’s got the latest list?)

  6. Rosie said,

    Other conferences with inappropriate speakers:-

    Pro-cycling conference – main speaker, Jeremy Clarkson

    Workshops on Raising Self Esteem and Sensitivity Training – Facilitator, Simon Cowell

    The General Synod – invited guest speaker, Richard Dawkins

  7. paul fauvet said,

    There’s a huge misconception all over the Internet that Amadinejad was a “guest speaker”, or a keynote speaker, or had somehow been specially invited. Not at all – it’s a UN confernece, so all member states, no matter how daft or repulsive their governments may be, can attend. All get a chance to speak, and protocol dictates that the first in the queue are heads of state or government. There were only a couple of such high-ranking dignitaries present, and that’s why Amadinehad was among the first speakers.

    Had democratic nations bothered to send high-level delegations (and one can make a strong case that this would have been more effective than boycotts), then Amadinejad would not have been able to dominate the first day.

    I think Jim Denham is wrong about the Morning Star article. It looks to me like something that was incompetently cobbled together from various news agency items. If they’d wanted to back Amadinejad, then they would have put him at the top of the story rather than the bottom.

    • Rosie said,

      I take your point, Paul. Stupid of me not to find out a bit more information before commenting.

  8. sokari said,

    A number of amusements here – you quote one blogger who writes Amadinejad as the “champion of Arabs” – Does s/he know that Persians are not Arabs and I cant imagine the latter wanting to be championed by Pres A, much more than the Zionist leader of Israel. However more importantl and what you fail to comment on in your post is that Zionism is a racist ideology and in that Pres A was absolutely correct and frankly I was more offended by the Britiish delegate who not only defended Zionism but claimed it was not racist.

    I certainly have no time for Amadinejad but by walking out those European delegates gave him the center stage he craves so much.

    Inncdently those who walked out are from the same countries who silently stoody by while the Germans sent millions of Jews to the gas chambers and note in Iran and in Arab countries Jews lived side by side with Muslims for centuries until Europe’s guilt created the state of Israel out of Palestine in 1948 not to speak of their colonisation of Africa and participation in the slave trade – all the same grubby little arrogant hypocrits!

  9. Hal said,

    Sorry, Sokari, the “paradise” for Jews in Arab countries is as mythological as any in the Bible (old or new testaments) or the Quran. My wife’s family fled Iraq after the 1941 “farhud” (i.e. pogrom) in Baghdad and, in general, over the centuries, the Jews in Arab countries endured varying degrees of oppression, forced conversions and, at best, second-class citizenship. The most anti-Arab Israelis are the “mizrahi” Jews — approx 800,000 were refugees from Arab and/or Muslim countries.

    Relatively mild accounts can be found here:

  10. Jim Denham said,

    sokari says:

    “Zionism is a racist ideology and in that Pres A was absolutely right”: Zionism (ie Jewish nationalism) is no more and no less racist than any other form of nationalism. My query is why people like sokari (and Pres A) continually single out Zionism for denunciation whilst apparently supporting all other forms of nationalism.

    “Europe’s guilt created the state of Israel”: I think you’ll find it was the Jewish people who created it with very little support from anyone else in 1948.

    As for the slave trade: a lot of people (including African chiefs and Muslim rulers) as well as Europeans, were invoved, and the role of the British empire was at odds with most of the rest of Europe:

    Anyway, I fail to see what slavery has to do with the creation of the state of Israel.

  11. libcom-lizard said,

    Denham beat me to it.

    The Golden Age of Jewish life under Islam was good in parts, but a myth, as are all other Golden Ages. Sokari objectifies Jews with the same arrogant and paternalist condescension as that of the colonisers and slavers s/he rightly condemns.

    The movement for a return to a Jewish homeland didn’t appear fully-formed out of thin air in 1941 or 1896. It has existed in some form since the Jewish Diaspora has existed, but particularly since Jews were banned from Jerusalem on pain of death by Hadrian in CE135, growing through the intervening years of murderous oppression, discrimination and ethnic cleansing.

    Sokari states glibly ‘Zionism is a racist ideology’, while failing to consider or acknowledge that all nationalisms are racist ideologies, and all nation-states racist. Only one nationalism is condemned, only one state is singled out for criticism.

    Again and again we must ask: why the exceptionalism?

  12. Waterloo Sunset said,

    In the case of Ahmadinejad, the reason for the exceptionalism is reasonably straightforward. A mixture of racism and the fact he represents a rival nationalism.

    When we’re talking about people on the left who claim to be internationalists yet single out a specific nationalism first and foremost, the question becomes more interesting.

  13. Jim Denham said,


    “It is called, after all, “..of the Elders of Zion”

    “Brian Klug has an article in the Guardian (via) that makes a significant point well.
    Guardian readers will know the answer to the first question: it is quote C that comes from the transcript of Ahmadinejad’s speech. But if you thought it was A or B, you could be forgiven, since all three quotes contain essentially the same discourse: all of them attribute to “Zion” and “Zionism” the same mysterious power of pervasive influence and sinister control of societies and states…
    Someone might object that, unlike the Protocols, Ahmadinejad confines his attack to Zionists and does not brand Jews collectively. But no other political movement in the world is credited with the kind of fantastical power and influence that he attributes to Zionism. Moreover, Zionism is a Jewish movement; and what he attributes to it is precisely the kind of power and influence that antisemitism attributes to Jews. It’s a bit of a giveaway.”

  14. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘Good to see that Steve Bell cartoon attacking Ahmadinejad’s fascim: Bell hasn’t always been so sound on these matters.’

    Indeed. Just for once he gets the ball in the back of the net.

    Incidentally, did anyone else know that Omar Barghouti – one of the principal advocates of the anti-Israel boycott – has started a PhD at … er Tel Aviv University?:

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