In his weekly Canadian Jewish News media analysis column â€œAccording to Reports,â€ Paul Michaels, CIC Director of Communications, looks at the coverage of Ahmadinejad’s UN rant.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Sept. 23 address to the United Nations General Assembly was a vicious, if predictable, screed. Canada set a principled example. In anticipation of its contents, the Canadian delegation, led by Foreign Affairs minister Lawrence Cannon, boycotted Ahmadinejad’s address. Other Western nations followed Canada’s lead.
While Holocaust denial has long been a staple of Ahmadinejad’s anti-Semitism, on this occasion, he upped the ante, expounding on a Jewish conspiracy to control the world’s “politics, economy and culture…by its complicated networks and [to] establish a new form of slavery.”
On The National (CBC, Sept. 24), commentator Rex Murphy commended the Canadian government for being “a rare voice of brave lucidity in rebuking the detestable assertions of Iran’s president.”
He added: “It was a really good speech to stay away from, with its replay of that oldest of hateful anti-Jewish bile, of the sinister web cast by the Jews over all aspects of the world.”
Murphy asked rhetorically: “Can it be the 21st century in which these words are spoken in a world forum?”
At least important world leaders are speaking up, warning that such words are not mere bluster meant to stave off internal dissent but rather reflect a sick obsession with Jews that runs deep in Iran’s Islamic leadership.
Having nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them becomes a scenario too frightening to contemplate. Indeed, the deluge of media reports – especially after a second, secret site to develop nuclear fuel was discovered near Qom – make it clear that massive international attention is being paid to the danger that a nuclear Iran poses to the world, not just to Israel.
Israeli strategy, accordingly, has recently been to let the United States and Europe take the lead in trying to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
The Globe and Mail lead editorial “Sanctions against going nuclear” (Sept. 28) summed up this attitude: “An end to Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions must…be a priority for the world.”
A huge amount of ink has been spilled trying to figure out how such an end can be achieved. Most media argue that if the six-nation talks with Iran being held (as of this writing) in Geneva fail – and almost no one believes they will succeed – a biting round of sanctions will have to be imposed. But even if the U.S., Britain, France and Germany get Russia and China to go along with vastly toughened sanctions – something many concede will be unlikely given the large amount of business they do with Iran – then the Iranian regime will almost certainly continue to put its nuclear agenda ahead of any suffering felt by its citizens. After all, it felt no compunction over brutally attacking those who protested Iran’s heavily tainted election results.
And then what?
Almost all Western media agree, as the Globe and Mail editorial noted, that war with Iran could be “catastrophic.” It might not even eliminate the nuclear threat, just set it back by a number of years.
The question, however, is what is worse: a catastrophic war with Iran, or an intolerable, radically destabilizing situation in which nuclear weapons are in the hands of a fanatical Islamic regime?
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Toronto Star columnist Haroon Siddiqui, who is habitually one-sided in his denunciations of Israel, has recently found additional cover in emphasizing the Jewishness of critics like Richard Goldstone (“Shining a light on Israeli aggression in Gaza,” Sept. 20), and Richard Falk (“Israel keeps shooting the messenger,” Sept. 27).
Siddiqui described Falk as “another high-profile Jewish public intellectual critical of Israeli policies on Palestinians.” This, of course, makes Falk sound entirely reasonable. But what Siddiqui didn’t tell his readers is that this “Jewish public intellectual” is not a fair-minded critic, but a notorious, fanatical Israel-basher who has accused Israel of carrying out a Nazi-like Holocaust on the Palestinians.
Space does not allow more details. Suffice it to say that by invoking Falk, and not disclosing what he stands for, Siddiqui scratches the bottom of a deep and rotting barrel.