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Friday, August 02, 2013

Shades of Ahmadinejad: Left now claiming Rohani's speech 'mistranslated' or Rohani 'misquoted'

A few hours ago, I reported that 'moderate' new Iranian President Hassan Rohani, who will be inaugurated on Sunday, referred to Israel as a 'wound' on the body of the Islamic world that must be 'removed.'

The reactions were fast and furious. This one from Commentary's Jonathan Tobin is typical.
Since his election in a field in which he was supposedly the least fanatic, Rouhani has done nothing to disillusion his legions of Western fans, but while attending a solidarity event with Palestinians he dropped his façade of moderation just long enough to give us a glimpse of his real ideas. What he said was enough to show that the alleged distance between his view and his old friend Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei or outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was not very great after all. As the New York Times recounts:
Ahead of his inauguration, Iran’s new president on Friday called Israel an “old wound” that should be removed, while tens of thousands of Iranians marched in support of Muslim claims to the holy city of Jerusalem. Hassan Rouhani’s remarks about Israel — his country’s archenemy — echoed longstanding views of other Iranian leaders.
“The Zionist regime has been a wound on the body of the Islamic world for years and the wound should be removed,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency.
While we should expect Iran’s legion of apologists to try and find a way to interpret this as not meaning exactly what it says, there’s little doubt about Rouhani’s sentiments. Like all the non-moderates whose views we were told he opposes, Rouhani believes Israel should be destroyed. Considering that he is also a supporter of the country’s drive for nuclear weapons, you don’t have to be a hawk or a neocon or even the prime minister of Israel to connect the dots between his beliefs and the threat that a nuclear Iran poses to understand that the conviction that he offers a way out of the nuclear impasse is naive.
Except that... sure enough... there's traffic all over Twitter indicating that Rohani was 'misquoted' or that his words were 'mistranslated.' Reuters has gone so far as to issue a correction of sorts. It's saying that Iranian television is now saying that Rohani was 'misquoted.' Really? I'll wait for the MEMRI translation (which I trust, unlike all the Iranians on Twitter), but we have the video, and if this quote is correct it doesn't sound like he was misquoted.

Press TV then broadcast an excerpt from an exchange between Rouhani and journalists at a rally to mark Iran's annual Al Qods Day in support of the Palestinians.

"After all, in our region there's been a wound for years on the body of the Muslim world under the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the beloved al-Qods (Jerusalem)," Rouhani said in the segment.
The Arab-Muslim world does not differentiate between the 'occupation' of the '1967 territories' and the occupation of the '1948 territories.' For them, 'occupation' doesn't end at the 1949 armistice lines. They're one and the same. As far as the Arab-Muslim world is concerned, the entire state of Israel is 'occupying holy land of Palestine.'

Some of you may recall that when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad first started saying that he wanted to destroy Israel, there were similar claims that he was 'mistranslated' and 'misquoted.' They were wrong - if not out and out lies. I don't expect this time to be any different.

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