Iran General NewsMahmoud Ahmadinejad: Man with a pretext for controversy

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Man with a pretext for controversy

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ImageThe Guardian: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comment that Israel came into existence "under the pretext of Jewish suffering" may sound unremarkable to Arabs and Muslims who are focused on the current suffering of the Palestinians. But it will outrage most Israelis, Jews – and many others – who see a direct link between the Nazi Holocaust and the creation of the state in 1948.

The Guardian

Ian Black, Middle East editor

ImageMahmoud Ahmadinejad's comment that Israel came into existence "under the pretext of Jewish suffering" may sound unremarkable to Arabs and Muslims who are focused on the current suffering of the Palestinians. But it will outrage most Israelis, Jews – and many others – who see a direct link between the Nazi Holocaust and the creation of the state in 1948.

The Iranian president's charge that Israel is a "totally racist" regime also jars with his own doubts about the extermination of 6 million Jews by Hitler – racism of unparalleled savagery.

Iran, Arabs and other critics of Israel often argue that Zionism equals racism because citizenship is offered automatically to any Jew but denied to dispossessed Palestinians.

Israel's defenders say to deny the right of national self-determination to Jews is antisemitic.

Zionists see a historic and religious link with the Holy Land. Modern Jewish immigration dates to 1882 but the events that led to the creation of Israel began in earnest in 1917 when Britain said it favoured a "national home" for the Jewish peopleprovided nothing be done to prejudice the rights of what were called "non-Jewish minorities".

After 1945, when the horrific human cost of the Holocaust became clear, the US and the Soviet Union backed partition into separate Jewish and Arab states. The Palestinians rejected the UN proposal. The plan gave the Jews 56% of the territory but they ended up with 78% after the fighting.

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