Alan M. Dershowitz's Perspective:
The Iranian government, long known for its Holocaust denial and anti-Zionism, has now declared war against the Jewish people. In a speech delivered in Tehran, Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi accused the Jewish people of spreading illegal drugs around the world, killing black babies, starting the Bolshevik Revolution and causing many of the world’s other ills.
His “proof”: “The Islamic Republic of Iran will pay for anyone who can research and find one single Zionist who is an addict. They do not exist. This is the proof of their involvement in drugs trade.”
There are, of course, numerous addicts among Jews and Zionists, as there are among all groups. Israel has several treatment centers for drug addicts as do Jewish communities throughout the world. He also cited “proof” that the Jews caused the Bolshevik Revolution: not a single Jew was killed during that revolution. Of course, thousands of Jews were murdered during the Bolshevik Revolution as well as during Stalin’s purges in the decades following the establishment of the Soviet Union.
But don’t expect truth from a country whose leaders deny the existence of even a single gay person in all of Iran.
Vice President Rahimi cited the Talmud as the source of his claptrap and in support of his claim that Jews believe that they are racially superior and that “God has created the world so that all other nations can serve them.”
These bigoted claims would be laughable if they did not have such a long and disturbing history. Virtually everything stated by Vice President Rahimi came directly out of Hitler’s playbook of the 1930s and Stalin’s playbook of the 1940s and 50s.
They must be taken seriously in light of the fact that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and has already called for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map. Moreover, Iran’s surrogate, Hezbollah, has invited all the Jews of the world to move to Israel so that it will be easier to destroy them in one fell swoop.
Taken together, these statements and actions constitute a clear incitement to genocide, which is explicitly prohibited by international law and by the rules governing the International Criminal Court. Professor Irwin Cotler, the former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, has drafted a brilliant brief making the case for indicting the Iranian leaders for inciting genocide against the Jewish people. Vice President Rahimi’s speech constitutes additional evidence of that crime, if any were needed.
If the leaders of Iran are guilty of incitement against the Jewish people, as they plainly are, they have many coconspirators and facilitators. In recent years these have included several prominent church leaders, such as Cardinal Glemp of Poland, Father Daniel Berrigan of the United States, Cardinal Rodriguez of Honduras, Bishop Tutu of South Africa and numerous others who have crossed the line from anti-Zionism to overt anti-Semitism.
Cardinal Glemp, while serving as the primate of Poland, accused the Jews of bringing communism, alcoholism and poverty to Poland. He also accused them of provoking anti-Semitism.
Father Daniel Berrigan characterized the Jewish state as “a criminal Jewish community” that “manufactures human waste.” A current cardinal of the Catholic Church, Oscar Andres Rodriguez Meridiaga, who is the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, has been telling anyone who is willing to listen that "the Jews" are to blame for the scandal surrounding the sexual misconduct of priests toward young parishioners!
How did Cardinal Rodriguez ever come up with this ridiculous idea? Here is his "logic:" the Vatican is anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. It follows, therefore, that "the Jews" had to get even with the Catholic Church, while at the same time deflecting attention away from Israeli injustices against the Palestinians. The Jews managed to do this by arranging for the media which they, of course, control to give disproportionate attention to the Vatican sex scandal.
Not to be outdone, Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu claims that Americans are frightened of excessive Jewish influence in America because “the Jewish lobby is powerful — very powerful.” He compared the Jewish influence in America to that of “Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic and Idi Amin”— all of whom who were “powerful, but in the end they bit the dust.”
And now joining in the incitement is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, who says that the situation of Arab citizens in Israel is much worse that what blacks experienced in the south during Jim Crow, thus trivializing the suffering of her own people about which she has written so poignantly! She has now decided to withhold her writings from all readers of Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people.
These hateful voices, from the left, the right and the center, are influencing conduct around the world. Anti-Semitic violence is increasing as is anti-Semitic incitement. The time has come to take this threat seriously, whether it comes from absurd sources such as Iran or more respected personages such as Bishop Tutu and Alice Walker.
I am not seeking to constrain freedom of expression through governmental censorship. I am asking people of good will to condemn all anti-Jewish bigotry even when expressed by those who are admired, and to take action against the danger posed by the noxious combination of radioactive words and radioactive weapons.
Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School. Read more reports from Alan M. Dershowitz — Click Here Now.
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