Why our president called for Israel’s annihilation.

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It’s hard to see what all the fuss is about, said Tehran’s Resalat in an editorial. Western countries are pretending to be outraged at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent statement that Israel should be wiped off the map. France, Italy, and Russia summoned their Iranian ambassadors for an explanation; Britain’s prime minister, Tony Blair, threatened military action. But Ahmadinejad’s comment was neither new nor unexpected. He was quoting the words of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, and he was speaking on Quds Day, the annual holiday specifically set aside for demonstrations against the Zionist occupation of Jerusalem. It would have been odd had the president not made such a call. “Not recognizing Israel and stressing that the Palestinians should come back to their motherland has long been Iran’s irreversible policy.” The hysterical Western reaction is simply “stupid.”

Everyone knows that Israel is an illegitimate state, said Tehran’s Jomhuri-ye Eslami in an editorial. “The Zionist regime is an appropriator regime based on racism.” It has survived this long only by breaking international law—and by feeding off the United States. Any regime that is so blatantly illegal “can have no destiny but annihilation.” It is the duty of every Muslim to liberate any Muslim land occupied by foreigners. This is simple “scientific fact.”

That is not to say, though, that we literally intend to kill all the Jews, said the Tehran Times in an editorial. In the context of Iranian discourse on Israel, “annihilation” doesn’t mean “genocide of the Jewish people, but rather a nonviolent confrontation with Zionist schools of thought.” The Western countries know that perfectly well. They are purposely misunderstanding Ahmadinejad just “to raise a brouhaha” and divert attention from Israel’s many crimes.

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