When Iran's new president last week called for Israel to be 'œwiped off the map,' said Efraim Karsh and Rory Miller in The New Republic, the biggest surprise was that anyone was surprised. After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued the threat during 'œthe delightfully named 'World Without Zionism' conference' in Tehran, world leaders rushed to express outrage. But Ahmadinejad had merely restated what has been official Iranian policy since the 1979 Islamic revolution. In fact, ever since Israel was founded in 1948, 'œArab and Muslim leaders have expressed the desire to obliterate the Jewish state with impressive regularity.' What has changed, though, is that Iran is now well along in developing a nuclear weapons program. The 'œuncharacteristically harsh response' to Ahmadinejad mostly reflects growing alarm over what Iran could do with such weapons. But the West should 'œtake a stand against all those who call for the destruction of Israel,' not just those who might destroy London or Paris 'œonce they've finished the job in Tel Aviv.'
True enough, said the Chicago Tribune in an editorial. But with Iran hot on the trail of nukes, the world has good reason to react differently to this latest spasm of anti-Israeli hate. The previous regime in Tehran insisted that it was pursuing only peaceful nuclear technology, and that it had 'œno belligerent intentions.' Now it has dropped that pretense, and Ahmadinejad's bellicose remarks should dispel 'œany lingering doubts about its intentions to build'”and use'”nuclear weapons.' His speech certainly 'œraises the ante,' said Claude Salhani in The Washington Times, and not just for Israel. 'œTo those who doubt,' Ahmadinejad bellowed, 'œI say accomplishment of a world without America and Israel is both possible and feasible.'
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