Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Iran's Supreme Leader allegedly sets out in detail his program to destroy and ethnically cleanse Israel

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In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic in May, President Obama suggested that the Iranian regime's racist and antisemitic worldviews don't "preclude [them] from being rational," or from "being interested in survival." Obama acknowledged the regime's explicit antisemitism, yet then proceeded to negotiate a nuclear deal that would ultimately bolster and empower this dangerous regime with virtually no practical check on its incitement (see here for AIJAC's deconstruction of the deal's flaws and implications.)

Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has kept up his regime's inflammatory rhetoric about the US, Israel, and terrorism since the nuclear deal was reached, (see for instance, here.)

The most recent example concerns the alleged publishing of a book, "Palestine", supposedly describing Iran's plans to conquer Israel and America. In the New York Post, exiled Iranian intellectual Amir Taheri reported that he had managed to obtain a copy of the Persian-language book, which as of now is supposedly only available in Iran. Taheri writes,

Khamenei makes his position clear from the start: Israel has no right to exist as a state.

He uses three words. One is ‘nabudi,' which means ‘annihilation.' The other is ‘imha,' which means "fading out," and, finally, there is ‘zaval,' meaning ‘effacement.'

... Khamenei describes Israel as ‘a cancerous tumor' whose elimination would mean that ‘the West's hegemony and threats will be discredited' in the Middle East. In its place, he boasts, ‘the hegemony of Iran will be promoted.'

Jonathan Tobin noted in Commentary,


"The Khamenei Palestine book is important not in and of itself but because the regime's obsession with Israel is a key to its foreign policy. Iran constitutes a grave threat to neighboring Arab countries that are at least as angry about the president's embrace of Tehran as the Israelis since their nuclear status would undermine their security. But as much as Iran is focused on regional hegemony in which Sunni states would be brought to heel, as Khamenei's Palestine illustrates, it is the fixation on Israel and Zionism that really animates their expansionism and aid for terror groups."

This is not the first time since the deal that Iran has issued antagonistic messages. A Twitter account linked to Khamenei released an image on Saturday that appeared to show Obama holding a gun to his own head; it included a quote from Khamenei: "if any war happens, the one who will emerge loser will be the aggressive and criminal U.S."

Tzvi Fleischer commented recently in the Australia/Israel Review that the Obama Administration has focused quite intensely on Israeli rhetoric, to the extent that it has merited a "reassessment" of the Israel-US relationship because of a few words about Palestinian statehood-yet, bizarrely, widespread Iranian rhetoric is ignored or dismissed as unimportant.

Khamenei's book serves to add to mounting evidence that Iran's rhetoric about destroying Israel is in fact sincere, something the Obama Administration continues to deny. When Goldberg interviewed US Secretary of State John Kerry, also in the Atlantic, he asked Kerry point-blank about Iran's controversial rhetoric on Israel; Kerry downplayed the concern:

Goldberg: Do you believe that Iranian leaders sincerely seek the elimination of the Jewish state?

Kerry: I think they have a fundamental ideological confrontation with Israel at this particular moment. Whether or not that translates into active steps to, quote, "Wipe it," you know...

Goldberg: Wipe it off the map.

Kerry: I don't know the answer to that. I haven't seen anything that says to me-they've got 80,000 rockets in Hezbollah pointed at Israel, and any number of choices could have been made. They didn't make the bomb when they had enough material for 10 to 12. They've signed on to an agreement where they say they'll never try and make one and we have a mechanism in place where we can prove that. So I don't want to get locked into that debate. I think it's a waste of time here.


Yet Khamenei's book goes on at length about his plan for the elimination of the Jewish state-he proposes a lengthy, low-intensity warfare intended to make most Jews so uncomfortable as to leave. Furthermore, his goal is not simply creating a majority Palestinian state - he is actively seeking to ethnically cleanse the area of all Jews whom he considers to not have "genuine roots" in area - almost certainly a large majority of Israeli Jews in his worldview. Taheri explains:

Khamenei's ‘practical and logical mechanism' excludes the two-state formula in any form.

‘The solution is a one-state formula,' he declares. That state, to be called Palestine, would be under Muslim rule but would allow non-Muslims, including some Israeli Jews who could prove ‘genuine roots' in the region, to stay as ‘protected minorities.'

Under Khamenei's scheme, Israel, plus the West Bank and Gaza, would revert to a United Nations mandate for a brief period during which a referendum is held to create the new state of Palestine.

All Palestinians and their descendants, wherever they are, would be able to vote, while Jews ‘who have come from other places' would be excluded.

Rhetoric, critics or Iran apologists may argue, is just rhetoric. But rhetoric is only rhetoric until it becomes action; Iran, which will soon receive around $100 billion in sanctions relief, is about to receive dramatically increased means to try to transform that incendiary rhetoric into action.

Miriam Smallman

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