The ink was scarcely dry on the Iran nuclear deal, under which Iran retains all the elements of its nuclear program, before the news came that the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has published a 416-page book,
Palestine, in which he calls for the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel as the highest priority.
However, the deal’s proponents, including President Barack Obama himself, have continually downplayed the anti-Semitic ravings of the Iranian regime and insist it will act rationally to integrate itself into the international community as a result of the nuclear deal.
As President Obama put it, “The fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat … so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations.”
President Obama is mistaken. Other hatreds are also vicious, but at least rational, having to do with real concerns, but anti-Semitism exists in a fantasy world. It’s an obsession with the myth of phenomenal Jewish evil. That’s why it appears in countries without Jews — Japan, for example — attributes almost supernatural powers to them; it has been prominent across time and space in diverse ideologies and preoccupied groups with real problems unconnected to Jews.
Anti-Semites wish to rid the world of the Judaism’s moral-civilizational framework so their own ideologies might flourish. They believe eradicating the Jews is the only path to this goal. People who believe that do not put their hatred on the back-burner. They are willing to risk everything to attain that holy grail.
To judge from what is already known of it, Khamenei’s book can indeed be likened to Hitler’s Mein Kampf in its obsession with destroying the collective Jew.
Thus, 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 and be replaced by “the hegemony of Iran.”
In short, destroying the Jewish state would change everything, to the everlasting benefit of Islam. In this demonology, Israeli becomes a key element in America’s “evil scheme” to dominate “the heartland of the Ummah [Islamic nation].”
Khamenei doesn’t elaborate precisely how Israel is to be destroyed. As described by the New York Post’s Amir Taheri, who obtained a copy of Khamenei’s book, which is unavailable outside Iran, Khamenei uses such words as nabudi (annihilation), imha (fading out) and zaval (effacement) in discussing Israel’s end.
In this likely combination of military and psychological warfare, Khamenei is tactically flexible. He doesn’t rule out a massive war, but he also doesn’t recommend a “classical war” to destroy Israel. Rather, he speaks of a variegated, long-term campaign to turn the country into a hell-hole which Jews will want to leave and which will induce international intervention to cancel Israel’s sovereignty.
In other words, the conflict itself will be used to fan anti-Semitism so that the world will drop Israel and impose its will upon it. Israeli sovereignty will be annulled so a Muslim-dominated state might replace it and from which most Jews would be deported. Those Jews permitted to remain would live as miserable, persecuted dhimmis, legally discriminated against under Islam’s sharia law.
This is only one scenario. Iran has often and recently broadcast official videos of Tel Aviv under a nuclear mushroom cloud and that too is another possibility, given that Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon has been paved by this nuclear deal.
It is perhaps no surprise that an Iranian government video just two weeks ago showed Iranian Revolutionary Guards poised outside Jerusalem, with Persian script declaring Israel must be “erased from the annals of history” and that “the youth will definitely see that day when it comes.” The nuclear deal, with an enriched and nuclear-armed Iran in the near future, encourages that idea.
Holocaust survivors have often said that the lesson of the Nazi genocide is that when someone in power talks about destroying the Jews, it should be taken seriously. President Obama has failed this basic lesson.
The failure or unwillingness to understand the demonological anti-Semitism that led the aging and unwell Khamenei to devote a large book to the subject of destroying the collective Jew lies at the root of President Obama’s extraordinary incomprehension and thus undervaluation of the dangers this genocidal hatred of the Iranian regime and its leader represent.
Morton A. Klein is the president of the Zionist Organization of America.