Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mishuga'as & Danger in Tehran

One doesn't quite know what to make of this past week's "Holocaust" conference in Tehran - to laugh or to cry. Two articles in lead American newspapers point out the utter "madness" of the participants. In one case this is just an annoying curiosity. In the other it is worrying.

The Washington Post reports on the representatives of the ultra Orthodox Neturai Karta who attended the conference.

" ... even by the standards of Neturei Karta, these most ultra of ultra-orthodox Jewish Hasids took a step into the world of the very strange, if not the meshuga, or crazy, when they showed up as honored guests at a conference of Holocaust skeptics and deniers in Tehran. With a hug and a smile for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rabbi Aharon Cohen walked into a conference room with former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, discredited academics, and more than a few white supremacists and served up a rousing welcome speech. 'Let me express my gratitude to the illustrious organizers of this valuable event," Cohen told the 67 delegates from 30 countries ....' "

Neturei Karta oppose the State of Israel, as being against God's will. They attended the conference, they claim, not to deny the Holocaust, but to help point out how it had been used to support the sin of Zionism.

No matter what you think of Zionism, or the right to hold dissenting opinions within the Jewish community, you have to agree, they Neturai Karta have gone too far this time. They have simply lost any sense of - common sense.

Such displeasure could even be heard on the streets in Satmar South Williamsburg- a bastion of anti Zionist ultra -orthodox.

"Sol Wald, 33, sat in his car on a tenement block.... He wagged his head at mention of Neturei Karta. 'I'm against Israel but . . . to go to Tehran is a bad idea,' he said in accented English. 'My grandmother has numbers on her arm .... There are Holocaust deniers there. Jewish people should not participate in that.' "

* * *

The New York Times reports that Ahmadinejad is not just be using his Holocaust denial to tweak the nose of the West, or to cynically inflame the Muslim "street". He actually believes it!

"... why would the Iranians invite speakers with so little credibility in the West, including a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and disgraced European scholars?"

"That question misses the point. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, portrays participants like David Duke, the former Louisiana Klan leader, and Robert Faurisson of France, who has devoted his life to trying to prove that the Nazi gas chambers were a myth, as silenced truth-tellers whose stories expose Western leaders as the hypocrites he considers them to be."

"... But there is another important point. Mr. Ahmadinejad actually seems to believe that the volumes of documentation, testimony and living memory of the Nazi genocide are at best exaggerated and part of a Zionist conspiracy to falsify history so as to create the case for Israel. As a former member of the Revolutionary Guards, he was indoctrinated with such thinking, a political analyst in Tehran said, and as a radical student leader, he championed such a view."

I find this more worrying than if Ahmadinejad was a cynical manipulator. Someone so convinced he is right, and so clueless about real world history, so confirmed in his fantasy view of reality, is very dangerous indeed.

Hopefully there are other, saner heads in Iran, who can control Ahmadinejad.

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