Last month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made an apparent about-face on the nuclear talks, praising the Iranian negotiators for their tenacity and bravery. However, predictably, he sprinkled even this message with more than a dash of his usual vehement rhetoric towards the West.
Now, the media is abuzz over the latest addition to Khamenei’s literary output (though apparently it isn’t much more than a collection of previously published material) – a book that has been variously described as the Supreme Leader’s “screed” against Israel, in which he advocates its destruction by means of “low-intensity warfare” against Israelis “who would prefer emigration to the United States or Europe to daily threats of death,” as his guide to “deceiving” the United States, as and his “version of Mein Kampf.”
An exaggerated comparison? Not really – Khamenei’s language in the publication, which is currently only available in Iran (though an Arabic translation is said to be forthcoming), mirrors (and is evidently inspired by) the rhetoric of Hitler, who famously likened the Jews to “a cancer on the breast of Germany;” to Khamenei, Israel is “a cancerous tumor” of which the world must be cured (Incidentally, in the place of Israel’s so-called “Western hegemony” and “evil schemes,” Khamenei advocates not democracy, but “the hegemony of Iran.”)
But Khamenei staunchly has denied that the inspiration for his 416-page tome, entitled “Palestine,” is clearly derived from anti-Semitic sources, though the press easily saw through claims of “Islamic” inspiration – and even pointed out that the book reflects “ignorance of Islamic traditions.” According to Amir Taheri of The New York Post, who read a copy of the book, Khamenei ascribes the ideology contained within it to “well-established Islamic principles” rather than to anti-Semitism. Apparently, it is “Islamic principles” that state that a land ruled by Muslims once must be ruled by Muslims, which inspire Khamenei to envision himself praying in Jerusalem – with Israel, and its Jews, off the map. As pointed out by Jonathan Tobin in Commentary Magazine, the same principle would apply to Spain and India, among other countries. Clearly, the press has seen through Khamenei and his new book; but will its language be rationalized by Western leaders hoping to placate Iran’s ayatollahs?