Iranian leaders’ incitement to genocide against the Jewish people

Published: 25 July 2008
Briefing Number 217

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“In the Middle East , they [the global powers] have created a black and filthy microbe called the Zionist regime….”

- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a speech in Bandar Abbas on 20 February 2008 , reported on the President's own website,

“In the near future, we will witness the destruction of the cancerous microbe Israel by the strong and capable hands of the nation of Hizbollah…

- Message of February 2008 from General Muhammad Ali Jafari, Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards, to the Secretary General of Hizbollah, Hassan Nasrallah (reported on , 18 February 2008 )

“ Israel is heading towards annihilation….. it is a dried rotten corpse that will collapse with a single storm….”

- Ahmadeinejad, 16 April 2006 , reported on the President's website, and by CBS News

“The countdown has begun for the destruction of the Zionist regime…”

- Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, speaker of the Iranian Parliament, February 2008, reported on

These are just four quotes from a report on Iranian attitudes towards Israel written by Dr Joshua Teitelbaum for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs ( ), and published in July 2008. The report is entitled ‘What Iranian Leaders Really Say About Doing Away With Israel' and it refutes the claim that Iran's President is merely calling for a change in the policies or outlook of the Israeli government, or that he is using “bluster” (the recent description used by a Newsweek magazine reporter).

Teitelbaum, a senior research fellow at the Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies in Tel Aviv, shows that the call by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel, in effect, to be “wiped off the map”, in October 2005, was not a one-off call.

Ahmadinejad himself has repeated that view many times since. But Teitelbaum makes clear that many other members of the Iranian elite do the same.

The effect is that Israel is being dehumanised by Iran – portrayed as a stain or infection in the region which will be obliterated. Time and again in history, collective dehumanisation of a people has served as a precursor for actual or attempted genocide. Dr Teitelbaum concludes that there is “ample legal basis for the prosecution of Ahmadinejad in the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court for direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity…”. Reading Teitelbaum's study, it is hard to disagree.

(“Direct and public incitement to commit genocide” is a crime under international law, and prohibited under Article 8 of the Geneva Convention).

Key messages

It is not just Iran 's nuclear ambitions which pose a global threat. It is those ambitions in conjunction with Iran 's sustained and public dehumanisation of the Jewish nation, and its threats of genocide, which pose the threat.

Other resources: The JCPA produces many first-class materials on the Iranian crisis (see ). We on Beyond Images have published Briefing 216, on the NIE Report into Iran 's nuclear plans. And see generally ‘the Iranian threat' on the Beyond Images website.