By Ryan McGreal
Published July 17, 2007
In a June 20 vote, the US Congress demonstrated that they overwhelmingly, catastrophically even, have no clue what they're talking about. Congress voted 411 to two (Dennis Kucich and Ron Paul), with 11 abstentions and eight absences, in favour of:
Calling on the United Nations Security Council to charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the United Nations Charter because of his calls for the destruction of the State of Israel
There's just one teeny-weensy problem with this noble sentiment: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not actually calling for the destruction of the State of Israel.
Ahmadinejad is almost certainly an anti-Semite (or at the very least plays one convincingly to shore up his jingoistic cred among those hardline Iranians who still support him). He has questioned the Holocaust, for example, and even hosted a forum for Holocaust deniers.
He's also made a comment about the Israeli occupation of Palestine that generated much controversy when it was translated into English. When he said this, a translator expressed the sentiment as "Israel must be wiped off the map." The problem is that such an idiom does not exist in Farsi, which means the translation is actually an interpretation - and not a neutral one at that.
Literally translated, Ahmadinejad said he hopes the regime occupying Palestine would vanish "from the page of time". Since the regime occupying Palestine is directly and unequivocally in direct violation of international law, Ahmadinejad's sentiment is actually supported by most of the world's governments and by the charter of the UN itself.
For the record, Iran's official position on Israel, expressed formally by the people who actually run the country and not the Presidential figurehead, is that everyone in the territory that Israel occupies should be allowed to decide democratically what form the government should take.
It's too bad that the Senatorial figureheads in the US don't seem capable of this basic level of comprehension about international affairs.