The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) responded to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s allegations of a “horrendous Zionist clan ruling world affairs” with caution Thursday, as it warned of the danger of such statements as “a hallmark of the hate filled and irrational nature of the Iranian regime”.
Describing Ahmadinejad’s claims that “Zionism is the modern times plight of human society”, ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement: “Despite having heard such words before from the likes of Ahmadinejad, they have more ominous overtones and should be taken seriously as the Iranian regime continues on its march toward a nuclear weapon.”
Iranian media reported the controversial president’s comments in an address to ambassadors of Islamic countries in Tehran, ahead of the annual Quds Day (Jerusalem Day) celebrations on August 17. “Any freedom lover and justice seeker in the world must do its best for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the path for the establishment of justice and freedom in the world,” he asserted, continuing to elaborate on a “Clandestine Zionist minority” masterminding world affairs.
Foxman seizes on the blunt use of the term “Zionist” to mean world Jewry, rather than merely Israelis, conflating anti-Israel with anti-Jewish sentiment. “In his bluntness, Ahmadinejad cuts through the false dichotomy of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism when he uses the term “Zionist” to describe alleged Jewish control of the world for 400 years.”
Earlier this week, the Iranian leader slammed Republican Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel at the weekend, during which he aggravated criticism by describing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Ahmadinejad spoke of “presidential election hopefuls kissing the feet of the Zionist to ensure their victory in the election”, further accusing him of “justifying the entire criminal acts of that regime” by meeting with the Israeli leadership.
Foxman warned the international community not to make excuses for or disregard Ahmadinejad’s more outlandish statements, describing the Iranian threat as “serious” and the comments as “Ahmadinejad’s most comprehensive anti-Semitic speech yet”.