Владимир Месамед. Антиизраильская риторика как компонент внешней политики иранского руководства

Anti-Israeli Rhetoric as Part of Iran’s Foreign Policy

By Vladimir Mesamed

(Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Open University of Israel )

Source: Judaica Ukrainica 1 (2012): 201–224

Publication date: December 1, 2012

Publication type: article

Language: Russian

Full text:



The article deals with the anti-Israel stance that forms an important component of Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy. Anti-Israel declarations began to be voiced in Iran immediately after the victory of the Islamic revolution. The establishment of the Jewish state and its subsequent recognition were regarded as disastrous for the Muslims by the late revolution’s leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He was the one that urged for the complete destruction of Israel. Khomeini’s successor as the spiritual leader of the country, Ali Khamenei, is also well-known for his anti-Israel rhetoric. He called Israel a cancerous tumor in the Middle East that had to be removed. When the reformists took to power in the years 1997–2005, such stances directed against Israel were rare, and, addressing international and home audiences, then president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami refrained from any declarations of that kind. Anti-Israel rhetoric was harnessed by the current Iranian president, M. Ahmadinejad, mainly to seek wider support by the people of the country and bring the nation together in the face of a foreign threat. As a long-standing enemy, Israel fit well into the image. Anti-Israel rhetoric could be regarded as unconditionally following Khomeini’s legacy, which is a winning strategy in Iran. Moreover, a call to destroy Israel can both boost the solidarity of the Iranians and also provoke the condemnation of the entire world, the West being at the forefront. That’s precisely what Ahmadinejad and his aides are looking for. Following the naturally strong reaction of the world community, Iran can pass off as the victim of an imperialistic Zionist conspiracy. Anti-Israel sentiments have been haunting Ahmadinejad since his first term of office becoming the major component of all of his foreign policy declarations. His recurring declarations have been to “wipe off Israel from the global map”, to remove the Zionist tumor from the Middle East, and the like. Not only has anti-Israel rhetoric intensified under Ahmadinejad, but it has also acquired new forms and directions. Lately, one of the most important of these has been the denial of the Holocaust and the attempts to link it to the problems of the Israel – PLO interaction. Those in Iran that deny the Holocaust find their own peculiar rationale to justify their arguments publishing numerous articles in this connection. By reinforcing anti-Israel rhetoric, Ahmadinejad has been attempting to reach the goal set forth by Iran’s religious elite – to marginalize public opinions in order to retain power at the hands of the very conservative religious leadership of the country.

Keywords: Israeli Studies, Zionism, Iran, anti-Israel rhetoric



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