When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave the speech in which he attacked Israel and described it as a racist state during the Durban II UN anti-racism conference, he was not addressing the international community so much as he was addressing us [the Arabs].
What Ahmadinejad said yesterday about Israel was nothing more than a mild and condensed version of statements that he has repeated in the past. Indeed in the past the Iranian President has vowed to wipe Israel off the map, as well as describing the state of Israel as being illegitimate. Ahmadinejad also said that Israel will be unable to survive, and that the Holocaust is nothing more than a myth. If we remind ourselves of all of this we will realize that Ahmadinejad was [comparatively] pleasant with regards to the language he used on Monday.
It is clear that Ahmadinejad’s speech was essentially aimed at the Arab and Islamic street, and is equivalent to adding credit to the Iranian account, in the same way that credit is added to pre-paid mobile phones. But what will these words add to the Palestinian cause, or to the rights of occupied Arab territories?
Ahmadinejad already promised us that he would drive Israel into the sea, and he [already] said more than he should have, so what can he gain by adding to all this? Rather all that Ahmadinejad did yesterday was prompt the international community to rally around Israel, and boycott the conference for Israel’s sake, indeed those that did not boycott the conference [in the first place] walked out in protest [of Ahmadinejad’s speech].
Arabs have fought 6 wars with Israel, not to mention the various side conflicts that cannot be described as outright wars. We suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties, our lands and cities were invaded, and we lost a large amount of wealth, so is [mere] talk enough for us today?
What has Iran lost for the sake of Palestine? Has Tehran put its troops on the battlefield to face off with Israel? The memory of the recent past shows us that the Iranians prohibited participation in the recent Gaza war, and at the highest level.
Are we in need of words, speeches, and threats?
Of course not! We need action, and the actions that we witnessed yesterday were drowned out by the uproar created by Ahmadinejad’s speech, the Western countries boycott due to this address, and all that occurred surrounding this [issue].
The real action that took place was the decree of the Iranian judiciary to the right of appeal in a “swift and fair” manner with regards to the case of the Iranian – American journalist Roxana Saberi who was sentenced to 8 years in prison on charges of espionage. The Head of Iran’s Judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Sharoudi said in a statement that “the different aspects of this case…should be fairly, accurately, and quickly considered in appeal proceedings.” While Ahmadinejad himself called for Tehran’s Prosecutor General [Saeed Mortazavi] to do “what is necessary to ensure the respect for justice and accuracy with regards to the studying the charges” against Saberi.
This is one thing, as for the second [action] Ahmadinejad also met with the President of Switzerland yesterday. Switzerland is responsible for looking after American interests in Iran since the US embassy hostage crisis. These two points deserve to be followed up upon more than Ahmadinejad’s speech, which was addressed to the Arab and Islamic world.