Jussi Sinnemaa, A Shill For Iran..Replies…….

I can’t help but include the recent exchange between myself and Finland’s Rauhanpulustajat’s ME analyst, Jussi Sinnemaa. He provides an excellent example of someone “willing to chuck the public record into the mire, in order to safeguard an anti-American ideology. Its a classic case of denial and ideology winning over facts, right in the same league with Holocaust deniers and 9/11 conspiracy thinkers. Sinnemaa (self acclaimed Finnish ME analyst) chose an openly anti-Israel crank to quote, professor Juan Cole, then describes him as not being anything of the sort, though he signed an absurd petition in 2002, that accused Israel of planing to exploit a war against Iraq, with the mass explusion of Palestinians. Read on. KGS

Jussi Sinnemaa: While I don´t have time to engage in a lengthy debate, here is a short reply to your criticism.

KGS: “One wonders how he can twist words so, that no longer mean what the Iranian leader said. Its a mater of public record that Ahmadinejad was quoting the late Ayatollah Komanei’s words of the need to get rid of Israel.”

In my article I point out that Ahmadinejad was indeed quoting Khomeini, but You and I disagree on the exact translation. I am supported by several eminent Persian scholars (and I mean scholars of the Persian language, rather than Iranian scholars) including professor Juan Cole – who can hardly be described as anti-Israeli – in saying that “wiping Israel off the map” is certainly a mistranslation; the call is for “the Zionist regime (or more appropriate the regime occupying al-Qods) to be removed from the pages of time”. While You will certainly interpret this differently, many people regard this statement as a wish for the regime to disappear, rather than Iran actively destroying the regime (which it cannot realistically do anyway). I have yet to see an Iranian leader saying outright that Iran will do the destroying.

“Other Iranian leaders have mentioned Israel’s destruction as well, that is disgusting in itself, but none have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction as much as Ahmadinejad.”

I agree. But as I also point out in my article, many Israelis (for instance professor Martin van Creveld) have said that “it cannot be argued that a nuclear Iran is a threat to Israel”, considering the Israeli nuclear arsenal can turn Tehran, and several other major cities, into radioactive wasteland.

“Why Sinnemaa would choose to downplay the offencive words of Ahamdinejad, can be summed up in his antipathy towards Zionism, the Jewish national movement for self determination.It appears that your frequent commentator is “on the same page” with Ahmadinejad, (getting rid of Zionism = destroying the Jewish state)while being at odds with Ahmadinejad’s own understanding of what he meant.”

This You are simply making up, either through carelessness or dishonesty; I certainly don´t agree with Ahmadinejad, I was merely pointing out what he actually said. In Your view I probably seem off-message, as I don´t consider Iran a grave threat to the existence of Israel, but then, would You say Martin van Creveld is “on the same page” with Ahmadinejad?

“Do you not see a gross contradiction in defending a man calling for the destruction of another people, on a peace promoting website?”

Once again, I was hardly defending Ahmadinejad. I did, however, also point out that Ahmadinejad is not the man ultimately in charge in Iran, so while he can say what he wants, he has no say over practical decisions with regard to Iranian foreign policy. As You must know, Iran has been secretly dealing with Israel in a number of ways after the Islamic revolution; the Israeli government, for instance, has, for some reason, seen it fit to sell lots of weapons to Iran. If this is news to You, I suggest You read the dissertation of Dr Trita Parsi (of Johns Hopkins University), which concentrates on Iran-Israeli relations. It would certainly be a gross contradiction if a peace-promoting website called for war, be it an Iranian attack on Israel or a US/Israeli attack on Iran. Nothing of the sort has happened on our website.
Jussi SinnemaaHelsinki

My reply:
Dear Mr.Sinnemaa,

Let me first state, it appears that your understanding of what Ahmadinejad said, comes solely from the U of M professor, Juan Cole, “the Oliver Stone of Middle Eastern studies”. [1]

However, there was an ‘actual Iranian’ from the NYT’s bureau staff in Tehran, who was there covering the openly racist “World Without Zionism” convention. Nazila Fathi translated his words in the very same way the rest of the world did. [2]

“Our dear Imam said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front. This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime [Israel] has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world.” “If we get through this brief period successfully, the path of eliminating the occupying regime will be easy and down-hill.”

It also appears that Juan Cole’s claim about his unprecedented prowess as a multi linguist “expert par excellence”, is not altogether as airtight as he would have others believe, not even daring to speak in Arabic with the renowned Fouad Ajami in an Al-Jazeera debate forum.[3] If Cole’s Persian is as good as his Arabic, then it will be understandable when he asks to be excused from speaking it in a public setting. Taking into context the forum in which the words uttered by Ahmadinejad were spoken, he did say what he was reported as saying, “the complete destruction of Israel”. Any attempt at mitigating his words by saying “that’s not really what he said,” is nothing more than “word weaseling”. Trusting in Juan Cole’s version of things some would say, was down right foolish.

As for Martin van Creveld’s analysis that “Iran would not dare strike”. The professor is using the very same logic “that stopped Adolf Hitler from launching a war on two fronts”. (I hope you understand the irony in the statement). What you also have not addressed, is the religious fanaticism that has taken hold of the Mullah led government, were in Shii’a messianism, “the Mahdi will right all wrongs, bringing justice to the Islamic world”. In other words, you cannot trust fanatics to react rationally to the arguments of sound logic and reason, anymore than Hitler’s own generals could persuade their own Furher. The troubling thing about all this is the Mullacracy is throwing its full weight behind Ahmadinejad, event to the point of instituting a dress code for all of Iran.

As for your reply: “This You are simply making up, either through carelessness or dishonesty; I certainly don´t agree with Ahmadinejad, I was merely pointing out what he actually said.”

When one dares to offer a counter argument concerning a well known factual statement, uttered by an internationally known racist and genocidal religious fanatic, then excuse me if I dared to conclude that you were in agreement with him (seeing that Ahamdinejad had reaffirmed his position) [4]. It was utterly foolish to believe that; “because Juan Cole says differently, it therefore must be so”. By boldly proffering untruths, (because you believe it buttresses your ideology where the US is concerned), you have made yourself appear to believe in the removal of a fellow democracy (Israel), by appearing as a ‘shill’ for Ahmadinejad. As far as the sale of Israeli weapons to Iran are concerned, it has no bearing on what Ahmadinejad has said on numerous occasions.

One should be careful of the position one takes, especially when it runs counter to documented fact. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.


1.) http://www.writely.com/View.aspx?docid=bbjmx5zr9zvc3 “After clearing a significant procedural hurdle earlier this month, University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, who is better known as an Internet blogger, could soon be offered a full tenured position at Yale. With a resume thin on recent scholarship and a long track record of highly inflammatory and often inaccurate statements, Mr. Cole is widely considered a surprise pick to serve at one of America’s most storied institutions. Even within the Yale campus, the university’s impending move is controversial.”

2.) http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/30/weekinreview/30iran.html?ex=1148443200&en=4862002d843dd3b5&ei=5070
“This is a translation, by Nazila Fathi in The New York Times Tehran bureau, of the October 26 speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to an Islamic Student Associations conference on “The World Without Zionism.” The conference was held in Tehran, at the Interior Ministry.”

3.) http://sandbox.blog-city.com/commander_of__arabic.htm “Cole appeared the other day on Al-Jazeera to discuss the Iraqi elections with Fouad Ajami and an Iraqi opposition figure. Cole decided to speak in English, apologizing to his Arab viewers that “the subject requires precision.” So I guess they gave his remarks Arabic subtitles. Now I wouldn’t dare to speak Arabic on Al-Jazeera either, but then I don’t make the boast that Cole makes: “Unlike a lot of American specialists in the Middle East, who did one Fulbright year and now find their language is rusty, I kept up my Arabic.” His bio also claims that he “commands Arabic.”

4.) http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3160691,00.html “Iranian president stands by call to ‘wipe Israel off map,’ says statement was ‘right and just.’; meanwhile, tens of thousands of Iranians hold anti-Israel protests, call for Israel’s destruction AFP and AP Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday confirmed he is standing by earlier remarks that Israel should be “wiped off the map,” adding that his controversial remark was “right and just”. “It is natural that if a word is right and just it will provoke a reaction,” he was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA. “My words are the exact words of the Iranian people.”

One further note and nail in Sinnemaa’s POV. His statement that Juan Cole is not anti-Israel defies gravity: “including professor Juan Cole – who can hardly be described as anti-Israeli”.

Cole: It is an echo of the one-two punch secretly planned by the pro-Likud faction in the Department of Defense. First, Iraq would be taken out by the United States, and then Iran. David Wurmser, a key member of the group, also wanted Syria included. These pro-Likud intellectuals concluded that 9-11 would give them carte blanche to use the Pentagon as Israel’s Gurkha regiment, fighting elective wars on behalf of Tel Aviv (not wars that really needed to be fought, but wars that the Likud coalition thought it would be nice to see fought so as to increase Israel’s ability to annex land and act aggressively, especially if someone else’s boys did the dying).—August 29, 2004″

I rest my case. KGS

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