Friday, September 22, 2006

'We have no problem with people - just Zionists '

The Washington Post reports on Iranian President Ahmadinejad's news conference in New York: (with thanks: Albert)

"We love everyone around the world. Jews, Christians, Muslims, non-Muslims, non-Jews, non-Christians -- we have no problem with people," (president Ahmadinejad) told a news conference on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly meeting.

"Zionists are Zionists, period. They are not Jews, they are not Christians, and they are not Muslims," he said. "They are a power group, a power party, and we oppose the oppression and the aggression that any party that seeks pure raw power goes after."

Zionism is the name of the movement to establish a Jewish homeland that led to the creation of the state of Israel nearly 60 years ago. Ahmadinejad says he favors a return of Palestinians to the land now called Israel, and a referendum "with the participation of everyone" to determine its fate.

Felice Gaer, director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, dismissed the president's distinction between Jews and Zionists.

"Ahmadinejad's desire to rid the world of Israel is the transference of the classical bigoted treatment of the Jew to the state of the Jews," she said. "There is an inextricable historic Jewish connection with the land of Israel. As Martin Luther King said, 'When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews."'

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