Monday, 5 October 2009

A New Torquemada


It was just so fascinating to learn in the Saturday edition of the Daily Telegraph that Amadinejad the Mighty, the pretender president of Iran, is of Jewish ancestry, something that he has kept well hidden…until now. There is a picture of his identity card, showing that his name was changed from Sabourjian, a Jewish surname meaning ‘cloth weaver’, when the family converted to Islam after his birth.

Insofar as one is able to judge these things on the basis of appearance alone, I always thought he looked very Semitic, much more so than the average Iranian. There was always for me something slightly odd about his continuing Holocaust denial and exaggerated hostility towards Israel, a state that has never harmed Iran in any direct manner.

Yes, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial exist elsewhere in the Muslim world, but no leader of any note has stuck to this position in such a public, consistent and wholly egregious manner, even to the point of hosting conferences on the question. Well, now we know; it’s a form of over-compensation, a symptom of those uncertain of themselves and their true belonging. Converts, after all, are often far more enthusiastic about their new faith, and hostile to the old, than those born into a tradition. I would say that this puts him, emotionally and psychologically, on exactly the same level as Tom├ís de Torquemada, another famous convert and Jew-hater.

Torquemada was the first Inquisitor-General of Spain, confessor to Queen Isabella, and a driving force behind the decision to expel the Jews after the conquest of Granada in 1492. Before that he was notorious for his persecution of the so called ‘crypto-Jews’, those who had converted to Christianity, usually to save their lives, but continued to practice the old faith in private. He was the most ferocious Inquisitor Spain ever had and, as I have said, of Jewish ancestry himself but more Catholic than the most Catholic.

So, Torquemada and Amadinejad, men of different faiths, but a shared passion, the passion of hate and the passion-dare I suggest?-of self hate. In general I believe anti-Semitism, especially when it attains pathological heights, says so much about the people who embrace it than it does about the supposedly malign power of the Jews. It suggests to me that they have something they wish to hide, something about themselves, something about their background and identity. I’m not suggesting that they all have Jewish ancestry like Torquemada and Amadinejad-that would be absurd-, simply that hatred of that kind is not arrived at by any process of rational deduction. It’s merely a sign of some deep-rooted personal insecurity.

Oh, and incidentally, so far as the Holocaust is concerned, by the criteria laid down at the Wannsee Conference in 1942, Amadinejad would most likely have been considered a full Jew regardless of his personal faith. Ironically he may therefore himself, in different circumstances, have been a victim of the very Holocaust that he denies ever took place.

17 comments:

  1. The man's a nutter. He actually believes that if he dared attack Israel, the Mahdi (Jesus) will descend and perform Jihad on Iran's behlf and lead Islam to Victory and global domination.

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  2. Such tortured souls! These examples are certainly testimony to the power of religions and the strength of will needed to escape one. But, may not the same be said of political affiliations? I am reminded of the affinity between Communism and Nazism - and the bitterness that resulted when the respected leaders came to blows, and socialists eveywhere had to make a choice over which socialist doctrine to give their hearts to.

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  3. Yes, I know, Rehan. It's the fanatics who always bring the greatest misery in their trail.

    Yes, absolutely, JM. Hitler turned a personal pathology into politics. Scapegoating was also a constant feature of Communist states. Stalin's last projected purge gave every indication of turning into a kind of pogrom.

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  4. Ana, I should have looked in here first. It is always helpful to have pictorial reference to historical facts one is not familiar with :)

    Have not 'visited' you here for a while. Do not know where I have been!

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  5. Nice to see you, Shermeen. You will always be welcome. What an odd place that MyT site is, some really genuine and intersting people like you among so many bitter and angry old men. :-))

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  6. Ana,
    This is a very interesting finding about the controversial man.

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  7. He certainly keeps me interested. :-)

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  8. Your assessment of the roots of the anti-Semitism of Amhadinejad and Toquemada may be right, but more importantly you make the point that obssessive hatred says a lot about the people doing the hating. It is not only anti-Semites who have this obssession and behave in this way against all logic and rational argument.

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  9. Yes, and I know exactly what you mean and why you are saying this. Darling, please forgive me, but no amount of reasonable argument will work with certain people. And you know exactly what I mean. :-)

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  10. Ahmadinajad, does repeatedly make the point that in Iran there is large jewish community which he says is living peacefully. Further, he has close links with Rabbi's against Zionism. His position, at least as he states it, is not so anti-jew but anti-zionism- which I think is perfectly understandable. As for holocaust denying, well, what he says is 1)that he wants the deniers to be given the freedom to deny and not be incarcerated as they are in Austria and Germany.2) He says 'even if it did happen', it was done by Germans not the Palestinians. Personally, on all accounts, what is happening in palestine is atrocious. Would you want to be born a palestine? I wouldn't, I rather be a jew in Iran.

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  11. Not so old then? :-)

    Honestly, I would not be quick to take this man's word on anything. If he said two plus two equals four I would have to double-check. I do have some sympathies with the Palestinians, but they have been atrociously ill-served by their leaders, all the way back to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in the 1930s. As far as Iran is concerned I would not even wish to be a dog there.

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  12. Ha!I wouldn't want to be a 'dog' anywhere, personally! But if you don't rely on what he says, or what he does-and since what he says and what he does do go together for as far as I can tell, even if there are ulterior political considerations, but then there are ulterior motives for everyone, not just the 'axis of evil'- then what do you rely upon? You say you can't understand his logic. It seems perfectly clear: 1) he hates Israeli treatment of Palestine. 2) Hating Israeli treatment of probably palestine is good politically for him.

    Simple.

    Palestinians may have had bad leadership, but that doesn't mean Israel can violate every written Human right ever written in systematic suppression of a whole race of people.

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  13. It's always good for demagogue's like the Magic Midget to conjur up scapegoats of one kind or another. As far as I am concerned it's enterly cynical. Many of the people of Iran itself suffer from persecuations quite as intense as those of the Palestinians.

    Yes, rights are important. A goverment is obliged to protect the rights of it's citizens against indiscriminate rocket fire from places like, say, Gaza and from organisations that threaten their destruction like, say, Hammas. There are no easy answers here, but I do stress that I am not an uncritical supporter of Israel, though it's the only place I chose to live in in the whole of the Middle East, dog or not. :-))

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  14. I thought you may find this video interesting (outdated but still good):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLmG9QSlxQQ

    You mention certain groups undergoing persecution in Iran. I know LGBTs have it bad, but they have it bad in most countries, and since all crimes receive draconian punishment in Iran, more severe than elsewhere, it isn't surprising that the punishment for homosexuality is extreme as well. The other community is Bahai. Jews ironically are given protection, well at least on paper.
    All indication seems to me that Iran is anti Israel, not anti-Jew. But that's just the impression I get. But maybe I'm just naive :)

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  15. Thanks, OC; I'll have a look at that later. By the way my comment about Israel should read that it is the only place that I would chose to live in in that region. I don't want to give any misleading impressions. :-))

    Oh, the presecution goes beyond gays; religious minorities and political opponents, the Green Movement in particular, have been targetted.

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  16. I am a Torquemada and to be compared with anyone because of my name does not bother me.
    My daughter once told me I "may" have Jewish ancestry if that is the case I would be proud of it. I am proud of my ancestors no matter WHO they are.
    My present contention is that Jewish have not changed much since Jesus was with us, he was betrayed by them, further more, they were to cowards to kill Jesus themselves, they used a third party to do their dirty work. Before you start calling me anti- anything, I respect the Jewish people, but I am against the Israel government with their plans of expansionism and the brutality against the Palestinian people.

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  17. Thanks, TSK, and welcome to my blog. :-)

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