How the Ayatollah Duped the Forward (and How the New York Times Plays Along)
Here’s the New York Times headline:
There you go! A reporter who was accompanied by Iranian agents everywhere he went found no evidence of extremism!
“Though I had to work with a government fixer and translator, I decided which people I wanted to interview and what I would ask them,” Mr. [Larry] Cohler-Esses wrote in the first of two articles from his July reporting trip.
The bigger news is that the Forward reporter was duped because he didn’t do his homework. In this section that the NYT also highlighted, Cohler-Esses writes:
During the course of my conversations with several senior ayatollahs and prominent political and government officials, it became clear that there is high-placed dissent to the official line against Israel. No one had anything warm to say about the Jewish state. But pressed as to whether it was Israel’s policies or its very existence to which they objected, several were adamant: It’s Israel’s policies. Others, notwithstanding their ideological objection to a Jewish state, made it clear they would accept a two-state solution to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians if the Palestinians were to negotiate one and approve it in a referendum.
Almost unbelievably, Kohler-Esses doesn’t know what they meant by this “referendum.”
This “referendum” that they are referring to would be open to all who identify themselves as Palestinian around the world, at last count some 12 million. Jews could only vote if their ancestors had lived in Ottoman Palestine and they still live in Israel. The “referendum” would then be to decide what to do with the Jews who moved to Israel since 1948. Those millions of Jews don’t have a vote. The Ayatollah knows that the results of this “referendum” would be to expel all the Jews who have lived in Israel for less than a century.
“Referendum,” when used by Iranians, is a codeword for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel. And they admit this freely for people who bother to read their writings.
But there may be an infinitesimal theoretical chance that these “Palestinians” would vote to allow a Jewish state on land that they claim as being stolen from them.
This is what these clerics and officials are saying, and dupes like Larry Cohler-Esses are too ignorant of the facts to understand that he has been made into a fool.
This is explicit in Ayatollah Khamenei’s writings. But the Forward journalist is too enamored with the idea of a moderate Iran that he doesn’t even know the basics of how Khamenei wants to destroy Israel – something that his interviewees agree with but were not asked.
So we see clearly how the Forward is duped:
Hossein Kanani Moghaddam, a British-trained civil engineer, has been deeply involved in his government’s nuclear development program — as an environmental designer for civilian generators, he stressed. But his enduring claim to wide fame was that he was the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s top commander during the war against Iraq. A candidate in the 2012 presidential election won by Rouhani, Moghaddam was also, without a doubt, the most fervently anti-Zionist person I met during my seven-day stay in Iran — to the point of anti-Semitism. Moghaddam believes, for example, that “all the world capital, all the investment, the banks, the charities, the economics are under the control of Zionism… 1% of the world is Jewish, but they control all the economy in the world.”
He also believes Jews who have immigrated to Israel from elsewhere should go back to their native land.
Yet when I asked Moghaddam about a two-state solution for Israel and for Palestinians, he replied: “Yes. I’d accept a two-state solution if it were negotiated and put to a referendum, and people in this area chose two separate places. Okay, we will follow them” — so long, he added, as Jerusalem, which he held as holy under Islam, was reserved as a city to be shared by “all the monotheistic religions.”
Without knowing the basic facts of this “referendum,” the Forward is claiming that this guy accepts a two-state solution. And one other interviewee used that same magic word “referendum” as well.
Larry Kohler-Esses also didn’t ask these same officials if they support Iran’s arming terror groups in the territories. Which Khamenei does, and he has said so repeatedly.
If only Kohler-Esses had bothered reading the Ayatollah Khamenei’s tweets, in English, while researching his trip that he had requested two years ago. He could have read this:
Now, was anything these clerics said inconsistent with the Ayatollah’s plan to destroy Israel?
This is journalistic malpractice.
Oh, and one other thing: The Forward journalist was allowed to enter Iran literally the week after Quds Day, when thousands of Iranians shout “Death to Israel” in unison in the streets. For some strange reason, his request for a visa was not granted for that day. And he doesn’t mention it.
And a quick Google search for “Death to Israel” – even in Hebrew – finds dozens of Iranian websites. Too bad Mr. Kohler-Esses didn’t seek out the many people who express their anti-Israel opinions so freely online.
The Forward was duped, and the New York Times takes out even what little context the Forward article had.