Ahmadinejad’s chutzpa

James Taranto’s ‘Best of the web’ of 3 January points out the cheeky paradox in President’s Ahmadinejad’s latest rantings. Scroll down to Yeah, that’s the ticket! (with thanks: Lily)

“The good news is that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s harebrained head of state, now says the Holocaust happened after all. The bad news is–well, we’ll let the Associated Press take it from here:
Ahmadinejad . . . has now charged that European countries sought to complete the genocide by establishing Israel, a Jewish state in the midst of Muslim countries. . . .
“Don’t you think that continuation of genocide by expelling Jews from Europe was one of [the Europeans’] aims in creating a regime of occupiers of [Jerusalem]?” the official Islamic Republic News agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
“Isn’t that an important question?”
Ahmadinejad said Europeans had decided to create a “Jewish camp” as the best means for ridding the continent of Jews and said the camp, Israel, now enjoyed support from the United States and Europe in what he termed the slaughter of Muslims.
Talk about chutzpah. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Europe has 2.3 million Jews, and 11 of the 20 countries with the biggest Jewish populations are in Europe: Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Germany, Belarus, Hungary, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and Moldova.
By contrast, among predominately Muslim countries, the one with the biggest Jewish population is Iran itself, which places 25th with an estimated 20,405 Jews. This is less than one-fifth of Germany’s Jewish population, and other estimates (such as this one) have the number much smaller.
The only other majority-Muslim countries to crack the top 50 are Turkey (17,415 Jews), Azerbaijan (7,911), Morocco (5,236) and Kazakhstan (4,100). The depopulation of Jews from the Arab and Muslim worlds is largely a postwar phenomenon; according to the JVL, Iraq’s Jewish population had declined to around 100 by 2003 from 150,000 in 1948:
After the establishment of Israel in 1948, Zionism became a capital crime.
In 1950, Iraqi Jews were permitted to leave the country within a year provided they forfeited their citizenship. A year later, however, the property of Jews who emigrated was frozen and economic restrictions were placed on Jews who chose to remain in the country. . . .
In 1952, Iraq’s government barred Jews from emigrating and publicly hanged two Jews after falsely charging them with hurling a bomb at the Baghdad office of the U.S. Information Agency.

With the rise of competing Ba’ath factions in 1963, additional restrictions were placed on the remaining Iraqi Jews. The sale of property was forbidden and all Jews were forced to carry yellow identity cards. After the Six-Day War, more repressive measures were imposed: Jewish property was expropriated; Jewish bank accounts were frozen; Jews were dismissed from public posts; businesses were shut; trading permits were cancelled; telephones were disconnected. Jews were placed under house arrest for long periods of time or restricted to the cities.

Persecution was at its worst at the end of 1968. Scores were jailed upon the discovery of a local “spy ring” composed of Jewish businessmen. Fourteen men–eleven of them Jews–were sentenced to death in staged trials and hanged in the public squares of Baghdad; others died of torture. On January 27, 1969, Baghdad Radio called upon Iraqis to “come and enjoy the feast.” Some 500,000 men, women and children paraded and danced past the scaffolds where the bodies of the hanged Jews swung; the mob rhythmically chanted “Death to Israel” and “Death to all traitors.” This display brought a world-wide public outcry that Radio Baghdad dismissed by declaring: “We hanged spies, but the Jews crucified Christ.”

“The Jews of Iran have not fared as badly as their Iraqi counterparts, but the mad mullahs have hardly been good for the Jews:

“Under the Pahlavi Dynasty, established in 1925, the country was secularized and oriented toward the West. This greatly benefited the Jews, who were emancipated and played an important role in the economy and in cultural life. On the eve of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, 80,000 Jews lived in Iran. In the wake of the upheaval, tens of thousands of Jews, especially the wealthy, left the country, leaving behind vast amounts of property.

“So it would be more accurate to say that Arab countries since 1948, joined by Iran since 1979, have been following the lead of the Germans of the Nazi era and depopulating themselves of Jews.

In other words, ethnic cleansing.

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