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May 02, 2006

Hitch Takedown of Juan Cole

He's like an intellectual Achilles. Just one foe after another falls under his onslaught.

Hitch is no fan of Israel, to be sure, but here he absolutely eviserates supposed Middle East expert and unpaid Iranian lobbyist Juan Cole.

The whole column is worth reading, but here's the best part:

Cole continues to present himself as an expert on Shiism and on the Persian, Arabic, and Urdu tongues. Let us see how his claim vindicates itself in practice. Here is what he wrote on the "Gulf 2000" e-mail chat-list on April 22:
It bears repeating as long as the accusation is made. Ahmadinejad did not "threaten" to "wipe Israel off the map." I'm not sure there is even such an idiom in Persian. He quoted Khomeini to the effect that "the Occupation regime must end" (ehtelal bayad az bayn berad). And, no, it is not the same thing. It is about what sort of regime people live under, not whether they exist at all. Ariel Sharon, after all, made the Occupation regime in Gaza end.

...

In fact, Khomeini's injunctions are referred to twice [in a speech by Ahmadnejad, quoting Khomeini with regard to Israel]. Quite possibly, "wiped off the map" is slightly too free a translation of what he originally said, and what it is mandatory for his followers to repeat. So, I give it below, in Persian and in English, and let you be the judge:

Esrail ghiyam-e mossalahaane bar zed-e mamaalek-e eslami nemoodeh ast va bar doval va mamaalek-eeslami ghal-o-gham aan lazem ast.

My source here is none other than a volume published by the Institute for Imam Khomeini. Here is the translation:

Israel has declared armed struggle against Islamic countries and its destruction is a must for all governments and nations of Islam.

This is especially important, and is also the reason for the wide currency given to the statement: It is making something into a matter of religious duty. The term "ghal-o-gham" is an extremely strong and unambivalent one, of which a close equivalent rendering would be "annihilate."

Emphasis added. How cute is it that Juan Cole offers his doubt that Persian contains the EXACT IDIOM for "wiped off the map"? Well of course one language probably doesn't offer such an exactly-similar idiom. But "annihilate" means not just to destroy, but to destroy without even leaving so much of a trace behind, so I think "wiped off the map" is a fair approximation of the term.

Hmmmm... Hitchens quotes from a translation by the INSTITUTE FOR IMAM KHOMEINI -- who, you know, I think would know -- while Juan Cole apparently gets his translations from Stuff Ahmadnejad Said, And Didn't Say, Deluxe Anti-Semite Edition (with a special afterword by Klaus Barbi).

This guy is a professor and an EXPERT, though. You should listen to him, because he knows a lot more than you, and would never think of lying to you to advance his jihadist-apologist agenda.

Thanks to Allah.


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posted by Ace at 04:47 PM

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