The rumor continues…

On The Jerusalem Post website, a debate is seemingly underway. Readers comments are posted and links provided. Here are some excerpts.

Across the world, a dangerous rumor has spread that could have catastrophic implications. According to legend, Iran’s President has threatened to destroy Israel, or, to quote the misquote, “Israel must be wiped off the map”. Contrary to popular belief, this statement was never made, as the following article will prove.

The Speech – again, in its original language and translation is available here. Readers who speak Farsi are invited to comment.

Before we get to the infamous remark, it’s important to note that the “quote” in question was itself a quote— they are the words of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Revolution. Although he quoted Khomeini to affirm his own position on Zionism, the actual words belong to Khomeini and not Ahmadinejad. Thus, Ahmadinejad has essentially been credited (or blamed) for a quote that is not only unoriginal, but represents a viewpoint already in place well before he ever took office.



So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in farsi:

“Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad.

That passage will mean nothing to most people, but one word might ring a bell: rezhim-e. It is the word “Regime“, pronounced just like the English word with an extra “eh” sound at the end. Ahmadinejad did not refer to Israel the country or Israel the land mass, but the Israeli regime. This is a vastly significant distinction, as one cannot wipe a regime off the map. Ahmadinejad does not even refer to Israel by name, he instead uses the specific phrase “rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods” (regime occupying Jerusalem).

So this raises the question.. what exactly did he want “wiped from the map”? The answer is: nothing. That’s because the word “map” was never used. The Persian word for map, nagsheh, is not contained anywhere in his original farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in his entire speech. Nor was the western phrase “wipe out” ever said. Yet we are led to believe that Iran’s President threatened to “wipe Israel off the map”, despite never having uttered the words “map”, “wipe out” or even “Israel”.

Some readers’ comments

I agree. The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time. This means Olmert! David – Israel, 11/23/2007 15:02.

I also say that this regime in Jerusalem, Olmert’s regime, must vanish from the page of time.

wiped off the map harry wheat – US, 11/23/2007 14:11

Most people do not know what was actually said, only what they hear from the main stream media. This lie is repeated over and over again to rally support from the masses to attack Iran.

the “Wiped off the map lie” Earl – California , 11/23/2007 11:15

The object of media has nothing to do with truth, honesty, or just causes. The media has one job function and that is to sell advertising. No ad revenues, no media it is that simple. The path that is chosen by media bodies has always been one of forming opinions in the readers mind. Hence it is the medias job to train the thoughts of the readers in the direction that will attract sufficient ad revenues. That leads to the obvious answer to the question of why lie as being the easiest route money.


Of course, most pro-Israelis and neocons who want nothing more than for the U.S. or Israel to attack Iran, will make such claims as “the meaning is hidden..” or that Ahmadinejad is “endorsing Khomeini’s comments” or such unsupported claims. They will continue to use misquotes or erroneous translation regardless of the original Farsi text in its original context. Note that none of the media reports – in the past – ever referred to the original text but fed us their translated version.

    • samhenry says:

      This is so well laid out and presented. I’m so happy I found you!

      The sad fact about the internet is that no one attributes what they quote and information is not checked and so misinformation replicates itself in frightening speed all over the place. And it is often impossible to correct.

      We all owe the internet the gift of accurate information and attribution when needed. You can’t get away from the idea of footnotes and indexes if you want to be taken seriously.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s