A Question for Hillary Mann Leverett

by James Kirchick | November 2, 2009

Last week, I wrote about a panel at the inaugural convention of the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" organization J Street, in which former Bush NSC staffer Hillary Mann Leverett said the following:

Too often, Iran's security concerns are dismissed in the U.S. and in Israel as false or manufactured, reinforcing the stereotype of Iranians as chronically duplicitous and unprepared to keep any commitment they enter into. ...  Those stereotypes are simply not supported by the historical record. ... They are fundamentally racist -- if someone were to criticize Israeli diplomacy by referring to rabbis as lying and conspiring behind their beards, as far too many commentators accuse Iran's mullahs of lying and conspiring behind their beards, we would rightly -- and I'd be the first to -- denounce that as an anti-Semitic stereotype."

This is a ridiculous assertion on its face, not least because "rabbis" do not determine Israeli foreign policy, whereas messianic clerics do in fact orchestrate the worldwide campaign of terror that has marked the Islamic Republic's "diplomacy" for the past 30 years. But I wonder if Mrs. Mann Leverett would be willing to reconsider her claim after today's news:

A top advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is considered the "brains" behind the president's Holocaust denial, was appointed Monday as the Islamic republic's new deputy minister of culture.

Mohammad-Ali Ramin is considered the Ayatollah regime's most hard-line Holocaust denier and anti-Semite.

Ramin, a historian, is seen as responsible for Ahmadinejad's proclamations that the Holocaust is a myth.

In 2006 he served as secretary of an international convention held in Iran that was highly criticized by Western countries for hosting Holocaust deniers from across the globe...

On another occasion, he was quoted as dubbing Jews filthy people who spread lethal disease: "Through history, there were many claims against the Jews. They were the source of lethal disease such as the Plague and typhoid fever, because they are extremely filthy people."

In light of the appointment of Iran's chief Holocaust denier as a deputy minister, is it "fundamentally racist" to characterize the regime which elevated him to such a senior position as "chronically duplicitous?"

 

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/question-hillary-mann-leverett