Iran prez's UN stunt smacks of Chavez
by Salim Mansur
Every now and then some demagogue or tyrant with hands bloodier than Macbeth's takes the podium at the UN General Assembly and sanctimoniously, if not gleefully, announces the imminent death of capitalism, as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, did this week in New York City.
This is the sort of stunt someone like Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's leader, could not resist — like when he held up Noam Chomsky's book, Hegemony, to berate the United States for all the ills of the world, while speaking a few years ago at the UN General Assembly.
I doubt if Ahmedinejad's flunkies provided him with the interview Fidel Castro gave recently to Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic monthly. Goldberg was personally invited to Cuba to meet with Fidel, the aging icon of the Left, now 84 years old and recovering from near fatal complications of digestive problems.
Fidel, as Goldberg dutifully reported, announced: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore."
It appears nearly two decades after the former Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin's monstrosity, went belly up, Cuba's dictator has awakened like Rip van Winkle to the reality that capitalism is far from dead, and that Cuba could do well embracing it as the other Communist monstrosity, China, has done since Deng Xiaoping cast aside Mao Zedong's criminal fantasies.
Though Fidel subsequently made some feeble attempt to retract his confession to Goldberg on Cuba's failed socialist experiment, he remained firm on his opinion about Jews and Israel.
In some five hours of discussions with Goldberg, Fidel emphatically denounced anti-Semitism.
"I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews," he said. "I would say much more than the Muslims. They have been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything. The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust."
And he pointedly directed Goldberg to communicate to Ahmadinejad his message on Jews and Israel. Goldberg, himself an American Jew, on returning from Havana related how he was struck by the irony of Fidel's remarks.
Because, as Goldberg notes, the "global Left today is thoroughly infiltrated by Israel-negationists, those people who have aligned themselves with hardcore Islamists and extreme rightists to form a Red-Green-Brown front opposed to the existence of the world's only Jewish majority country."
When Goldberg wanted to know about Israel's right as a Jewish state to exist, Fidel answered: "Si, sin ninguna duda" — "Yes, without a doubt."
But Lenin's "useful idiots" are plentiful and everywhere, and it is doubtful whether they will pay heed to Fidel while locking arms with Islamists in their anti-Semitic machinations at the UN and in cities across the liberal democratic West.
In one small exchange about God and religion, Fidel told Goldberg: "I'm still a dialectical materialist." In other words, though he remains an atheist he cares about the eventual judgment people, or history, will deliver on him.
Hence, Fidel's emphatically stated views about Jews and Israel was his way to inform the world about his humanity, and what is sorely lacking with Ahmadinejad and the crowd of anti-Semites in our world.