Sunday, October 30, 2005


"Israel should be wiped off the map", said a leading political figure last week. No, not Cherie Blair putting her foot in that oversized mouth, neither was it anyone French or from the BBC. So that really only leaves someone from the Religion of Peace.

Step up, the delightful Mr Ahmadinejad.

Normally at this point, I would be griping about the lack of condemnation, pointing out the hypocrisy of this given the hysteria that would have appeared had Sharon said Iran - or the charming neighbours - should be wiped off the map.

Fortunately, the world's leaders were safely tucked up in Hampton Court Palace, thus giving Tony Blair the first word and shaping the message for everyone. He made a few prepared remarks before letting rip with a spontaneous outburst about how counterproductive and unacceptable it was. Best of all, he made it clear that it was enough to push him into moving his thinking from "are we going to do something about Iran?" to "what are we going to do?"

Rallying behind him were the EU leaders, Dubya, and even Putin, despite the pro-Tehran stance of the Kremlin. The most incisive remark came from Saeb Erekat, who clearly fancies himself as the Palestinians' Abba Eban:

"What we need to be talking about is adding the state of Palestine to the map and not wiping Israel from the map"

There were of course a few apologists who claimed it was for domestic consumption and besides, was only repeating the views of Khomeini. By the same token, neo-Nazis could meet in Germany for conferences in their native language to discuss the Final Solution and how it could be improved. Also this logic fails to explain why the conference at which these remarks were made was covered in large, English-language posters and signs.

Now to see whether the world turns this into actions rather than the usual words, or whether they leave it to Israel to defend itself and then sanction them for the impertinence of surviving.

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