suing the means to achieve it. Representative of the “moderates” in the Iranian regime is former president Rafsanjani, who predicts that “the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.” The “extremists,” as everyone knows, take their cue from President Ahmadinejad, with his assurance that “the Zionist regime is headed toward annihilation.”

But few tyrants are so depraved that radical leftists will not leap to their defense. Virginia Tilley, academic proponent of the “one-state solution” to the “problem” of Israel’s continued existence, believes that Ahmadinejad’s words promise the sort of “profound political change” that is “necessary to creating a just peace.”

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Doubtless relying on her professional knowledge of Iranian dialects, she maintains that Ahmadinejad’s threat to “wipe Israel off the map” is correctly translated as a hope that the Zionist regime will “vanish from the page of time” – the “just peace” of her imagination. She also contends that Ahmadinejad is not really a Holocaust denier, given that “skepticism” about the “Holocaust narrative” arises quite naturally if the “narrative” is used in support of Israel.

Noam Chomsky offers further insights. In his mental universe, “Israel and the United States are both threatening Iran with destruction [emphasis added].” The ayatollahs would be “crazy” if they did not develop nuclear weapons to counter the military threat from the West.

The British communist intellectual Alex Callinicos is also certain of the correct ideological approach: “If Bush attacks Iran tomorrow, which side are you on?” he asks. “I would be on Iran’s but – as Lenin put it – I would refuse to paint Ahmadinejad in communist colours; in other words, I would be for an Iranian victory despite his anti-Semitic rantings”

Perhaps, in the annals of political lunacy, historians will eventually discover a 1930’s leftist who was insisting on the duty of all revolutionaries to side with the Nazi regime, while cautioning that Hitler was not a communist and that a Nazi victory would be desirable in spite of his policies toward the Jews, not because of them.

If it seems that these are the isolated opinions of a few individuals, albeit figures of some prominence, it is worth pointing out that Britain’s Stop the War Coalition has informed Iranian refugees that they will not be allowed to speak since the movement “cannot allow any statement against the Islamic regime in Iran from the platform.”

Although left-wing extremists refuse to tolerate Iranian critics of the Iranian regime, respectable universities are quite happy to offer a platform for meetings organized by the most bigoted spokesmen of that very regime. In July I had the memorable experience of attending such a conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

The event had two main sponsors. The first was the Islamic Human Rights Commission, described by journalist Melanie Phillips as “the most conspicuous promoter of Khomeini jihadism in the UK.” Its advisory board includes the likes of Mohammed al-Massari, a Saudi exile with Al Qaeda sympathies whose website implores Allah “grant his mujaheddin victory” over “the Jews, the Americans and the apostates.”

The second sponsor was the NEDA Institute, an Iranian body whose main function seems to be the dissemination of “research” that denies the Holocaust.

The theme of the conference was the need to do away with Zionism. A newsletter distributed at the entrance applauded Ayatollah Khomeini’s “arguments” for the destruction of Israel. Speakers included three Marxist-Leninist writers (Uri Davis, Michel Warschawski and John Rose) and a notorious left-wing American Jew (Jeffrey Blankfort). Apparently they were only too happy to offer their intellectual services to the advocates of a second Holocaust. It must be stressed that the genocidal fanaticism of Hamas and Hizbullah and their Iranian sponsors differs in no significant respect from that of Al Qaeda. In the words of bin Laden: “We are sure of our victory against the Americans and the Jews as promised by

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Paul Bogdanor is co-editor, with Edward Alexander, of The Jewish Divide Over Israel: Accusers and Defenders (Transaction, 2006). For more information about the role of radical leftists in promoting terrorism and mass murder, visit www.paulbogdanor.com/left.html.