Breaking news from Iran - "Hitler was Jewish"
Mohammad Ali Ramin said that Hitler was Jewish, and that Hitler's policies were aimed at bringing about the establishment of a Jewish state. Ramin added that Hitler acted under the influence of his powerful Jewish associates and in cooperation with Britain, since the latter shared his desire to force the Jews out of Europe.Actually, these discoveries are not entirely new or original. Such notions (and wilder ones than that) have been floating around for a while, though mostly from lunatic-fringe sources. It is more unusual for these kinds of crackpot fables to be publicly espoused by government officials--but there are certainly precedents for that, too.
As Ami Isseroff (of MidEastWeb) has pointed out, the whole noisy anti-semitic propaganda offensive by the Ahmadinejad government, epitomized by its Holocaust denial conference, is a bit extreme even by Middle Eastern standards. There have been a lot of negative reactions around the world, and on balance the effects have probably been damaging to Iran in diplomatic and public-relations terms. This raises the question of why Ahmadinejad is doing it--whether "he is trying to compete with Al-Qaeda for the allegiance of the most extreme fringe of Islamist fanaticism, whether he wants to invite admiration by thumbing his nose at the 'Israel Lobby', or whether he simply did it because he really believes in it - racism is part of his ideology." I'm sure the last factor is at least part of the explanation, and that Ahmadinejad and those around him sincerely believe they are speaking truth to power. But the other factors no doubt play a role, too.
=> As I noted in connection with a previous dark-comedy item from Iran translated by MEMRI in February 2006 (Iranian expert unmasks "Tom and Jerry" as a Jewish plot):
Incidentally, for those who are not familiar with MEMRI, it performs the very useful service of translating articles, interviews, political statements, and other items from the Middle East into English, thus making them available to those of us who don't speak Arabic, Farsi, or other relevant languages. Some otherwise intelligent and knowledgeable people criticize MEMRI for doing this, essentially because these items often make the sources look bad. The response to that is so obvious that I won't bother to spell it out.--Jeff Weintraub
There are also occasional insinuations that MEMRI's translations are inaccurate, misleading, or tendentious. But as far as I can tell, these insinuations are entirely bogus. It's possible to argue with some of MEMRI's interpretations or analyses, and some people might want to select other items for translation (in which case they should go ahead and do it). But as far as I know, the general accuracy of MEMRI's translations has not been seriously challenged.
It would be nice to think that this particular item is a parody, but the ingenious analysis reported here was apparently offered in all seriousness. Most of the material posted by MEMRI is not as transparently idiotic as this, but anti-semitic conspiracy theorizing is fairly pervasive even in more "serious" discussions. This item offers a bit of comic relief, as long as we bear in mind that the larger reality it expresses is not, in fact, very funny.
Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
January 3, 2007 (#1408)
Mohammad Ali Ramin, Advisor to Iranian President Ahmadinejad: 'Hitler Was Jewish'
In a December 28, 2006 interview with the Iranian website Baztab, which is affiliated with Iranian Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezai, Iranian Presidential Advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin said that Hitler was Jewish, and that Hitler's policies were aimed at bringing about the establishment of a Jewish state. Ramin added that Hitler acted under the influence of his powerful Jewish associates and in cooperation with Britain, since the latter shared his desire to force the Jews out of Europe. 
Ramin was recently appointed secretary-general of the new "world foundation for Holocaust Studies" established at the Iranian Holocaust Denial Conference in December. 
The following are excerpts from the interview: 
"The Bolshevik Soviet government in Lenin's time, and later, in Stalin's - both of whom were Jewish, though they presented themselves as Marxists and atheists... - was one of the forces that, until the Second World War, cooperated with Hitler in promoting the idea of establishing the State of Israel. A book that was published about this... - titled Adolf Hitler, Founder of Israel by Hennecke Kardel, a German born in 1922 - proves that Hitler was Jewish, and that his grandmother was a Jewish prostitute. [Hitler's] father went by his mother's Jewish name until he was 40, and later changed his surname to Hitler.
"Adolf Hitler himself developed an aversion to Judaism because his mother was a Jewish whore. He first received [negative] information about the Jews in an Austrian monastery, (the book presents details and pictures of it), and from then on, he [tried] to escape his Judaism.
"Thus... Hitler simultaneously developed both feelings of solidarity with Judaism and feelings of hatred towards it, and this emotional ambivalence shaped his behavior towards the Jews. On the one hand, his entire family, the people who shared his views, and his associates who brought him into power and stood by him to the last - including his lovers and his personal doctor - were [all] Jewish. On the other hand, he welcomed the policy of expelling the Jews from Central Europe for two other reasons: Firstly, the establishment of a Jewish government in Palestine was an aspiration of the rich and influential Jews who surrounded him. Secondly, exiling the Jews from Europe and Germany was a general and historical demand of the Western Christian nations. With the full support of the British, and in coordination with them, Hitler addressed this general demand and [thereby] managed to gain widespread popularity in Europe. Obviously, publishing writings and information of this sort is forbidden in Germany and in the West...
"The Zionists recently... destroyed many documents and papers pertaining to the period before the war, which contained authentic statistics and figures regarding the Jews, such as how many Jews there were, where they [lived] and how they operated. One of the places that was destroyed completely and burned [to the ground] - and which... contained the most valuable documents pertaining to this matter - was the [building of] the newspaper Pravda, which had been published in Moscow for 80 years. On February 10, 2006, the building was set ablaze, and its entire archive, with all its back issues and photographs, was burned and destroyed, and not a trace of it was left. Nobody - not a single news agency anywhere in the world - investigated this historical crime or discussed it extensively..."
[JW: More excerpts from this interview are here.]
 For more Holocaust denial by Mohammad Ali Ramin, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1186, "Iranian Presidential Advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin: 'The Resolution of the Holocaust Issue Will End in the Destruction of Israel,'" June 15, 2006, http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP118606 ; for more on Iran's use of Holocaust denial, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 307, "The Role of Holocaust Denial in the Ideology and Strategy of The Iranian Regime," December 15, 2006, http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA30706.
 MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1397, "Iran Holocaust Denial Conference Announces Plan to Establish World Foundation for Holocaust Studies," December 15, 2006, http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP139706.
 Baztab, December 28, 2006.