Tuesday, September 07, 2010


The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg was invited to Havana by Fidel Castro after Castro read Goldberg's recent article about Iran and Israel. In Havana, Goldberg tells us, Castro criticized Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's anti-Semitism:

... Over the course of this first, five-hour discussion, Castro repeatedly returned to his excoriation of anti-Semitism. He criticized Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust and explained why the Iranian government would better serve the cause of peace by acknowledging the "unique" history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence.

... He said the Iranian government should understand the consequences of theological anti-Semitism. "This went on for maybe two thousand years," he said. "I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. 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 Iranian government should understand that the Jews "were expelled from their land, persecuted and mistreated all over the world, as the ones who killed God. In my judgment here's what happened to them: Reverse selection. What's reverse selection? Over 2,000 years they were subjected to terrible persecution and then to the pogroms. One might have assumed that they would have disappeared; I think their culture and religion kept them together as a nation." He continued: "The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust." I asked him if he would tell Ahmadinejad what he was telling me. "I am saying this so you can communicate it," he answered.

Odd? Maybe not as odd as you think. Ann Louise Bardach, who's written extensively about Cuba over the years, noted in her book Cuba Confidential (pp. 64-65) that there's some reason to believe Castro has Jewish ancestors. Bardach cites the memoir of Alina Fernandez, Fidel's illegitimate daughter and a critic of his regime:

Go figure.

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