An article in the daily Israeli paper Ha’aretz suggests that the virulent strain of anti-Israel, Holocaust-denying rhetorical jingo that spouts from the mouth of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be a symptom of something
more agonizingly cliche unexpected: a repudiation of his own Jewish roots. This, of course, takes the banner of Jewish self-hatred to entirely new (Roseanne Barr-like) levels.
A picture taken of the Iranian leader during elections held in March of 2008 features an image of Ahmadinejad’s identity card bearing his former last name, Sabourjian, a common Jewish name in Iran. The name derives from "weaver of the Sabour," the Persian name for a tallit. The Daily Telegraph reports that Ahmadinejad’s identity papers indicate that his family changed its name and converted to Islam after he was born.
I have to admit, this is kind of exciting news. What may turn out to be more exciting is how the information is handled. Will this confirm what Abe Foxman has said all along? Perhaps even non-Jews who speak out against Israel are retroactive self-hating Jews? If Christianity and Islam were birthed of Jewish tradition, is any anti-Israel sentiment somehow a manifestation of a dormant Jewish inclination toward the hatred of Jews? Will Norman Podhoretz take the opportunity to connect Ahmadinejad’s constantly sniping of Israel’s right to exist to the liberal movement?
More importantly, what are the psychological implications of this revelation for Jews? Does this make Ahmadinejad a sadder or more sympathetic figure? Do we have to claim him? Is it our duty as Jews to do? Discuss.