Deal Partner? Read Khamenei’s Mainstream, Koranic Kampf Supporting Israel’s Annihilation

Within two weeks of the July 14, 2015 announcement of the dangerous and destabilizing Iran nuclear deal, expatriate Iranian journalist Amir Taheri revealed the recent publication of a 414-page tract, largely a compendium of speeches delivered over the past 25 years by Ayatollah Khamenei.

Despite the publication of the Iranian Ayatollah’s vitriolic tract entitled Palestine, Khamenei was recognized by the avatar of moderate Islam, the Jordanian Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre’s 2014/15 “World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims” (issued annually), as the third most important international Muslim figure.

Shortly after Taheri’s revelation, my colleague Daniel Akbari -- a former leading Iranian Sharia lawyer credentialed to argue potential death penalty cases in the Islamic State, and now an intrepid human rights activist -- procured the full Farsi text (posted here), and translated extensive excerpts.

Although unabashedly targeting both Israel and the U.S. -- on p. 40 he calls for “Breaking the Back of the Oppressive Americans and Their Zionist Servants (i.e., Israel)” -- Khamenei’s opprobrium rivets upon destruction of the Jewish State.

Khamenei elucidates why Israel must be destroyed:

The centrality of Palestine for the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Muslim world is undeniable. Even before to the Islamic Revolution, Palestine, the Palestinian people, and the injustice they were experiencing were important issues for [his theocratic predecessor, and leader of the retrograde 1979 “Revolution”] Imam Khomeini and the movement he led. We cannot observe and tolerate the existence and presence of the [Israeli/Jewish] enemy who has occupied the land …

While this foul wound and infected gland called “the Israeli Government” remain in the heart of Islamic territories, we cannot feel we have won. … Palestine is the most important issue of the Islamic world. Palestine is the most important issue of the world of Islam. There is not any other international issue in the world of Islam more important than the issue of Palestine.

Citing an authoritative, traditionalist interpretation of jihad -- as applied with broad, modern jurisprudential consensus to the issue of “Palestine” (i.e., all of modern Israel within the 1949 armistice borders, Gaza, Judea and Samaria) -- Khamenei, explaining why “Jihad is the answer,” further declared:

Palestine is a part of Islamic territory [i.e., “dar al Islam,” formerly non-Muslim lands conquered at any point by Muslim armies waging jihad war]. All Islamic schools of thoughts agree over this. All Muslim scholars have consensus over this claim that Palestine is a part of Islamic land that has been occupied by our enemies. Everybody is religiously obligated to wage jihad to return this part of Islamic land back.

Per Khamenei’s accurate, traditionalist Islamic interpretation that lands once vanquished by jihad (such as historical Palestine) remain, per the law of jihad, a permanent Islamic possession, an often invoked conservative, alleged Iran “expert” opined:

Ali Khamenei proclaims a Muslim version of the Brezhnev Doctrine which, you will recall, promised that once any land fell to communist control, it would be irreversible.

Such uninformed “conservative expertise,” glibly espoused, obfuscates the Islamic centrality -- not modern Communist rootedness -- of Khamenei’s ideology, and its broad mainstream religious sanction, and appeal to the Muslim masses, Shiite and Sunni alike.

For example, the most authoritative religious educational institution within Sunni Islam since at least the establishment of the 13th Century Mamluk Empire is Al Azhar University (founded 973 C.E.), in Cairo, Egypt. Consider two complementary fatwas, one written January 5, 1956 by then-grand mufti of Egypt Sheikh Hasan Ma’moun, and another from January 9, 1956, signed by the leading members of the Fatwa Committee of Al Azhar and the major representatives of all four Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence (English translation from State Department Telegram 1763/ Embassy (Cairo) Telegram 1256 D441214).

Despite the fact that in January 1956 Israel was a rump state within the 1949 armistice borders, these rulings elaborated the following key initial point: that all of historical Palestine -- modern Jordan, Israel, and the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, as well as Gaza -- having been conquered by jihad, was a permanent possession of the global Muslim umma (community), “fay territory” -- booty or spoils -- to be governed eternally by Islamic law (the Sharia).

The January 1956 Al Azhar fatwas’ language and arguments are indistinguishable from those employed by Khamenei in his tract, revealing the same conjoined motivations of jihad and conspiratorial Islamic Jew-hatred:

Muslims cannot conclude peace with those Jews who have usurped the ter­ritory of Palestine and attacked its people and their property in any manner which allows the Jews to continue as a state in that sacred Muslim territory.  [As] Jews have taken a part of Palestine and there established their non-Islamic government and have also evacuated from that part most of its Muslim inhabitants. . . . Jihad . . . to restore the country to its people . . . is the duty of all Muslims, not just those who can undertake it.

And since all Islamic countries constitute the abode of every Muslim, the Jihad is impera­tive for both the Muslims inhabiting the territory attacked, and Muslims everywhere else because even though some sections have not been attacked directly, the attack nevertheless took place on a part of the Muslim territory which is a legitimate residence for any Muslim. Everyone knows that from the early days of Islam to the present day the Jews have been plotting against Islam and Muslims and the Islamic homeland. They do not propose to be content with the attack they made on Palestine and Al Aqsa Mosque, but they plan for the possession of all Islamic territories from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Moreover, even when our conservative Iran expert isn’t alluding errantly to the “Brezhnev Doctrine,” and he mentions in passing Khamenei’s use of Koranic references, the expert’s glaring lack of basic Islamic understanding is once again evident.

Providing a specific illustration, this expert is oblivious to the fact that the verses he cited from Khamenei’s tract (Koran 17:4, 5, 6, 7, 8) represent the traditionalist Islamic quintessence of the Ayatollah’s mainstream, Koranic Kampf for Israel’s annihilation.

Khamenei invokes the 17th Sura (chapter) of the Koran, verses 17:4-8 (on pp. 41-43), as a clarion call re-affirming “Allah’s Promise” to “Defeat the Jewish People Again.” He avers that the Muslims “should learn from the Koran” before citing Koran 17:4 verbatim:

And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Scripture, that indeed you would do mischief on the earth twice and you will become tyrants and extremely arrogant! [Surah Al-Isra’ 17:4]

Then Khamenei references recurrent Koranic motifs of the Jews as transgressors against Allah’s will, refusing to follow his path (1:7), and inveterate sowers of “mischief” and corruption (5:33; 5:64). Thus authoritative classical and modern Koranic exegeses insist that the Jews are doomed to chronic humiliation (2:61; 2:90; 3:112), and even, as Khamenei emphasizes, repeated bouts of annihilation, including at the hands of the Muslims:

Allah’s soldiers will come to punish you for the corruption you did on Earth. Any nation that walks on the path of Allah -- with the weapon of truth and justice -- Allah will help him. But any nation that makes mischief, oppresses the people, and ignores humanity will be destroyed and perish.

Khamenei next uses a metaphor for Israel/the Jews’ corruption that has been repeated uniformly by contemporary Shiite Iranian religio-political leaders regardless of their arbitrary designation as “hardliners” (Khomeini; Ahmadinejad), “moderates” (Khatami; Rafsanjani; Rouhani), or (Soylent) “Green Movement” reformist “heroes” (Mousavi; Montazeri [FBIS, Dec. 1987]): the Jewish State as a cancerous nidus that must be removed:

An Infected Cancer Called “Israel,” Cause of Division Among Muslims [p.42]: Imperialists, the enemy of human beings, planted this infected cancer gland within Islamic-Arabic territory. Today this gland has grown and become the cause of division among Muslim governments. You see how the leaders of Islamic countries who call themselves Muslims do not perform their Islamic duty about the issue of Palestine. Why? Because they have been busied with internal problems. Where their problems have come from? From this infected gland named “Israel” that was created by the superpowers.