Reality Check: Was Ben wrong about Ahmadinejad saying he would wipe Israel off the map?
(FOX19) - Last week I told you about a back and forth between Congressmen Michele Bachmann and Congressman Ron Paul over whether there is any proof that Iran is trying to obtain a nuclear weapon.
Bachmann said the proof was in statements by the Iranian president that he would wipe Israel off the map.
During that Reality Check, I pointed out that President Ahmadinejad had stated in 2005 that Israel should be "wiped off the map," but was that correct?
A number of people contacted me to say that the generally accepted translation of what President Ahmadinejad said is incorrect.
"Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian," says Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan.
Cole says that when more correctly translated, the Iranian President said, "he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse."
Jonathan Steele, a columnist for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in London, says it this way: "The Iranian President was quoting an ancient statement by Iran's first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that 'this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time."
But not everyone agrees with that.
Sohrab Mahdavi, one of Iran's most prominent translators, and Siamak Namazi, managing director of a Tehran consulting firm, who is bilingual, both say "wipe off" or "wipe away" is more accurate than "vanish" because the Persian verb is active and transitive.
So, was the translation from Farsi to English about the wiping Israel off the map, correct or not?
The answer is, it depends on who you ask. But for those who are bi-lingual in Farsi, it appears he did.
The problem is, what does that mean? Because the translated term "map" comes from an older Persian term that would not mean a geographical map. So he's not saying remove the nation from the map. The term would more likely mean remove from pages, the history of, the memory of these people would be wiped away.
Here's what you need to know,
Is Ahmadinejad hated for Israel, while really without doubt, a call to war? Are his words, which are ambiguous at best about wanting Israel to be wiped either off the map or off the pages of time enough to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran?
Consider this, Saudi Arabia has now said that it too will seek nuclear weapons but only as a peacekeeping measure, so they are actually admitting to wanting a nuclear weapon when Iran still hasn't gone that far.
The Saudis are no friend of Israel and the schools in Saudi Arabia are arguably more anti-Semitic than in Iran.
So, will the U.S. strike Saudi Arabia to prevent them from getting a nuke?
Considering our relationship with the Saudis, I'm willing to bet that won't happen.