I saw a story on the right-wing blogs and other news sources this morning, that the Iranians had passed a law requiring Jews and Christians to wear identifying “badges.” This follows a recent report, repeated everywhere and now conventional wisdom, that the President of Iran had called for “wiping Israel off the map.” That report was not correct – knocked down by Juan Cole, who wrote about the (intentional?) mistranslation in his now-famous post about Christopher Hitchens and those in Washington fishing for (or creating) a pretext for war.
And, of course, the “badges” story is also false, circulated to drum up popular support for war against Iran. Yet ANOTHER enemy for us to hate, who is “just like Hitler.” Like the “babies thrown from incubators” story that launched the first Gulf war, stories like this are circulated to lay down a smokescreen to confuse the public and create that pretext for war. See: Iran report of Holocaust-style badges questioned,
“It’s absolutely factually incorrect,” … “Nowhere in the law is there any talk of Jews and Christians having to wear different colours. I’ve checked it with sources both inside Iran and outside.”
“The Iranian people would never stand for it. The Iranian government wouldn’t be stupid enough to do it.”
Political commentator and 940 Montreal host Beryl Waysman says the report is true, that the law was passed two years ago.
I’m not defending Iran here – not at all. If the Iranian Ayatollahs have their way the world will be much worse off. I’m just pointing out that in the Propaganda Age, you have to learn to question what you hear – especially when it’s designed to hit you in the gut and make you want to kill.
Here are some of the right-wing blogs reflexively repeating today’s lie. To their credit, others have added updates to their own reflexive posts, letting readers know that the story may not be true.
Update – Juan Cole talks about this today. (Through Atrios)