Castro slams Ahmadinejad on Israel


(JTA) — Cuban leader Fidel Castro criticized Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust and promoting anti-Semitism.

In a wide-ranging interview with Atlantic reporter Jeffrey Goldberg, Castro, a frequent critic of Israel, said the Iranian government could encourage peace by acknowledging the "unique" history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence.

"I think their culture and religion kept them together as a nation," Castro said of the Jewish people, adding that "The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust."

Castro described his experiences with anti-Semitism as a young boy, when he was told that the Jews killed God.

Castro said he does not believe Iran will back down on its pursuit of nuclear weapons, despite sanctions and threats of an Israeli attack.

"This problem is not going to get resolved because the Iranians are not going to back down in the face of threats," he told Goldberg.

"The Iranian capacity to inflict damage is not appreciated. Men think they can control themselves, but Obama could overreact and a gradual escalation could become a nuclear war."

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