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'Annihilate' just means to move 'Zionist
Mike Wallace says Iranian president thinks Israel should be in Germany
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has told his people to prepare to rule the world and has warned of a light that will be in the sky on the Islamic holy night of Aug. 22, just means that Israel should be moved when he calls for wiping it from the face of the Earth, according to longtime CBS News personality Mike Wallace.
Wallace recently interviewed Ahmadinejad, who has been raising concern among leaders in the free world because of his nation nuclear program and his dedication to eliminating Irael. He described Ahmadinejad as a savvy, self-assured civil engineer who was elected by the Iranian people.
The 88-year-old Wallace, who is semi-retired, traveled to interview the Iranian president, whom he described as "impressive," "interesting" and "obviously smart as hell."
In an interview with talk-radio host Sean Hannity, Wallace defended Ahmadinejad's actions and statements. In the transcript posted on Radio Blogger, Wallace said the Iranian leader's comments about wiping Israel off the map aren't horrific.
"His statements are annihilate, wipe off the Earth," said Hannity.
"No, no, no," said Wallace.
"The world," said Hannity.
"Hold it, hold it," said Wallace.
"Wipe off the map," said Hannity.
"Yes, he says wipe off the map, and of course I asked him over and over about that," said Wallace. "He says in effect, hey, it's perfectly sensible to do … pardon me. It's perfectly sensible for them … it's perfectly sensible, if there is a Holocaust, and let's buy the fact that there was a Holocaust. Where did the Holocaust take place? Did it take place in an Arab neighborhood? Did it take place in Jerusalem? No. It took place in Germany. Then it seems to me, under those circumstances, take Israel, the Zionist entity, he called it, move it to Germany. Move it to Europe. That's where it happened."
Radio Blogger described the comments as lightning striking, quoting Wallace saying, "He says, let the people who were responsible for the Holocaust, let the Zionists go there and establish their state."
Wallace said Ahmadinejad doesn't like the United States because it is supporting Israel, however, he is not anti-Semitic.
"So you don't think he's an anti-Semite?" said Hannity.
"He himself, an anti-Semite, an anti-Jew ... anti-Jew?" said Wallace.
"Yes," said Hannity.
"No, I don't," said Wallace.
Wallace told Hannity that Ahmadinejad made his case "fairly rationally" and didn't "propagandize and so forth."
"He … when I began to talk to him about America, about the United States, and oppression, he had his facts down solid about why he feels sorry, he says, for President Bush. Why? And then he starts in about the polls of President Bush, and how they're going down, and how he's going to leave office, and it's sad that he's going to leave office and leave behind a people who don't really approve of him.
"And he was infinitely more rational than I had expected him to be," Wallace said.
Wallace laughed when Hannity noted that perhaps Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin may have appeared rational, even though a Holocaust was within their policy.
"What ... running a Holocaust, which the Iranians have not done, as you know, running a Holocaust, doing that sort of thing, slaughtering 6 million Jews, that's not what this man is talking about doing," Wallace said.
Wallace's response to the idea that the "Zionist entity" should be moved?
"Move it to the United States," he said.
"Do you think that's a legitimate argument?" asked Hannity.
"It's an argument. I'm not a commentator. You are," said Wallace.
When Hannity raised concerns about "free" elections in Iran, Wallace also challenged him.
"What does that mean, free? he asked. "Are you suggesting that he wasn't elected by his people?