Saturday, September 24, 2011

Israeli student receives special gift from Ahmadinejad

Before he took to the podium to make his speech at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad first met with a group of students, where one Israeli student received a special surprise.

Dan Folk (21), an Israeli who was invited to the event in which over 100 students took part, ended up getting a business card and memento from Ahmadinejad.

"It was at his hotel in Manhattan, we got there and had to wait in the security check line for nearly an hour," said the student, adding, "we gave them our cell phones and any kind of camera we were carrying. During the security check I showed them my Israeli driver's license and the Iranian security officer smiled at me."

Folk said he had mixed feelings over the question of whether to meet with the Iranian president. "When I heard about the possibility of meeting with the Iranian president, I had mixed feelings. How can I, an Israeli citizen, sit down and listen to a person who wants to wipe me and my family off the map.

מפגינים נגד אחמדינג'אד, חמינאי ואסד מחוץ לעצרת האו"ם (צילום: AFP)
Anti-Iranian regime protestors in NYC (Photo: AFP)

"When I thought about it a bit more I realized that this could be a great opportunity to tell him what I think. When he spoke about Israel I felt proud to be an Israeli because I knew my presence there, listening to him, presenting him with tough questions, puts me in a position of power."

According to Folk, other than Ahmadinejad, the Iranian foreign minister and UN envoy were also present at the event.

During his opening speech he explained that every country should have the freedom to handle its interests independently and stressed that his country held free and open elections, a remark which caused some members of the audience to snigger.

As for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ahmadinejad explained that the Holocaust was an excuse for the foundation of the State of Israel even though "there is no connection whatsoever between the European holocaust and Palestine."

The Iranian president compared the conflict to a situation where a thief (Israel) breaks into a home, takes the family hostage (the Palestinians) and asks for rights over the house. When the police (US) arrive to intervene they rule in favor of the thief, give most of the house to the thief and leave the family with one little room in the house.

He added that it was in the US' interest to "free Palestine" since they were the ones who had established it and now it was causing them nothing but trouble.