The Wiesenthal Center used a post by an independent Iranian blogger to raise funds "against the Iranian threat," by depicting the blogger as associated with the Iranian regime.

The center recently sent its mailing list a letter with a link to an article by Alireza Forghani in which he urged Iran to destroy Israel. Forghani, an independent blogger and computer engineer, suggested in a blog post last month that Iran first destroy "strategic targets in Israel" and then bomb urban centers "until all Israelis are eliminated." He speculated that Iran could destroy Israel in less than nine minutes.

Wiesenthal Center Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier, who wrote the letter, called the Iranian leaders "religious Nazis" and urged readers to donate to the center to ward off the urgent "Iranian threat."

"This is the first time since the Nazis' Final Solution that such explicit plans for a genocide against the Jewish people" have been promulgated, Hier said.

The Wiesenthal Center's Israel director, Efraim Zuroff, said the center relies on contributions for its existence. "Along with reporting on its activities, it asks for donations," he said. "This is how Jewish organizations, which exist thanks to their ability to persuade you to part from your money, operate. It's not unique to the Wiesenthal Center."

Asked about the comparison between Iran and the Nazis, Zuroff said, "they want to destroy Israel, and it stems from religious motives. They're not exactly the Third Reich, but we must not belittle their statements. Iran is not a backward African state." (Roy Arad )