Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro has urged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to stop slandering the Jews, according to an article published on the U.S. website The Atlantic on Tuesday.
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The ageing revolutionary devoted much of a five-hour conversation to the issue of of anti-Semitism, wrote Jeffrey Goldberg, who interviewed Castro in the Cuban capital Havana.
Castro told The Atlantic that the Iranian government should understand the consequences anti-Semitism.
"This went on for maybe two thousand years," he said. "I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. I would say much more than the Muslims. They have been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything."
He added: "The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust."
Asked by Goldberg if he would repeat his comments to Ahmadinejad, Castro said. "I am saying this so you can communicate it."
Following the interview, Goldberg spoke with Haaretz about his impression of the thinking behind Castro's comments.
"I think he [Castro] realizes he's gone too far in certain criticisms of Israel," Goldberg said.
"I think he wants to be a player in this issue; and I think he's genuinely offended by Holocaust denial."
Ahmadinejad has publicy called the Holocaust "a myth", claiming Jews exaggerated the Nazi genocide to win sympathy from European governments.