NEW YORK (AFP) – Fidel Castro, the longtime president and leftist icon who stepped aside during a health crisis but still leads the Cuban Communist Party, has told a reporter that Israel definitely has the right to exist. “Yes it does, without a doubt,” Castro, 84, told visiting US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic magazine, according to a new article published Wednesday.
In the same interview Castro criticized Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust and said in an interview Tehran should acknowledge Israel’s fears for its own survival. Asked if Cuba was ready to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, Fidel Castro said that those things took time, the report added.
“This went on for maybe two thousand years,” Castro was quoted as saying. “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.”
“In my judgment here’s what happened to them: Reverse selection. What’s reverse selection? Over 2,000 years they were subjected to terrible persecution and then to the pogroms. One might have assumed that they would have disappeared; I think their culture and religion kept them together as a nation.”
Castro’s conciliatory words of late about Israel come as a surprise, but they shouldn’t. The Left used to support Israel back in the day when they were still seen as socialist kibbutzim underdogs. Then all that started to change when Israel began winning unwinnable wars and embracing capitalism. But Fidel, like all those cars from the 50’s they still drive around in Cuba, is stuck in a timewarp. His views on Israel have not evolved with those of the transnational Left who want to see Israel destroyed as a state.