Former Cuban revolutionary and President Fidel Castro has been quoted as criticizing Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad for espousing anti-Semitic attitudes and denying the Holocaust.
Castro is quoted as making the comments during meetings with Jeffrey Goldberg, a writer for the U.S. magazine "The Atlantic," who recently visited Cuba and spent portions of three days meeting with the communist leader.
Writing about the meetings on his blog, Goldberg said Castro, who has been a tough critic of Israel over the years, "repeatedly returned to his excoriation of anti-Semitism" and "criticized Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust" in World War II, when 6 million European Jews were systematically killed by Nazi German authorities.
Castro is quoted as saying Iran could further the cause of peace by what he called "acknowledging the 'unique' history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence."
The blog report quotes the 84-year-old Castro as saying that Jews "have been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything."
Castro, added the report, said the Iranian government should understand that the Jews "were expelled from their land, persecuted, and mistreated all over the world” over slanders that they were responsible for killing Jesus.
Castro, who resigned as Cuban president in 2008 amid health problems, reportedly wanted to meet with Goldberg after reading a recent article he had written about possible conflict between Iran and Israel.