WASHINGTON -- Iran's supreme leader recently said his country would help any Muslim nation or group that attacks Israel. He's called the Jewish state a cancerous tumor that will be cut out of the Middle East.
With Iran's nuclear weapons program advancing daily, that goal may be in sight.
This view of Jews as sub-human sounds a lot like Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, but it goes back much further.
In author Andrew Bostom's book, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, he describes Islam's early conquests of Jewish tribes in Arabia.
"Mohammed's frustrations in spreading his message were frequently recompensed by murderous attacks on the Jews," he told CBN News.
Bostom explained that Mohammed demonized Jews because they rejected him as a prophet.
"Mohammed himself invokes some of these themes," he said. "For example, one of the punishments of the Jews is their transformation into apes, or apes and pigs, the verses that are commonly heard now."
This "apes and pigs" imagery is found in Islam's core texts, like the Koran and hadiths. The most notorious is the following hadith, often quoted by al Qaeda, Hamas, and other Islamic terror groups.
"Judgment Day will come only when the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, until the Jew hides behind the tree and the stone, and the tree and the stone say, 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"
In some verses of the Koran, Jews are referred to as "perverse," "evil," "greedy," and the "heirs of hell."
The Iranian regime takes these verses seriously, starting with the man who founded the Islamic Republic, the Ayatollah Khomeini.
"His image of wiping out the Jews was that all of the Muslims of the world should get together with a cup of water and simply wash it away. But again, annihilationism," Bostom said.
Today, Jews play a central role in the end times ideology of Iran's mullahs. They believe the Mahdi, or Islamic messiah, will return to earth, conquer Jerusalem, and massacre the Jewish inhabitants of Israel.
Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani said that while Israel is a one-bomb country, Iran and the Islamic world could survive a nuclear exchange with the Jewish state.
According to this view, the heavy losses would be worth it for the greater good of wiping Israel off the map.
*Published Mar. 22, 2012.