New York: Fidel Castro, the longtime Cuban 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 on Wednesday.
In the same interview Castro criticised 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.
The former Cuban president who handed over power to his brother Raul in 2006 said Iran should understand the consequences of theological anti-Semitism.
"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 judgement 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."
"The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust," he said.