Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Guardian recycles propaganda on Jews of Iran

If you have a moment to spare, please post a comment on The Guardian website 'Comment is free'. This website has published an article by Jonathan Cook entitled 'Kosher in Tehran'. The article is a transparent propaganda piece: it first appeared in the Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram under the title 'Sacrificed to Zionism'. (The reference Cooks makes to Jews being manipulated by Zionism into leaving Egypt and Iraq has been dropped from The Guardian article).

Cook repeats the usual canards: Ahmedinejad never said he wanted to 'wipe Israel off the map'. That, Cook says, was a translation error (a fact disputed by the writer Christopher Hitchens).

A Nazareth-based British journalist married to an Israeli Arab, Cook claims that Iranian Jews are treated well. That is why the Jews still remaining in Iran are reluctant to leave. The fact that numbers immigrating to Israel have dwindled proves his point. He quotes organisations representing Iranian Jews pooh-poohing the financial incentives being offered to entice the Jews out of their 'multicultural paradise'. He writes that 25,000 Jews still remain - the largest community in the Middle East outside Israel - without stating that the community numbered 100,000 before the 1979 revolution.

Cook says Iranian Jews 'enjoy many freedoms'. In a week when 118 opponents of the regime have been publicly executed, one assumes that freedom of speech is not one of them. Some 27 Jews have been executed since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Jews are fearful and wary, mindful that the regime jailed 13 Jews on trumped-up spying charges in Isfahan and Shiraz. Organisations representing the Jews are well used to making statements under duress.

As has been amply documented on this website and in films such as Ramin Farahani's Jews of Iran, the Jews are subject to very real discrimination, some of it historically rooted in Shi'ism.

The fall-off in emigration is not unexpected. The Jews still remaining in Iran are probably those least able to support themselves outside. Totalitarian regimes have ways and means of discouraging emigration. They usually extort lots of money from would-be emigrants, do not allow whole families to leave together and threaten to harm those left behind.

Please hurry to leave your comment on the 'Kosher in Tehran' article. The threads usually close after three days.

David Zarnett posts this response on the Engage' website

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