Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Jews don't trust Iran, with reason
Writing in Jewish Journal, Sarah Levin of JIMENA finds that Iranian Jews have good reason not to trust Iran to keep to the nuclear deal negotiated with the Obama administration +5.
Karmel Melamed, an Iranian-born JIMENA speaker and award-winning international journalist, seems to sum up the sentiments of many Iranian American Jews. “The nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is very disturbing for Iranian American Jews like myself,” he wrote, “because our families experienced first hand the sheer evil as well as random terror of anti-Semitism carried out by this Iranian regime for more than 35 years.”
Deeply concerned that the lifting of sanctions will have grave consequences, he continued: “We [Iranian American Jews] shudder at the thought of what chaos and destruction this regime will unleash on Jews, Christians and others worldwide who they consider ‘infidels,’ through their terror proxies Hamas and Hezbollah, once the regime is infused with $150 billion of their frozen assets after this deal is approved by Congress.”
The mistrust, anger and extremely negative sentiments of Iranian American Jews toward the regime, in the context of the nuclear agreement and beyond, are justified. Iranian Jews compose an ancient, culturally rich community that was subjected to severe human rights abuses by a regime that continues to treat them as second-class citizens. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, 90 percent of Iran’s Jews fled, often under duress with just the shirts on their backs. JIMENA has interviewed Iranian American Jews who risked their lives by illegally escaping through treacherous deserts to become homeless refugees in Pakistan.
This story is not uncommon. We’ve interviewed individuals whose family members were executed by the Revolutionary Guards simply for asserting their Jewishness and their right to their property. Despite the regime’s publicity-minded efforts to showcase themselves as a government that is tolerant of its Jewish citizens, JIMENA’s Iranian members continue to share stories of the discrimination, dispossession, torture and murder of Jews simply because of their faith.
George Haroonian, an prominent Iranian Jewish activist and friend of JIMENA, told me: “This regime, no matter how the personalities are branded as conservative or moderate or radical, has hegemonic plans for the Middle East and the world. … All agreements are only steps in achieving their long-term goal.”
Some of JIMENA’s Iranian members take a nuanced view of the nuclear agreement, but remain critical of the regime’s dismal human rights record. However, Elliott Benjamin, JIMENA advisory board member and Iranian American Jewish communal leader, expresses the opinion that seems to be shared by the majority of our membership: “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran deal, is a catastrophic mistake of historic proportions.
Read article in full
Iranian Jews in US 'against Obama deal'