These are not everyday occurrences. For every bigoted Muslim Iranian I know, I’ve also known a dozen civil, enlightened and cultured ones. Many of them, in fact, are more accepting of Jews than Jews are of them. They’re not everyday occurrences, and yet, when they happen, they all but take my breath away. In the 2000s, I’m in the studios of a Persian-language radio station in Los Angeles. As I wait for one program to end and my interview to begin, I hear an angry caller yell at the host that he should not refer to Iranian Jews as “Iranian.” “Those people are not and have never been Iranians.
They were subversives we let live in our country.” The caller is somewhere in the United States. After he signs off, a second caller, then a third echo his sentiments. Last week, I happened upon a Facebook conversation among a few Iranian Muslims about Iranian Jews. The subject is “Iranians who attended the AIPAC conference,” and how “these are the same people who voted for Donald Trump.” This, we all know and understand, means something like, “Iranian Jews all support Israel and would like to bomb and obliterate Iran, and that’s why they voted for Trump.” In response to the post, people have made comments such as, “Those people are not Iranians; they’re Israelis disguised as Iranian” or “Those are Israelis who speak Farsi.”
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