Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jerusalem Post blasts Cohen's piece on Jews of Iran

Rafael Medoff joins the ranks of critics of Roger Cohen's NY Times article, in which he gives credence to Jewish stooges of the Iranian regime. "Never trust what a Jew in a totalitarian state says to a foreigner," Medoff writes in the Jerusalem Post:

"The state department's most recent annual report on international religious freedom paints a picture of Jewish life in Iran that is at odds with Cohen's description. The report says Iran's Jews live in "a threatening atmosphere" and suffer "officially sanctioned discrimination, particularly in the areas of employment, education and housing." The government "limits the distribution of Hebrew texts, in practice making it difficult to teach the language." Government pressure resulted in the shutdown of the Jewish community's newspaper, Ofogh-e-Bina. And "officially sanctioned anti-Semitic propaganda" permeates "official statements, media outlets, publications and books."

"Three-quarters of Iran's Jews have emigrated in the 30 years since the Khomeini revolution, and the State Department notes that some Iranian Jews are continuing to emigrate, "in part due to continued anti-Semitism on the part of the government and within society."

"Obviously others choose not to emigrate. Sometimes factors such as family ties, poverty or hope for a change in government are sufficient to persuade people to stay in a country where they are mistreated. In fact, in 1937 - fully four years after Hitler's rise to power - Germany was still home to more Jews than any other Western European country. That was not because they enjoyed Hitler's rule.

"The situation of Iranian Jewry must not be turned into a political football. The dangers and discrimination that Iran's Jews face should not be minimized to advance a particular policy agenda. Cohen urges the West to adopt an approach of "compromise" and "engagement" with Teheran, and it is possible the Obama administration will follow his advice. But if it does, one hopes that decision will not be influenced by misleading reports which see "civility" in Iran's uncivil treatment of its Jewish citizens. "

Read article in full

3 comments:

InependentObserver said...

One of the Post readers has a very revealing comment:

"From the time the Persians became Moslems until the Shah's father around 1900, Jews were persecuted in Iran. Many were forced to convert to Islam."

IndependentObserver said...

Two additional Post comments, from Iranian Jews, reveal the true situation which the naive (or incompetent) Cohen omitted:

First comment:

"Most Jews in Iran suffer from poverty. There has always been anti-semitism in Iran, even before the revolution, because Iran is an Islamic country. My grandfather (Persian Jew) used to get beat up by the Moslems, if there was rain and he would leave the house.

They would say that Jews pollute the air, and if it rains it would pollute the ground. There is a word they use, "najest=tameh), referring to Jews. It means dirty, but you could clean dirty, but you can't clean "najest." If a Jew drinks out of their glass or a cup, the only solution is to break the glass or the cup.


Second comment:

As a persian jew who escaped Iran and has some family there I can tell u that most Iranian Jews feel afraid financially to leave or think that the current regime will change. Just like the jews in germany in 1933-39.

The rich jews in iran are loosing their properties and wealth cause they can't move money out easily and a jew does not have the same rights as a muslim in a Iranian court. So with a fake document and bribe to a judge, they take jewish property away.

[It] happened to my family.

The jews might feel safe now, but if one of these day a mullah calls the jews zionists, ...public hangings!

bataween said...

Shi'as in Bahrain also had the najes prejudice against Jews, but I have not heard of Jews encountering it among the Shi'as of Iraq - please correct me if I'm wrong!
Bataween