Browsing the Internets, I stumbled onto this article about Iran’s Jewish population, written by an Associated Press ‘Religion Writer’, Brian Murphy with contributions from AP reporter, Ali Aknar Darieni. What struck me was…
Iranian Jews face no restrictions on their religious practices, but they must follow Islamic codes such as head scarves for women in public. The same rules apply to the larger Christian and Zoroastrian communities.
Anti-Semitic acts are rare, but Jews often are the target of degrading caricatures in the Iranian press. Tensions rose considerably in 2000 when 10 Iranian Jews were convicted of spying for Israel. An appealscourt later reduced their sentences under international pressure andeventually freed them.
“For Iranians, there is a distinction in their mind between Zionism and Judaism,” said Motamed. “This is a very important distinction for us.”
So, despite President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s claims that the Holocaust never happened, that the world’s only Jewish nation – and presumeably all the Jews in it – be wiped off the map; Jews apparently lead a relatively happy life there.
So I went to the site for Tehran’s Jewish Community, which is presented in English and Arabic, yet interestingly enough, not in Hebrew. It’s a pretty sparse site, but towards the bottom of the page, I found this little tidbit which kind of screwed me up a little bit: a Gathering Tribute to to martyrs.
Now…. which martyrs are they talking about?
Could it be these?
What in our culture endorses martyrdom? And if nothing, then why are Jews endorsing them? Acknowledging we are a diverse diasporic group, and our nationalistic slants may bias behavior from country to country… why would Jews advertise this voluntarily? It doesn’t add up to me. We’re not a culture that celebrates death and afterlife enough to actively participate in something like this.
Talk to me. Iranian Jews: Weimar Republic fodder? Or caught in a limbo of public relations?