The Complicated Relationship Between Iran, Israel, and Jews

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?

6 thoughts on “The Complicated Relationship Between Iran, Israel, and Jews

  1. That’s Farsi, not Arabic. And perhaps the martyrs on that page are those who died in the iraq-iran war?

  2. ‘Martyrs’ is an umbrella word. Yes, it can include Iranians who died in the war with Iraq. It can also include ANYONE who dies as a result of occupation: ‘collateral damage’ in the form of someone still in the house when the bulldozers demolish it, a girl playing in her house, when the IAF makes a mistake, a boy killed while throwing stones, and yes, suicide bombers. Also covered under the martyr grouping, are the 54 killed in Lebanon, yesterday.
    Martyrdom can also apply to Jews. Had the bullet which blinded Matan Cohen been ‘live,’ and killed him (instead of being rubber, and merely blinding him), he would have been a martyr. And, had the live bullet which arrived in Gil Na’amati’s leg, arrived in his heart, he also, would have been martyred.

  3. Don’t be such a sucker for propaganda. The article you read is bullshit. Everything provided to its writers came from the Iranian government. The Jews of Iran are prisoners there, the vast majority of whom would leave, if they could.
    BTW, other minorities, like Kurds and Zoroastrians, are similarly treated like shit in Iran.
    Finally, the Iran/Weimar comparison doesn’t work. Weimar was a democracy taken over by fascists: Iran is already in the hands of fascists.

  4. It’s not all propoganda what he is saying. I have met Persian Jews who have left Iran since the revolution, and the situation is not simple. In some ways, they say the Jewish community is happier and safer since the revolution. Jews in Iran have a protected minority status, not unlike the situation for Jews in muslim countries during the middle ages. Yes, there is a general anti-semitism that prevales throughout hte entire country ont eh one hand. But on the other hand, their basic rights are protected with the full force of the law. To steal from a Jew, assault him, kill him, or anything else is equally offensive as a similar action against a Muslim. Further, as the article pointed out, tehy are exempt from the stringent theocratic laws that govern the muslim populace. Also, another interesting tidbit, the Jews have vested seats in parliament there.
    All of this makes for an interesting situation. Yes, under the Shah, the Jews could have public relations with Israel, they were considered equal citizens and they could speak Hebrew on the streets, and some businessmen used the great Jewish network to help them achieve wonderful success. However, as it was a secular government, the anti-semitism in the public was allowed to run free, and all but hte elite suffered daily oppressions and attacks. Today, the system while systimatically seting them aside as a minority, as a lower class, at the same time protects their basic everyday rights
    Complicated, ambigous and confused, but hey – that’s Persia

  5. I don’t have a problem with exposing corruption within the U.S. government and state/local governments. If U.S. government diplomatic correspondence is exposed I would likewise expect to see EU, Indian,Russian, Chinese, Brazilian, German, French, UK, etc., governmental and diplomatic correspondence leaked and exposed. There are obviously MANY non-U.S. do-gooders and one world citizen of the world type. I encourage each and ever one to do what they can to get their hands on and leak their respective government(s) confidential governmental and diplomatic correspondence. I for one would LOVE to know what’s going on behind the scenes at the EU in Brussels, Russia, China and so-on. A brave AMERICAN stood up to the plate and leaked U.S. ‘secrets’…where are the brave Brits, Euros, Russians, Chinese? I want to see something on the same scale as the U.S. leaks.

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