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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Iranian reformists: Maybe the regime lied about Israel too?

Did you ever have a friend whom you trusted absolutely that you caught lying to you? How did you relate to things that friend told you after they were caught? Were you a bit more skeptical than you were before?

For the last 15 months, I - and I'm sure many of you - have had mixed feelings about supporting the 'green revolution' in Iran. On the one hand, could anything be worse than Ahmadinejad, who talks about wiping Israel off the map at every opportunity? On the other hand, the 'green revolution' didn't seem to have a much better fate in mind for Jews. They were (and may still be) interested in pursuing the Iranian nuclear program to the same extent that Ahmadinejad is, they have many very anti-Israel, anti-Jewish and for that matter anti-everything-that's not Muslim activities in their past (note the caption under the picture of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi at top left), and I found that most of the greens with whom I corresponded, including private correspondence with Iranian bloggers, would avoid the question when I asked them how they felt about Jews and Israel.

Fathiyeh Naghibzadeh and Andreas Benl are the founders of the German chapter of the European Coalition to Stop the Bomb. They argue that Iranian reformists are now questioning what the current Iranian regime has told them about Israel, because they have seen that the Iranian regime lied to them in so many other ways (Hat Tip: Barry Rubin). Obviously, these claims need to be verified, and one article does not a movement make. But still, it is worth keeping an eye on this to see if (hopefully) it develops into a trend. We certainly have no border disputes with Iran and there is no reason why our countries cannot have decent, cordial relations assuming that the Iranians are not out to destroy us.
After the Mavi Marmara incident, a group of Iranian leftist and Muslim intellectuals and artists from abroad signed a statement claiming to find “similarities between the violence exhibited by the occupying regime of Israel and the suppressive regime of the Islamic Republic” and supporting the “admirable and brave struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and democracy.”

In a counter petition, Saeed Ghaseminejad, speaker of the liberal students of Iran and other Iranian intellectuals and activists denounced this equation as an insult to the peaceful protest movement in Iran and as a tragic failure to correct the anti-Semitic past of the Iranian Left.

Since the rigged elections of June 2009 it has become clearer every day for Iranians that effective resistance against a totalitarian dictatorship is only possible if its opponents are willing to challenge openly all its ideological foundations – and besides gender apartheid, anti-Zionism is the most important one.

Many have claimed that the anti- Israel aggressions of the Islamic Republic should be documented separately from its human rights record to protect the opposition against regime charges of being “agents of Zionism.”

This has always been futile because “Zionist” has been a regime accusation against all serious opponents from the beginning – regardless of their relation to Israel and the Jews.

Today this warning has become obsolete because Iranians do not let themselves become intimidated anymore by the regime’s conspiracy theories. Hassan Dai, a journalist who has consistently exposed the work of the Iranian regime lobby in the United States, has recently published several articles focusing on anti-Zionism as the ideological platform this lobby is acting on. And the political analyst Nima Rashedan urges his readers to compare the camp of the sympathisers of Israel to that of its enemies, concluding that “friendship to and hatred against Israel are the criteria to tell apart civilization from primitiveness.”

In Europe and other parts of the world, hatred of Israel is an intellectual resentment and a tool to gain influence in the Middle East. For democratic Iranians, it is a vital matter of self-interest to renounce the terrorist foreign policy of the regime, which at the end of the day is exerted against them. Iranian society today is questioning everything the Islamic Republic stands for.
Read it all. And let's hope and pray that the historic friendship between Jews and Persians - dating back more than 2,000 years to Cyrus the Great's support for the construction of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem - may once again be revived.


At 10:09 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

The Iranian's want a strong and resilient leader who demonstrates his strength in various ways. Telling Iranians that their ruler is cruel will not convince the public that they need a new leader. To the contrary,this will reinforce the idea that their ruler is strong. The following link is an amazing analysis on the mindset and behaviors of Iranians...



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