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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

All you need to know about Iran's Jews

On December 21:
The attempts by a Zionist organization to persuade Iranian Jews to leave the country and receive $10,000 in return have failed.

The organizers of the project in Israel and the United States have voiced their disappointment after they were given the cold shoulder.

According to a report by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), of some 25,000 Jews living in Iran, only 125 accepted the money during the course of the one-year project.

Iran's Jewish community leaders denounced the IFCJ attempts in a statement saying “Iranian Jews will not abandon their identity for any amount of money.”

We love our Iranian identity and culture, so threats and enticements would not persuade Iranian Jews to give up their identity,” the statement added.
When did anyone make any threats? Sounds more like the Iranian Jewish "leaders" are saying what they think the Iranian mullahs want to hear.

December 25:
Forty Iranian Jews secretly flew to Israel yesterday, completing a yearlong covert operation to start a new life in the country that Iran's leader vows to "wipe off the map."

The modern-day Exodus was the largest influx of Iranian Jews to Israel since Ayatollah Khomeini established his hard-line Islamic Republic in Tehran in 1979.

The smuggled immigrants were greeted by relatives who screamed with joy and tossed candy as they were reunited at Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv.

"I feel so good," said a 16-year-old who gave his name as Yosef.

He arrived with his brother, sister and parents and was greeted by grandparents he hadn't seen in six years.

"I just saw all of my family. You can't put that into words," he said.

Being reunited with relatives was only one reason for their secret escape, the immigrants said.

"I was scared in Iran as a Jew," Yosef's brother Michael, 15, said.

Like others, they declined to give their family name to protect relatives still in Iran. The new arrivals - 10 families and three individuals who traveled by themselves - said they had to abandon all their possessions when they fled.
Some of the immigrants disputed claims that they suffered from rising anti-Semitism under Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"I'm in heaven," said Avraham Dayan, 63, who hadn't seen his son in the 11 years since he made his own secret escape from Iran.

He recalled how he was jailed in Iran in 1993.

"I didn't know that the authorities were listening to my phone, and they came to arrest me," he told The Jerusalem Post.

"They said I was a friend of [Israeli Prime Minister Menachem] Begin, that I was a Zionist, and they threw me in jail."

"I bribed my way out of jail, bribed my way to an Iranian passport and left Iran," he said. He added his son also obtained a new passport by bribes.
And today:
Representatives of the Jewish Community in Iran said Wednesday that Iranian Jews have never taken steps to emigrate because of the good living standards enjoyed by religious minorities in Iran and their common cultural roots.

In a communiqué published a day after news of 40 Iranian Jewish immigrants landing in Israel, Jewish community leaders Maurice Mo'atamad and Ciamak Morsathegh wrote that "the report that was published regarding the Iranian Jewish community by the foreign news agencies is an outright lie."

Jewish representative in the Iranian Parliament, Mo'atamed, and President of Tehran's Jewish community Mareh-Sadegh, continued: "The massive propaganda issued by the enemies of the Iranian people and the Jews of Iran has never influenced Jews because of our historical, cultural, and national roots in Iran.

"As we have previously declared, the childish attempts to tempt us and the spreading of lies by anti-Iranian Zionist-Imperialist elements can in no way harm the strong connection of Iranian Jews to the Iranian nation and the sacred government of the Islamic Republic."

Again emphasizing their loyalty to the regime, the leaders write, "We, the Jews of Iran, are Iranians, have always been Iranians, [funny - they were never Persians? -EoZ] and will always be Iranians. We are ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of our homeland. In spite of foreign propaganda we shall continue to live in the land of our birth."

The Jewish community representatives blamed other countries for raising the immigration issue. "Any attempt on part of foreigners to meddle in Iranian Jewish internal affairs constitutes a part of the West's plan to attack the Iranian people and to fracture Iranian unity. The Jews of Iran, therefore, strongly condemn this completely unacceptable interference. The collective, peaceful life of Iranian Jews throughout history is a testament to the shared path of the Iranian nation and Iran's Jews.
Let's assume that Iran is extraordinarily benevolent towards its Jews and that the Iranian Jews are beloved by all Iranians (as Iran's Press TV illustrated its article on the topic.)

Now, when 40 Iranians (out of 200 this year) are interviewed on Israeli soil, what would one expect the leaders of the Iranian community to say?

Perhaps that they are sad to see their friends leave? Or that the ones who left have made a big mistake? Or that the ones that left were malcontents as opposed to the peaceful majority of Iranian Jews?

But you would not expect them to say that the entire episode was fiction.

The fact that they bend over backwards to say something so absurd indicates that they are making statements out of fear, not out of conviction. They are parroting Ahmadinejad-style rhetoric to prove to the nation their loyalty. And the only reason to do that is because of the fear of what would happen to them if they would react differently - they have seen first hand what happens to their friends who are labeled "Zionist spies."

I have no doubt that Iranian Jews are treated better than any Jews in Arab countries are. I am sure that there is no overt, obvious persecution of the Jewish community there.

But the over-the-top reaction from the "leaders" of that community to this news are perhaps the best proof that the Jews in Iran live in great fear, and will say anything necessary to stay on the mullahs' good side.