Monday, December 19, 2005

Iran: Anti-semites? Us?

The Mehr News Agency has an amusing editorial defending Iran's tolerance towards its own dhimmi Jews:
No pogroms here
TEHRAN, Dec. 19 (MNA) -- With all the uproar about Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s anti-Zionist statements, it’s necessary to set the record straight by putting things in historical perspective.

A small Jewish community has been living in Iran for over 2500 years, and they have never been persecuted. Today they number about 25,000. The Iranian Jews have synagogues, observe their religious rituals, and have complete freedom of religion.

The Jewish community has one representative in the Iranian parliament, which is called the Majlis. Iran’s other religious minorities also have proportional representation in parliament. The Zoroastrians have one seat, the Armenian Christians have two seats, and one MP represents the Assyrian and Chaldean Christian communities.

Although life is not perfect for Iran’s Jews and there is some prejudice against them, there have never been pogroms against the Jews here. Can Poland or Russia say that? Can several other European countries say that? A careful examination of history shows that the Jews have actually been safer in Iran than in Western countries.

The Jews have never been banned from Iran, whereas they were banned in certain European countries. The Jews of Iran were never locked up in ghettos, as was the case in some European countries.

In 2500 years, not one synagogue has been destroyed in Iran. Jewish graveyards have never been desecrated in Iran. In contrast, this still occurs in some Western countries.

There has never been a Kristallnacht in Iran.

This amazing defense boils down to "We never did what the Nazis did, so you can't criticize us!"

Unfortunately, Iran does have more than its share of true anti-semitism. Beyond the fondness Iranians have for the Farsi edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, their Sahar TV aired programs accusing "Zionists" of stealing Arab children's eyes to cure blind Jewish children; and they have accused Iranian Jews of spying for Israel, gouging out the eyes of a 78-year old cantor and then executing him in one case.

And Iranian Holocaust denial has been above-ground for years, especially in the pages of the Tehran Times:
[The] Tehran Times seemed especially obsessed with the Holocaust. Perhaps “the biggest lie in history,” a 25 January 2001 article maintained, took formal shape during the Nuremberg trials, where a confession “obtained by means of torture” became “the cornerstone of the official Auschwitz version.” No one has ever asked “the Jewish swindlers,” who present themselves as “gas chamber witnesses” any critical questions. Yet, “the terrible accusation” of genocide, is based only upon “the lies of a handful of Jewish swindlers like Rudolf Vrba, Filip Mueller and Elie Wiesel,” and “the confessions of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess who was tortured for three days by his Jewish and British interrogators before signing the statement his tormentors had prepared for him” (Tehran Times, 17 Feb. 2001). There is “no documentary evidence for the gassing of even one human being in a German camp,” it added, and the German documents do not confirm “the Holocaust story,” in fact, they “directly refute it” (1 Feb. 2001).

But, hey, they have a point - any Iranian Jews who obediently paid the dhimmi "jizya" poll tax were treated like second-class citizens, much better than 1940's-era Polish Jews. And Islamic supremacism isn't anti-semitism, is it?