Monday, October 05, 2009

  • Monday, October 05, 2009
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Karmel Melamed at the (LA) Jewish Journal blog:

This reporter and blog were bombarded with e-mails and questions since last night from readers of this blog asking me whether the story published in Britain’s Daily Telegraph’s that Ahmadinejad was born a Jew had any validity. After reading the Telegraph’s original story published yesterday and consulting with a number of local Iranian Jewish scholars with regards to the story’s claims of Ahmadinejad’s supposed Jewish identity, as an Iranian Jewish journalist I cannot verify a single shred of evidence that would suggest this story is accurate in any way. The article lacks any real or credible sources cited that can unequivocally prove that Ahmadinejad had any Jewish roots and it seems as if the story was just leaked to the Telegraph by “reformist” leaders in Iran as a part of a larger smear campaign against the newly “re-elected” hardliner president of Iran.

The article’s authors, Damien McElroy and Ahmad Vahdat claim that “Iranian experts” they consulted with have seen the supposed “Jewish name of Sabourjian –meaning cloth weaver” in a photo of Ahmadinejad’s identity papers from March of 2009. My main problem with this claim about the “Sabourjian” name is that the Iranian Jewish experts, scholars and religious leaders in L.A. I have interviewed today, have never heard of any Jewish family in Iran with such a name. Likewise the handful of English to Farsi dictionaries authored by Solomon Haim (a 20th century Iranian Jewish scholar of Persian language) found at UCLA’s library I have research through today do not identify the word “sabour” as “the name for the Jewish tallit shawl” as both McElroy and Vahdat claim in their article! For that matter, none of the English to Farsi dictionaries I came across even had the word “sabour” nor a definition listed for it! Where these journalists came up with this nonsense about the word “sabour” having a Jewish meaning is beyond me! As an Iranian Jewish journalist fluent in the Persian language for the last 31 years, I have never heard of the word “sabour” uttered by members of my community and the Iranian Jewish community has never used this word as a reference to the Jewish prayer shawl. We Iranian Jews refer to the Jewish prayer shawl by it’s Hebrew name of “seat-seat” (the Hebrew word for the fringes of the prayer shawl) or we use the Hebrew word of “tallit” just like the millions of other Jews living on this planet.

Likewise I also have a problem with McElroy and Vahdat’s supposed expert sources they used in their article who are not even Iranian Jews nor credible scholars with any real familiarity with the subject of Iranian Jewry! The authors of the article list “Ali Nourizadeh, of the Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies” in London and some Iranian internet blogger “Mehdi Khazali” as their experts who back the unproven claim that Ahmadinejad was supposedly born a Jew. Both Nourizadeh and Khazali are clearly NOT Jewish and my question as a reader of the article (and not as an Iranian Jewish journalist) is a simple one; why would anyone cite non-Jewish experts unfamiliar with Iranian Jewry as supposed accurate sources on a story about the Jewish origins of a country’s leader? You’d think these journalists would go through some effort to find some sort of a Jewish scholar or expert familiar with Iran to substantiate their claims—but no, McElroy and Vahdat instead rely on Iranian Muslims with no real knowledge of Iranian Jewry to prove their allegations of Ahmadinejad supposed Jewish roots. Therefore the articles authors’ use of these non-Jewish experts who lack any real credibility or knowledge of this topic clearly places the entire accuracy of their overall story on Ahmadinejad into question for me. Iranian Jewish experts I consulted with also said they were unable to read the unclear photo of the Ahmadinejad’s identity papers to properly verify the Telegraph’s story.

Another serious question I have with the accuracy of McElroy and Vahdat’s story is their claim that Ahmadinejad’s alleged Jewish name “is even on the list of reserved names for Iranian Jews compiled by Iran’s Ministry of the Interior”. Again I am perplexed at why these seasoned journalists would place any kind of credibility on an official Iranian government document when most experts familiar with the current Iranian regime know very well that any time lists of names are “complied by the Iranian government” they are used by different forces in the regime for nothing more than to attack another official, party or faction in the country. The most classic and detrimental way Iranian government officials have attacked one another is to claim that the “such and such official was born a Jew, or was once a Jew who converted to Islam, or his family was Jewish a generation ago and then converted”. The “Jewish identity label” is your classic textbook example of anti-Semitism at its prime that is thrown around as a type of public insult or verbal assault officials in Iran and in most Islamic nations used against one another in smear campaigns. The Iranian Jewish experts I interviewed this morning in L.A. informed me that for one Iranian government official to call or accuse another government official of being Jewish is the equivalent to individuals or groups in the U.S. to accuse an elected official in America of being a child molester or pedophiliac! This is the sad and unfortunately reality that being a Jew in Iran has a very derogatory meaning.

The negative connotation of claiming that someone Muslim in Iran is Jewish or has Jewish roots brings me to my final analysis of the true origins of this entire Ahmadinejad-Jewish story. Iran experts here in L.A. I recently interviewed said that even before Ahmadinejad, various “reformist” leaders during the “open era” of the past Iranian President Mohammad Khatami during the 1990s and early 2000s were using “Jewishness” as a verbal assault against other rival officials they hated or against other Iranian officials who presumably had Jewish blood. Frank Nikbakht, an L.A.-based Iranian Jewish activist and director of the Committee for Minority Rights in Iran, said the accusations Iranian officials make of each other being Jewish is nothing new for Iran’s current regime. “I remember in early 2000 when members of Khatami’s reformist party in Iran accused one of their hardliner rivals, a man named Habibollah Ashkaroladi Mosalman, of having Jewish roots,” said Nikbakht in a telephone interview today. “What we are seeing today with this story of Ahmadinejad being supposedly Jewish is the same smear tactics the reformists have used in the past against their hardliner opponents”. It seems as if even the supposed “reformists” in Iran, who Obama administration officials and other Western leaders have long hail as being supposedly “open-minded”, are also now showing their true anti-Semitic tendencies by vilifying Ahmadinejad with disgusting anti-Semitic rhetoric! Why else would Ahmadinejad be such an evil and horrible dictator trying to take over the world and kill people? He must no doubt be a Jew. Sounds like garbage you might read in the classic anti-Semitic book the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”! (By the way, the Persian language copies of the Protocols have long been best sellers in Iran with more than 400 pages added to the original Russian version published in the 1880s).

As an journalist I am shocked at the lack of accurate reporting and very poor journalism in McElroy and Vahdat’s story regarding Ahmadinejad in this instance. Shame on the Daily Telegraph’s editors for publishing such inaccurate claims with no real experts familiar with Iranian Jewry cited. The reporters and editors at this paper are either completely brainless or stooges and mouth-pieces for “reformists” officials in Iran who have begun this smear campaign against Ahmadinejad. It’s poor journalism like this story that fan the fires of anti-Semitism and hate around the world. Readers and bloggers worldwide should condemn this story published by the Telegraph, call for McElroy and Vahdat’s resignation and write letters to the newspaper about their poor journalism in this instance.

Lastly, even if this story is true (which I highly doubt) it is well known in Iran that those who have converted to Islam over the years have done so because of different family disputes including inheritance rights. According to Iran’s radical Shiite Islamic laws, new converts to Islam who came from a non-Muslim family, can automatically inherit all of their dead non-Muslim relative’s assets without the need to go to probate court and their non-Muslim family members are entitled to none of the inheritances. These new Muslim converts from Judaism (also known as “jadid-ol-eslam” or new to Islam) today and in the past have typically been the most anti-Semitic of Muslims living in Iran.

Were journalists always this lazy?

(h/t ahoova)

EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz





For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs


#PayForSlay Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews AmericanZionism Amnesty Amnesty 2022 analysis anti-semitism anti-Zionism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art Ashrawi ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Bernie Sanders Biden history Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence CAIR Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day CEDAW Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision CJ Werleman Clark Kent coexistence Comix Community Standards conspiracy theories COVID-19 Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum David Miller Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Ellen Horowitz Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Fake Civilians 2019 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features Fervent Embrace fisking flood libel flotilla Forensic Architecture Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Garlasco Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry Ghassan Daghlas gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW hum Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow IJ Benjamin Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia infographic international law interview intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya James Zogby jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter Joe Biden John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Judith Butler Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Mairav Zonszein Malaysia Marc Lamont Hill Marjorie Taylor Greene Masafer Yatta max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Lynk Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nasser al-Lahham Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO Nick Cannon NIF Noah Phillips norpac NSU Matrix NYT Occupation offbeat olive oil Omar Barghouti Omri Boehm Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB philosophy poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals RealJerusalemStreets reference Reuters Richard Falk Richard Landes Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians Seth Rogen settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shireen Abu Akleh Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Sovereignty Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tlaib TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Trump Lame Duck Test Tunisia Turkey UAE Accord UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra vaccination Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks Winstanley work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yamit Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zionophobia Ziophobia Zvi

Best posts of the past 6 months


A new, better definition of antisemitism

Blog Archive