Home Minorities The roots of Anti-Semitism in Iran
The roots of Anti-Semitism in Iran Print E-mail

 

August 2, 2010

The Jews and the Iranians have a long history of understanding and peaceful relations. The most notable aspect of this long history is the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus the great who is mentioned in the Old Testament many times. He released the Jews, facilitated their return to the Holy Land, to Jerusalem and helped them rebuild the Temple of Solomon.

Anti-Semitism in Iran is a new obsession. Literature is a mirror which reflects the thoughts of a nation during its history. In Persian literature the Jews are not the bad characters. To be more precise Persian literature does not really speak about the Jews as much. Anti-Semitic thoughts began to become popular in Iran some years before the Second World War. It can be said that anti-Semitism in Iran has four roots.

1-      German and French Fascism:

Many students were sent to Europe, mostly Germany and France, a few years before the beginning of the Second World War. These students became the architects of new Iran. Unfortunately one of the things they brought back as a gift was anti-Semitism which was widespread in Germany and France then. Ahmad Fardid was a good example of such students. He went to France and came back a disciple of Heidegger, a fascist and an anti-Semite. After the Islamic revolution in 1979 he became the spiritual guide of Islamist and anti-Semite militia-intellectuals and tried to justify ayatollah Khomeini’s anti-Semitic and anti-liberal efforts by combining Islam and fascism.

 

2-     Conflict between the holy Prophet of Islam and the Jewish tribes of Medina:

The wars between Muhammad and the Jewish tribes of Medina ended horribly. In the most famous one, the battle of Banu Qurayza, 700 Jewish men and boys who had surrendered themselves were executed and the Jewish girls and women were given to Muslims as slaves. As we know after these wars the Jewish tribes of that region were wiped out from the existence. The fundamentalists always refer to these wars as a sign of eternal and long-standing enmity of Jews toward Muslims. In fact, the Jews were attacked by Muslims in this episode. As I see it, the Jews do not speak much about this whereas in Islamic societies this part of history seems to be alive and inspirational.

 

3-     Russian Communism:

Russian communism and Stalinism had important anti-Semitic aspects. The leftist groups in Iran were largely under the influence of Stalinism and Stalin. The Doctors Plot[i] is a well-known story which shows Stalin’s anti-Semitic views. Stalin blended Russian nationalism with Bolshevism. One important feature of Russian nationalism was its deep-rooted anti-Semitism. In a letter in 1907, Stalin mentioned the difference between a "Jewish faction" and a "true Russian faction" in Bolshevism. As it is obvious the “Jewish faction” in Bolshevism was annihilated by Stalin.

 

4-     Tier-Mondism:

Tiers-Mondism and its most important feature the Palestinian movement was another root of anti-Semitism in Iran. Tier-Mondism was spread by Jalal Al Ahmad, Ali Shariati, Ehsan Naraqi, Dariush Shayegan and others. These Iranian intellectuals viewed Israel, the Middle Eastern Jews and Middle-Eastern people who had this opportunity to join the West and being baptized as a western country at  the heart of Middle-East as traitors.  The 1979 Islamic revolution had many important anti-Semitic aspects and most of its leaders were anti-Semite figures. So, when they came to power they made this the official policy of the new regime. It is amusing that both the new revolutionary government and its opposition - except the Monarchists and Nationalists - were stubbornly anti-Israeli groups.

But that is the story of the old generation. The new generation in Iran has a different theme. Even though they are the children of the 1979 revolution and have been raised and indoctrinated by it, they along with many similar groups are not anti-Semite. In fact, they believe in peace, and that both parties in the conflict should have their own country and that they should live together in peace. They do not believe that Israel is an enemy of Iran. They do not even believe in Islamic internationalism but that Iran should pursue its own national interest.

 


[i] On January 13, 1953, TASS news agency announced "the unmasking of a terrorist group of doctor-poisoners". Satire magazine Krokodil published anti-Semitic feuilletons and caricatures, Pravda published materials on arrested "spies", almost all of whom were Jews.

 http://www.roozonline.com/english/opinion/opinion-article/article/2010/august/02//the-roots-of-anti-semitism-in-iran.html

************************************

 

Comments (0)
Only registered users can write comments!