[News] Debunking Anti-Iran Propaganda: The Myth of the "New Holocaust"

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Mar 6 14:49:58 EST 2012


Debunking Anti-Iran Propaganda: The Myth of the "New Holocaust"

By Benjamin Schett

<http://www.globalresearch.ca>Global Research, March 6, 2012
http://www.globalresearch.ca/PrintArticle.php?articleId=29626

In a pattern of propaganda now well-established 
in the mainstream media, fear-mongering against 
Iran is reaching an all-time peak. A case in 
point includes ongoing accusations that Iran is 
in violation of the nuclear non-proliferation 
treaty, despite statements to the contrary from 
U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta as well as a 
number of American intelligence officials[1].

In addition, claims that Iran is involved in 
terrorist activities were released by the Obama 
administration, fabricating an Iranian conspiracy 
with the goal to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S.
(For details, see: 
<http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27094>http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27094) 


Most recently, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin 
Netanyahu has accused Iran of having planned 
terrorist attacks in India, Georgia and Thailand.
(For details, see: 
<http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29320>http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29320)

As it stands, the intensification of propaganda 
is fuelling an anti-Iranian proxy conflict in 
Syria and creating the serious danger of 
aggression against Iran in the coming months by 
Israel's extremist government and/or the Obama 
administration. These media fabrications also do 
not question why the prospect of a nuclear-armed 
Iran would increase worldwide tensions so much 
more than the hyper-developed nuclear weapons 
programs of countries like Israel and the United 
States. (Notwithstanding the fact that there is 
no existing proof that suggests that Iran is 
doing anything other than developing a peaceful civilian atomic program.)

Opponents of possible armed aggression against 
Iran are regularly accused of repeating the 
mistakes from the period prior to World War II, 
namely of not taking seriously the purportedly 
dangerous eliminatory "anti-Semitism" of the 
Iranian regime. This charge is echoed by the 
Anti-Defamation League, one of the biggest 
pro-Zionist U.S. groups, who is lobbying for 
taking any "necessary" measures in order to 
overthrow the Iranian government and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's 
anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views place him and 
the Iranian regime among the foremost threats to 
Jews and the state of Israel."[2]

Moreover, Israeli President Shimon Peres called 
Iran a "danger to the entire world" while 
addressing the German Bundestag in a speech 
marking Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2010.

The symbolism of such actions is clear: whoever 
refuses to participate in the campaign against 
Iran is neglecting the threat of a new Holocaust, 
the insinuation being that if Iran were to get 
nuclear weapons, it would use them against the state of Israel.

First of all, suggesting that the current 
situation in Iran is even remotely comparable to 
the crimes committed by the Nazis inexcusably 
downplays the suffering of Jews, Roma, 
Communists, Slavic nations and other victims of Fascism.

In addition, while the strategic motivation 
behind arguments made by Israeli decision-makers 
is clear, the facts are not. In fact, the alleged 
statements made by Ahmadinejad calling for Israel 
to be "wiped of the map" were proven to be fake 
thanks to a false translation from Farsi into 
English. (See: 
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/jun/14/post155>http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/jun/14/post155) 
This has been well known already for some time, 
although it does not seem to faze the war propagandists.

The other question that should be asked by anyone 
investigating accusations against the Iranian 
government of being the "foremost threat against 
Jews" is how do Jews actually live in Iran? If 
the Iranian president is supposed to be some kind 
of reborn Hitler, would that not be reflected in 
imposed anti-Jewish legislature in his country, calls for pogroms, etc.?

The evidence on Jewish life in Iran, from various 
sources, including Jewish and American mainstream 
is revealing. For example, a website belonging to 
the Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic 
Studies and Culture (FASSAC) acknowledges that:

"While Jewish communities in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, 
Egypt, Morocco and Algeria have all but vanished, 
Iran is home to 25,000 – some here say 35,000 – Jews."[3]

This makes Iran’s Jewish community the largest in 
the Middle East, outside of Israel. Furthermore, 
many Iranian Jews show pride in their mixed 
Jewish-Iranian heritage and would not consider emigration:

"Jewish leaders say their community has far 
stronger roots in Iran than other Middle East 
Jewish communities, which were virtually 
eradicated by massive immigration to Israel in 
the 1940s and 1950s. Esther, the biblical Jewish 
queen who saved her people from persecution in 
the fifth century B.C., is reputed to be buried 
in Hamadan, in western Iran. The grave of the Old 
Testament prophet Daniel lies in southwestern Iran."

As we see, Jewish roots in Iran date back to 
biblical times: "The Jews trace their heritage in 
Iran to the Babylonian Exile of the 6th century 
BC..."[4]. Indeed, several Persian kings enjoy a 
positive reputation in the Old Testament because 
of their friendly attitude towards the Hebrew people.

Today, Jewish religion and culture is still present in everyday life in Iran:

"Tehran has 11 functioning synagogues, many of 
them with Hebrew schools. It has two kosher 
restaurants, and a Jewish hospital, an old-age 
home and a cemetery. There is a Jewish 
representative in the Iranian parliament. There 
is a Jewish library with 20,000 titles..."

It can't be denied that there must have been 
considerable concern among Iranian Jews in the 
time following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, as 
it was hard to predict how things would develop 
under the new radically anti-Zionist leadership, 
and many chose to emigrate on this account. Nonetheless:

"Khomeini [the spiritual leader of the Islamic 
Revolution] met with the Jewish community upon 
his return from exile in Paris and issued a 
''fatwa'' decreeing that the Jews were to be 
protected. Similar edicts also protect Iran's tiny Christian minority."

The Iranian leadership seems to draw a clear line 
between Zionism as a political ideology (inspired 
by Western European colonialist ideas in the 19th 
century), and Judaism. This conclusion can be 
underlined by several statements President 
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made throughout recent 
years. In a Christmas message to the people of 
Great Britain, broadcast by Channel Four, 
Ahmadinejad started his speech with the following lines:

"Upon the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, Son 
of Mary, the Word of God, the Messenger of mercy, 
I would like to congratulate the followers of 
Abrahamic faiths, especially the followers of 
Jesus Christ, and the people of Britain."

The religious pathos might not be to everybody's 
taste, but the more relevant question would be 
whether these could realistically be the lines of 
a fanatical preacher of hate, as he is portrayed 
by mainstream media in the West. In fact, by 
addressing the "followers of Abrahamic faith", 
president Ahmadinejad expresses his respect for 
the three religions of the book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Critics might argue that a conciliatory message 
prepared for a Western audience might serve the 
purpose of leaving the people outside Iran in the 
dark about its real hidden agenda. Thanks to the 
Internet, it is not necessary to speak Farsi to 
get an impression of what Ahmadinejad is saying 
in front of an audience in his own country. In a 
speech delivered in May 2007 in the city of 
Esfahan (available on YouTube with English 
subtitles), he explains to the crowd what his 
response is to people who accuse him of being 
anti-Semitic on account of his heavy criticism of the Israeli regime:

"Some officials from that country (USA)
 said all 
kinds of things. One of them was: "They [the 
Israeli leaders] are Jewish, why are you 
anti-Jewish?" I said: I am not anti-Jewish at 
all... But they are lying. They are not Jewish, 
but a bunch of corrupt criminals abusing the name of Judaism."[5]

In May 2006, the National Post published an 
article claiming that the Iranian parliament had 
passed a sumptuary law forcing religious 
minorities, Jews included, to follow a specific dress code:

"It also envisages separate dress codes for 
religious minorities, Christians, Jews and 
Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct 
colour schemes to make them identifiable in 
public. The new codes would enable Muslims to 
easily recognize non-Muslims so that they can 
avoid shaking hands with them by mistake, and 
thus becoming najis (unclean)."[6]

However, the story turned out to be a hoax and 
the National Post issued an apology by its 
editor-in-chief[7]. But the intention of this 
falsification is obvious: it was meant to remind 
people of the yellow star that Jews were forced 
to wear in Nazi Germany, and thereby create fears 
of similar events happening in Iran that might 
lead to some kind of new Holocaust.

One of the particularly critical Jewish responses 
to this provocation came from Iran’s Jewish 
Member of Parliament, Moris Motamed. (It should 
be noted that Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians 
all have their own guaranteed seat in the Iranian 
Parliament (Majilis), which is one of the results 
of Khomeini's fatwa calling for the protection of 
these religious minorities). As Motamed outlined 
in an interview with Counterpunch:

"Unfortunately, this was fake news published in a 
Canadian newspaper. I considered this news a big 
insult to the religious minorities of Iran. I 
refuted the story vigorously, to the point that 
the source of the news and the Canadian 
government officially apologized to the Iranian government."[8]

The same Motamed, who officially represents the 
Iranian Jewish community, does not criticize 
Iran’s nuclear program, unlike many foreigners 
who claim to act in favour of Judaism by 
encouraging "strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities":

"As a Jewish Iranian, I consider enrichment of 
peaceful nuclear technology the obvious right of 
Iranian society. What is sad here ­ and I’m so 
sorry about it ­ is that before the Islamic 
Revolution, we witnessed
 western Europe and 
America pressuring Iran to obtain nuclear 
technology and establish a nuclear power plant. 
Now the idea is brought up: "Why do you want 
nuclear technology? What is the point of nuclear 
technology for you when you have rich resources 
like fuel and gas and oil?" My question here is 
why at that earlier time, the problem of natural resources was not brought up?"

In further demonizing the Iranian state, Western 
media and pro-Zionist lobbyists accuse 
Ahmadinejad of making ambiguous statements about 
the Holocaust. Clearly, however, holocaust denial 
does not represent the official position of the 
Islamic Republic of Iran. Otherwise it couldn't 
be explained why in 2007 the Iranian state 
television broadcast a series emphasising the 
suffering of Europe’s Jews in the Second World 
War, in what can be likened to an Iranian version of "Schindler’s List":

"The central character is an Iranian diplomat, 
who provides false Iranian passports to enable 
Jews to flee the Nazi-occupied France, a sort of 
Iranian Schindler. He even has a love affair with a Jewish woman."[9]

This Iranian diplomat saving Iranian Jews, named 
Abdol Hossein Sardari, actually existed in real 
life and has been honoured in past decades by 
Jewish organisations, including the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.[10]

It should not be the goal of this article to make 
a final judgement on Jewish life in Iran, because 
this would be an almost impossible enterprise 
without having the personal experience of how 
life looks when belonging to a religious minority 
in a very religious country. But it is important 
to put the collected information into 
perspective. It is apparent Iranian Jews have the 
right to freely practice their religion and to 
maintain their culture and traditions. Jewish 
institutions such as synagogues, Jewish 
libraries, hospitals and restaurants are well-established across the country.

By contrast, the impression we get from one of 
America's closest Middle Eastern allies, the 
totalitarian Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (a rival of 
Iran), looks very different. Neither Jewish nor 
Christian worship is allowed, and Saudi school 
textbooks spread hateful messages such as the 
following, according to Daily Mail:

"In one, for ninth-graders, students are taught 
the annihilation of the Jewish people is 
imperative. One text reads in part: 'The hour (of 
judgment) will not come until the Muslims fight 
the Jews and kill them. There is a Jew behind me come and kill him.'"[11]

This is not the first time that the U.S. 
government is fighting alongside extremists 
against states that they perceive as barriers to 
the proliferation of their economic, geopolitical 
and imperial agendas, while at the same time 
pretending to combat "terrorism", "ethnic 
cleansing" and other crimes against humanity.

All things considered, the hypocrisy is plainly 
clear. It is therefore not only necessary but 
also imperative to oppose the dangerous 
propaganda and warmongering spread by the most 
aggressive factions within the U.S. and Israeli 
establishments, and ensure that truth prevails over rampant militarization.

Benjamin Schett is an independent Swiss-based 
researcher and student of East European History 
at the University of Vienna. He can be reached at 
<mailto:schettb at gmail.com>schettb at gmail.com


Notes

[1] 
<http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-01-08/iran-nuclear-weapons/52451620/1>http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-01-08/iran-nuclear-weapons/52451620/1. 


[2] http://www.adl.org/main_International_Affairs/ahmadinejad_words.htm.

[3] 
<http://www.sephardicstudies.org/iran.html>http://www.sephardicstudies.org/iran.html. 


[4] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/293359/Iran.

[5] 
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEDqygQMoZ8&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL77FD8F72F884C7F8>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEDqygQMoZ8&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL77FD8F72F884C7F8. 


[6] Original article: 
<http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=398274b5-9210-43e4-ba59-fa24f4c66ad4&k=28534&p=1>http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=398274b5-9210-43e4-ba59-fa24f4c66ad4&k=28534&p=1. 


[7] 
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=6df3e493-f350-4b53-bc16-53262b49a4f7

[8] 
<http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/07/14/talking-to-iran-s-only-jewish-member-of-parliament>http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/07/14/talking-to-iran-s-only-jewish-member-of-parliament. 


[9] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7119474.stm.

[10] 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdol_Hossein_Sardari>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdol_Hossein_Sardari. 


[11] 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2077658/The-Arabic-textbooks-children-chop-hands-feet-Sharia-law.html. 


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