Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Jews in Iran are hostages by any other name
France 24 has been doing some good PR on behalf of the Iranian regime:
"In the Islamic Republic of Iran, there is a thriving Jewish community. It has its own synagogues, schools, a hospital, associations and even a member of parliament. Mostly accepted, Iran’s 10,000 Jews are protected by the Iranian regime, a concrete example of tolerance in the country. Some of them are so patriotic they even say they would defend Iran if they were attacked by Israel."
Let's run that again, imagining this were a report on Israel's Arab minority. Substitute Jew for Israeli Arab: Arabs have their own mosques, schools, hospitals and a dozen members of Parliament - it's all true. Their population centres are also protected by law and by Iron Dome anti-missile batteries. Druze and Bedouin serving in the IDF have died for Israel. But the Arab 'narrative' of discrimination in Israel is so deeply embedded in western perceptions that such an anodyne report would be laughed out of court.
So it is just as well that Richard Prasquier, who heads the French-Jewish representative body, CRIF, is in the France 24 studio to inject some balance into the story: Iran is showcasing its Jews in order to enhance its 'tolerant' image, but at least one of two recent murders had an anti-Jewish motive; and from one moment to the next the regime might find it appropriate to accuse its Jews of being Zionist spies, as it did in the 1990s, when 13 Jews were arrested on trumped-up charges.
He might have added that Jewish calls are bugged, that the Jewish schools are run by Muslims and forced to open on Saturdays, that the Jewish hospitals have more Muslim staff and patients, and that the token Jewish MP is there to toe the government line. As for the community at large, they are hostages by any other name. And the biggest indictment of all is that the community has shrunk to one tenth of what it was.