Posted by Karmel Melamed
Late last month as the current Gaza war between Israel and the Iranian-back Hamas terrorist group erupted, I was disgusted to find countless news media outlets including the Israel-based Jerusalem Post (JPOST) running ridiculous stories that were obviously put out by the Iranian government’s propaganda ministry about how the Jews of Iran were protesting against Israel’s ” aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza”. It not only disgusts me that Iran’s regime headed by its religious Islamic fanatics have yet again decided to parade the Jews of that country out and force them participate in sham protests against Israel, but its also shameful to see the Jerusalem Post and other news media actually helping the Iranian government spread their garbage propaganda!
The Iranian government is always quick to pull out the Jewish member of Iran’s Parliament to show that Iran’s Jew have “fair representation”. Yet what the mainstream media does not realize are that comments made by any Jewish leaders in Iran or Jews in Iran to the Western media lack credibility since these Jews have been hand picked by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry to parrot what the regime tells them to say. Whenever any journalist goes to Iran to talk to the Jews, they are handed over to hand picked Jews who have been given a script to read from. The Iranian regime, much like the Nazi government, loves to parade Jews in front of the international news cameras to attack Israel in anyway possible because they know these news outlets will carry stories about Jews “condemning Israel”. Anyone in the right mind who actually believes that the Jews of Iran hate Israel is foolish. Jews along with other religious minorities in Iran live in constant fear for their lives because the Iranian government by law treats them as second class citizens who have few rights than the Muslim majority and can be immediately punished for a whole host of “crimes” the regime can conjure up. The only reason Jews in Iran even participated in the sham protests against Israel during the past two weeks was because members of Iran’s secret police threaten their lives if they do not do what these radical Islamic thugs dictate to them! This time around the Iranian regime has Dr. Ciamak Morsadegh, the Jewish member of the Iranian parliment spouting out “anti-Israel” statements to the international news media and on Iranian broadcast news to keep the Iranian regime’s dictators happy. Those who understand Persian can view the video of Morsadegh’s ridiculous Israel condemnation speech in front of the Iranian parliament here:
One would think that the JPOST and other western news media outlets would by now after so many years, totally ignore such “Israel condemnation protests” made by Jewish leaders living in Iran. But some foolish JPOST editor again decided to run this story which is not only false public relations statements but not reflective of the true feeling Iranian Jews in general have for the State of Israel. Why the hell an Israeli publication decides to advance the propaganda of Iran’s regime is beyond my comprehension—I just wish someone at that publication would wake up and refrain from putting out these ridiculous stories about Iran’s Jews which are obviously untrue and only serve to advance the Iranian regime’s pro-Hamas agenda. While the Jews living in Iran may not be able to express or display their support for the Jewish homeland of Israel, they have always had a special place in their hearts for the land of Israel. The plan truth is that Iranian Jews are among one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world whom since the destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem thousands of years ago have always yearned to return to their homeland. Likewise Jews living in Iran have encountered centuries of mass killings, forced conversions, rapes, tortures, pogroms and other violence from the country’s Muslim majority. After having faced such painful times in Iran, there’s no doubt Iranian Jews would be supportive of their own true homeland that would fight to protect their security.
And for you curious folks who do not believe that Iran’s regime has used the country’s Jews for propaganda purposes, the following is an abbreviated list of their past P.R. stunts:
Producing and broadcasting “Zero Degree Turn” a television series on Iranian state-run network which accepts the existence of the Holocaust and shows an Iranian-Palestinian man saving a Jewish woman’s life in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Despite the show’s efforts to show that Iran is supposedly tolerant of the Holocaust, it is full of inaccuracies and attacks “Zionists”.
Announcing that the Iranian government supposedly “loves the Jews” by publicizing the Iranian regime’s plans earlier to build a new 73,000 square foot cultural and sports complex for the Jewish community in central Tehran.
Putting out press releases and sending their lackeys in the Western media to say that Ahmadinejad’s comments about Israel being wiped off the map were “incorrectly translated”. What a bunch of horse manure! We all know very well what Ahmadinejad said and what he meant, there’s no way to back track on it.
Sending out press releases that Iran’s Jews condemn Ahmadinejad’s mistreatment at Columbia University last year. Here’s an example of one such press release:
Sending out press releases that Iran’s Jews will be participate in al-Quds Day, an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan to voice support for the Palestinian people. Here’s an example of one such press release:
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January 7, 2009 | 3:07 am
Posted by Karmel Melamed
During the past week and several days I have read of reports of thousands of people protesting in the Middle East and elsewhere worldwide against Israel’s efforts to defend itself against Hamas terrorists in Gaza that have been launching rockets into civilian populations living in southern Israel. Not only have these thousands of protesters gone mad but many world leaders have wrongly been pointing the finger of blame at Israel. Not a single government worldwide nor news media outlet has had the guts to point to the real source of death and destruction in the Gaza conflict which is Iran’s current fundamentalist Islamic regime!
For years Iran’s regime has been providing millions of their petrodollars to Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups to act as their proxies and attack Israel by means of terrorism. The ayatollahs who head Iran’s government have encouraged and funded Hamas to launch its heinous war of destruction against Israel with Palestinian blood. Iran’s regime not only provided Hamas with the training and funding to wage this war of terror against Israel, but it has provided the terror group with sophisticated rockets that have killed innocent civilians in Southern Israel. As a result the current conflict being fought between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is in reality an indirect war Iran has launched against Israel. The ayatollahs in Iran seem to think that innocent Palestinian lives are not important and have directed Hamas to hide their personnel amongst the civilian population, to brainwash people to blow themselves up, to hide their rockets near schools and hospitals. Ultimately the ayatollahs in Tehran believe Palestinians can be sacrificed to achieve the Iranian government’s “overall goal of destroying” the Jewish state. Where is the Arab world’s outrage against Iran for funding and supporting Hamas’s terror campaign against innocent Israeli civilians that sparked this conflict? Where is the international community’s outrage at Iran’s government for giving Hamas the financial support and rockets that started this damn conflict? Why don’t the thousands of protesters march outside the Iranian embassies worldwide and demand the regime stop funding terror groups that bring destruction and unnecessary death to the poor Palestinian people? More importantly why don’t the human rights groups protest the Iranian regime’s current policy of funding as well as training Hamas homicide bombers and those in Hamas launching rockets against Israelis that did not provoke this conflict in the first place?! The real blame belongs to Iran’s current government and the international community needs to set up and pressure that regime to stop fueling the fires of destruction in Gaza.
Shutting off Hamas’s terror operations is not only a military endeavor that the Israeli government must undertake to defend its population, but the terror group must also be dismantled by cutting off its financial lifeline coming from Tehran. The reality which many in the international media and world governments do not realize, is that Iran’s regime does not give a damn about human life period! The leaders of the Iranian government follow a radical form of Islam that believes in destroying the “non-believers” such as Jews, Christians, Bahais, and even Sunni Muslims who do not agree with their religious dogma—and if hundreds of their own brethren get killed in the process, then so be it. The poor Palestinian people deserve better lives than the death and destruction Hamas and Iran’s government has brought upon them since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip. They deserve lives of peace and prosperity, but they will never achieve this as long as Iran through its proxy Hamas has plunged them into a hell on earth.
On an even more sad note the poor people of Iran, who by in large abhor their government, are suffering the most at the hands of the religious clerics that run their country. Average Iranian citizens live below the poverty line and have no means of supporting their families while the idiotic Iranian regime gives away billions of dollars in oil revenues to terrorist groups like Hamas instead of using the money to help the Iranian population. Many of us Iranian American Jews who fled the regime in Iran during the last 30 years, know first hand at the heinous nature of that regime which knows nothing more than to advance mindless killing and destruction of innocent lives in order to achieve their sick religious goals. At the end of the day Israel has no other choice but to defend itself against the constant attacks from Iranian funded terrorist groups like Hamas, but the real cancer of the Middle East which is Iran’s regime must somehow be stopped or eliminated otherwise conflicts such as the one in Gaza today will sadly continue for years to come.
January 2, 2009 | 4:06 pm
Posted by Karmel Melamed
During the course of the year I am approached by hundreds of Iranian American Jews living in Southern California and New York who recommend stories for me to cover about their community. Whether it’s a worthy charitable cause or a problem issue that the community is grappling with, there are certainly no shortages of stories nor shortages of people who claim to be the community’s “do-gooders”.
Sadly the majority of these self-proclaimed “do-gooders” are nothing more than affluent Iranian Jews who are seeking the limelight but are not actually doing anything real nor productive to resolve a particular problem in the community. For this reason alone, it makes me proud to have covered Mrs. Manijeh Youabian for The Jewish Journal’s list of Mensches this year as she is one of those rare jewels in our community who is actually doing plenty to help our community’s needy!
For the past 16 years Mrs. Youabian, from her own initiative, has helped hundreds of local Iranian Jewish families and new immigrants from Iran who have fallen on bad times. From my research and knowledge, she has never sought acclaim or the limelight from the community for what she’s done for the less fortunate from amongst our ranks. She has instead spoken on countless occasions at community events, social gatherings and religious services to donate to her organization and help those who are poor in L.A.’s Iranian Jewish community. What is remarkable to me is the fact that she has personally worked within so many aspects of this charitable endeavor successfully all these years, through pure word of mouth and local grassroots efforts. In my opinion, Mrs. Youabian not only serves as an excellent example for younger Iranian American Jews to follow, but she’s an ideal symbol of tezdakah in the local Iranian Jewish community that for years has often been obsessed with foolish materialism and “showing off their wealth”.
While my story this week in the Journal about Mrs. Youabian can be found here, the following is a portion of my interview with her that was not included in the newspaper’s article due to limited space:
So what kind of background checks to you do on the poverty stricken Iranian Jews you have helped?
I make visits them unexpectedly and actually go through their home—I even check their cupboards and refrigerator to see what they have to eat. Also I ask community members, some of their relatives and their co-workers about their financial situation. I also check with other (Iranian Jewish) organizations in the community to see if they have helped a particular family or individual already. I also work along side the folks from Nessah Synagogue and Torat Hayim (in Los Angeles) and we sometimes divide up the costs to help families in need. I also check to see if these people in need receive food stamps or receive any other type of government assistance. When we realize that they are totally in need, then we proceed to help them.
Can you share one particular instance where you helped someone in need that has remained with you?
One time I received a call from a young man who did not give his full name he said he was at the end of medical school but urgently needed funds to pay the tuition for his last term of medical school. I did a background check and we verified that he was indeed in medical school and needed financial assistance, so we released some funds to him. I never heard from this young man again until a few years later when he called me said “Mrs. Manijeh, I am so and so. You don’t remember me but your organization helped pay my medical school tuition and now I am a successful doctor. I am now not only able to return the funds you gave me but I will gladly see any patients that you send me free of charge”. This young man brought tears to my eyes because we helped him at one time and now he’s helping us.
You’ve indicated that you help these needy Iranian Jewish families confidentially. How do you maintain this anonymity and confidentiality in our tight-knit community?
Well 99% of the time, if we see these people in public whom we have helped, we do not approach nor talk to them unless they approach us. I know them by their first names only and their names are not said or known by others in our organization. There have been some rare instances where we have even helped pay some of the expenses relating to the engagement parties for young ladies whose families had no money. In these cases, no one knew that we had helped them and the couples later got married and started their lives together.
The economy has taken a turn for the worse recently. How has that impacted the people you help and the amount of help you give to poverty stricken people in our community?
With horrible economy, within the past three months more people have come to us for help because they have lost their jobs, or gone bankrupt, or they are sick and cannot afford to pay for medical care. One man recently asked us for money to pay for his eye surgery and we helped him— he subsequently left the country to go live in Israel. Obviously our budgets to help these poor Iranian Jewish families are limited by the donations we receive from community members. So if we have less money then we try to give to all the families that receive our help, but we give them few coupons for food or fewer items than we normally would be giving them.
So you’ve been named as a “Menshe” by the Jewish Journal, what special message do you have for others in L.A.’s Jewish community?
My message to the rest of the Jewish community is to be thankful for your health and ability to feed yourselves with dignity— please take the hand of the person who is truly in need so that he or she will not suffer shame in front of their child of not being able to provide food or shelter. We have to help these needy people become fisherman and not recipients of fish alone. God does not necessarily need us to pray to him for things, God needs us to help others. If folks out their want to help us, we will even accept any amount of donations they want to give and we will even accept their offers to pay for a needy family’s rent or other expenses directly. Please help us by calling 310-908-4442 and making your checks payable to the “International Judea Foundation” or I.J.F.”
January 1, 2009 | 7:00 pm
Posted by Karmel Melamed
Nearly two dozen local Jewish and non-Jewish supports of U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R) attended a small fundraiser for the senior senator from Pennsylvania at the private home of Iranian Jewish couple Makan Delrahim and Michelle Kahen Delrahim in Malibu on December 17th. Guests were personally welcomed at the door by Specter and enjoyed cocktails. Up for re-election in 2010, Specter who is also a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke briefly about a range of topics from the financial bailout for the U.S. automotive industry to dealing with the threat of Iran.
Our podcast program had a chance to chat briefly with Specter about how the new U.S. Congress and Obama Administration can best address the danger of Iran’s regime in 2009 and also with Delrahim about growing Iranian Jewish political activism in Southern California. Our program can be heard:
Specter who is also Jewish, said he was preparing for another trip to the Middle East to meet with officials in Israel and with Syria’s current President Bashar al-Assad. In the past Specter has met with controversial dictators around the world such as the Palestinian Authority’s Chairman Yassar Arafat; Syria’s former leader Hafez al-Assad, Iraq’s former President Saddam Hussein and even Cuba’s President Fidel Castro. Over the years Specter has not always voted along with the Republican party and has been considered one of the few moderate Republicans in the Senate. For this reason and others, many politicial anyalsts believe he may have an uphill battle in his re-election bid. Pennsylvania has previously voted for Democrat Bob Casey to the Senate and has voted for the democratic candidate in the last two presidential elections.
Delrahim is currently an attorney at the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck in Orange County and among a growing number of local Iranian Jews who are becoming more politically active within the community. “There are many folks that support Israel, that may want more entrepreneurship or lower taxes,” said Delrahim. “So we as a community that have particular interests that may not be voiced by others—should be more engaged with government officials, support them and help shape their policy”. On an interesting note Delrahim is not a novice when it comes to U.S. politics and government. He was a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Justice Department and has in the past served as a policy advisor to former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
Along with a handful of young Iranian Jewish activists from the “30 Years After” organization, a surprise guest at hand was Fran Drescher, Jewish actress and former star of the popular sitcom “The Nanny”. Drescher briefly praised Specter for his efforts in the Senate to pass legislation for government funding of comprehensive stem cell research that would be used to fight cancer. Drescher who is a survivor of uterine cancer has in recent years advocated in Congress on behalf of funding for research to fight cancer and worked along side Specter who fought a successful battle himself with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer while he served in office.