Posted by Karmel Melamed
This past Friday, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, with the help of a satellite TV channel based in Europe, covertly broadcast one of its Oscar-winning documentaries on the Holocaust into Iran. The 1980 film “Genocide,” which was originally narrated by Elizabeth Taylor and Orson Wells, aired with Persian language subtitles and was beamed into Iran with the help of “NTV Simay Azadi”, an Iranian opposition satellite station. The broadcasting of the documentary was indeed unique because it was not publicized in advance in order to prevent the Iranian regime from jamming its signal. Likewise the film’s broadcast into Iran coincided with International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th.
The broadcasting of the film is indeed a serious blow to the Iranian regime’s leadership which has actively and openly been denying the Holocaust for nearly three decades. The ridiculous statements by Iran’s current president in denying the Holocaust have been joined with the regime giving awards to artists for their best Holocaust denial cartoons and with their promotion of neo-Nazi leaders from the U.S. and Europe through state-run news television news programs.
The Wiesenthal Center’s efforts to educate average Iranians living in Iran about the Holocaust are not unique. The center in the past has hosted Persian-language news media outlets and their representatives based in Los Angeles to the Museum of Tolerance. These news outlets which are opposed to the Iranian regime have been at the forefront of providing Persian language Holocaust educational programming that is also beamed into Iran on a daily basis. Additionally the Wiesenthal Center has provided Persian language fact sheets about the Holocaust on their website for Iranian readers online seeking more information about the Shoah. Yet the international community's effort to combat the Holocaust denial garbage spewed by Iran’s regime has not been limited to the Wiesenthal Center, likewise Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Musuem has also provided their own Persian language website about the facts of the Shoah and a Persian-language channel on Yotube.com
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January 18, 2013 | 6:52 am
Posted by Karmel Melamed
For the last 33 years the Iranian regime has done its utmost to constantly utilize their propaganda machine by spinning images of the regime “loving Iran’s Jews” and the Jews living in a supposed “total paradise in Iran today”. In fact I have written extensively on how the regime’s propaganda spinners make Nazi Germany’s infamous propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels look like a kindergartener with their expert use of parading the country’s “happy Jews” for display before the international media at every chance possible to make the world believe they "love the Jews of Iran". Yet the sad circumstances of the last few months and more recently concerning the security of Jews in Iran have proven the real reality that the Jewish community there faces imminent danger.
In recent months there has been a horrid trend of Jews being attacked and murdered in Iran. Stories surrounding the tragic murders have not been reported by the Iranian state-run media or the mainstream Western media, but independent journalists like myself and human rights activists have exposed these stories. I reported last month on the gruesome November murder of an older Iranian Jewish married woman in the city of Isfahan. This poor woman was repeatedly stabbed, straggled to death and then had her limbs cut off by her attackers. Likewise, late last month news outlets in Israel reported that a 24-year-old Iranian Jewish man was brutally murdered in his upscale home in Tehran. While the Israeli news reports claim the motive behind his killing involve some forbidden love with a Muslim woman, independent sources in Iran’s Jewish community have not yet confirmed or denied the supposed “love story” aspect of this killing. Lastly, several weeks ago an article from an Iranian news outlet online reported than an Iranian Jewish man was attacked and killed in his jewelry business in the city of Shiraz.
These recent trends of Jews being murdered in Iran only further proves that Iran is not a safe place for Jews no matter what the regime may say or what the Iranian Jewish representatives claim before the western new cameras. So my question to the stooges running Iran’s propaganda machinery is what happened to your so called love of the Jews? If the Jews live in such safe and free conditions in Iran, when why has there not been one news report about how the regime investigating these heinous murders? If you love the Jews living in Iran so much, then why has there been no increased security around the Jewish synagogues or centers in Iran? Why hasn’t there been one newspaper, radio, television or online report about the murders period from the Iranian state-run press? The truth of matter is clear, the Iranian regime and its idiotic propaganda spinners do not want anyone to know about the real facts that Jews are facing danger while living in Iran. This reality would shatter their long running storyline that Jews are supposedly free and fully protected by the Iranian regime.
Several years ago the New York Times opinion columnist Roger Cohen visited Iran and returned to write about the "very safe and free conditions" for the Jews in Iran. He was criticized by myself and others familiar with the Iranian regime for foolishly falling for the propaganda put out by the regime. So where is Roger Cohen today and why is he not taking note of these recent trends of murders and attacks against Iran’s Jews? Roger, is Iran still a paradise for Jews or are you still living in the land of make-believe?
Furthermore the apologists in the West for Iran’s regime and those who seek to negotiate with the regime need to wake up and smell the horse dung put out by the ayatollahs in Iran! This regime in Iran is a serious violator of human rights against Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Baha’is, and Sunni Muslims. Religious minorities have ZERO freedoms in Iran and face the threat of total annihilation every day. The regime in Iran has also violates the human rights of women, homosexuals, union organizers, journalists and anyone else opposing their radical Islamic political views! Thousands of people are hung every year in Iran for supposed crimes against Islam and the state-- some people are even executed in secret. This regime in Iran and its leaders are not rational! The recent dreadful murders of Jews occurring in Iran under the current regime, should be a wakeup call to Americans, Europeans and anyone else in the free world that the regime’s leaders cannot be trusted and must be totally removed.
Lastly if anyone actually believes the garbage coming out of the mouth from any Jewish leader or individual Jew in Iran about the supposed “freedoms and good lives Jews have in Iran”, then they are living in a fairytale land of make-believe! The only reason these Jews in Iran are praising the regime before the western press interviewing them is because they are facing duress, potential imprisonment and even execution by the regime’s thugs if they say anything negative about the Iranian leadership. Therefore the comments from Jews in Iran about their living conditions have no credibility in my eyes or those who know about the Iranian regime’s propaganda puppet masters.
January 4, 2013 | 7:31 am
Posted by Karmel Melamed
This year I had the special honor of interviewing Frank Nikbakht, an Iranian Jewish activist and head of the Committee for Minority Rights in Iran based in Los Angeles after he was recognized by the Jewish Journal as a mensch. For nearly two decades he has volunteered his time and energy into exposing the human rights violations committed by the Iranian regime against Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Baha’is, and even Sunni Muslims living in Iran. He still volunteers nearly 20 hours per week for this worthy cause and has never sought the limelight. The following is a portion of my recent conversation with him:
In 2000 13 Jews living in the city of Shiraz in Iran were arrested on trumped up charges of spying for Israel and were facing imminent execution. Can you please shed light on why you decided to join a group of Iranian Jewish activists to go public with this case in the media?
We realized that the Iranian Jewish leadership outside of Iran’s traditional view of keeping the community silent regardless of the discrimination and executions facing Jews in Iran was wrong. We believed that silence would only encourage the persecutors because we knew what silence had done before during the holocaust to the Jews in the previous decades, so we wanted to break that cycle. We also believe that the Iranian regime needed international pressure in order to stop persecution of Iranian Jews and the Shiraz 13. We were fighting for the dignity of the Jews who did not speak out against their persecutions. Eventually the Iranian regime backed away from the espionage charges and the executions and the Shiraz 13 were released.
Why is it important to you to expose the anti-Semitism and discrimination of the Iranian regime against religious minorities in that country today?
A fanatic religious government has taken away our country, they have taken away our civil rights by demoting me and people I knew into second and third class citizens. By us not opposing the policies and practices of this regime in Iran we are only encouraging them and even allowing them to export the same policies abroad to the Iranian émigré communities. The world is now smaller than it used to be and fanatic ideas spread as much as other ideas. In order to save lives and the dignity of the religious minorities as whole in Iran we must continue to speak out against this regime in Iran. It’s more important for me to speak out because those people who have been assigned to lead the Iranian Jewish community as well as other religious communities have always refrained to speak out against the discriminations and the atrocities of the Iranian regime.
A 57 year old married Iranian Jewish woman was recently murdered in the Iranian city of Isfahan. Why do the approximately 10,000 to 20,000 Jews still continue to live in Iran today despite the potential threats they face from the regime?
First of all it is very difficult for more traditional people in Iran whether they are Jewish or non-Jewish to leave the country because it’s their homeland . It is also very difficult for elderly Jews to leave because they are sick or just set in their ways-- and a lot of Jews believe that they can just outlast the regime. After all, Jews have been living in the ‘Jewbareh’ or Jewish ghetto in Isfahan since the time of Cyrus the Great for more than 2,500 years and believe they can continue living there. The life value of a Jew, Christian or Zoroastrian, who are recognized second class dhimmis by Iranian Islamic laws, is worth 1/12 the life of a Muslim in blood money and they can receive this monetary payment from the family of the Muslim murderer. But non-recognized dhimmis or ‘infidels’ have no blood money retribution. A Muslim who murders an ‘infidel’, such as a person who is a Communist or from the Bahai faith has no blood money. So the Muslim murderer can get away with the crime by simply stating to the court that the victim ‘deserved to be killed’ since he was an infidel according to the Islamic laws of the land.