Jewish Journal

Jews and Muslims alike to protest Ahmadinejad in Westwood

by Karmel Melamed

September 23, 2009 | 3:18 am

With the pending arrival of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the United Nations in New York City this coming Thursday Sept. 24th, Los Angeles area Jews and Iranians of various faiths will be gathering tomorrow, Sept. 23rd at the Federal Building in Westwood at 6 p.m. for a demonstration to protest the Iranian leader’s hate filled rhetoric against Israel and other Western Democracies. The demonstration was organized by www.standwithus.com, the L.A.-based non-profit Israel education organization that has invited a whole host of Jewish and non-Jewish community members to voice their opposition to Ahmadinejad’s hate filled rhetoric. “This man and his government deny the unspeakable tragedy of the Holocaust while inciting genocide against Jews and threatening to wipe a neighbor state and a UN member—the Jewish State—‘off the map.’”, stated Roz Rothstein, International Director of StandWithUs in a statement released to the news media. “They demonize the U.S. and western democracies. In violation of UN resolutions and international treaties they signed, they have unrelentingly pursued a nuclear weapons program to intimidate and dominate other nations in the Middle East”.

What seems most interesting about this rally is the fact that local leaders and activists from the Iranian Muslim, Bahai and Zoroastrian communities will also be at hand to protest side by side with Jews against Ahmadinejad’s behavior and statements. Non-Jewish Iranian groups have indicated they expect a large turn out of individuals from their groups at the demonstration in Westwood as Ahmadinejad represents the brutal and totalitarian regime in Iran that has cracked down on basic freedoms of their countrymen. Yet this demonstration in my assessment will not necessarily be one where the Iranian dictator is bashed. To the contrary, this gathering will allow individuals from a whole host of groups to stand up and proclaim “NO, we do not think a man who preaches genocide, hate, intolerance and radical Shiite Islamic theology as one that deserves any kind of welcome at an international forum that supposedly promotes peace on earth!”. This gathering of humanity will represent human beings who believe in speaking up when the forces of pure evil like Ahmadinejad are trying to cause chaos in the world.

On an interesting note, many of us who speak and understand the Persian language know very well that while Ahmadinejad may very well be pure evil, he does not necessarily sound like an insane person. His spoken words in denying the existence of the Holocaust and calling for the destruction of Israel are said in a very plain or “matter-of-fact’ manner. Many don’t know that Ahmadinejad’s own education was influenced by his mentor, the anti-Semitic Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, and by the late Ahmad Fardid, a self-appointed professor of philosophy at Tehran University. First in the 1940s and later after the 1979 revolution, Fardid taught university courses on Nazi ideology, racial purity and Holocaust revisionism to thousands of students in Iran. Fardid was also a follower of Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger. When one understands the roots of the Iranian dictator’s education, it becomes clear that he truly and honestly believes the hateful rhetoric he’s been taught.

My March 2007 piece offered an in depth analysis of Ahmadinejad’s anti-Semitism.

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Karmel Melamed is an internationally-published freelance journalist based in Southern California.

Since 2000, Melamed has specialized in covering the growing influential...

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