Jewish Journal

L.A.‘s young Iranian Jews mix partying and politics

by Karmel Melamed

August 17, 2009 | 3:45 am

As a journalist covering Southern California’s Iranian Jewish community, I probably get invited to nearly a dozen community events each month with the majority involving social or religious-based gatherings. I typically take a rain check on attending these events because they are most often than not put together for the sole purpose of young singles to meet one another or for various members of the local Iranian Jewish community to hobnob and show off. Such was certainly not the case this past weekend on August 15th when nearly 400 young Iranian American Jewish professionals gathered for the 30 Years After organization’s Summer Soiree at a private Bel Air residence. For the first time, in a long time I witnessed members of L.A.‘s Iranian Jewish community finally incorporate something productive such as political activism into one of their social events!

Specifically, 30 Years After asked their guests at the venue to sign an official petition calling on California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to have the state refrain from doing business with multi-national corporations such as Siemens that have business ties with Iran’s regime. The following is an excerpt of the petition letter guests at their event signed:

“In response to the violent upheaval that followed Iran’s recent elections, Californians—from throughout the State and from all walks of life—have demanded that their tax dollars not support the government of Iran. Californians are appalled that some of the same corporations that have facilitated and profited from the Iranian government’s brutal suppression of peaceful protectors also pocket millions of our tax dollars every year. For example, according to The Wall Street Journal, in 2008 German conglomerate Siemens sold technology to Iran that the Islamic Regime used to intercept and catalog e-mails and telephone calls when it brutally cracked down on post-election demonstrations. Yet, Siemens, which maintains offices throughout California, stands to profit handsomely from publicly funded mass-transit initiatives in the State. Californians demand that corporations like Siemens choose—either behave responsibly and end all business dealings with Iran or California will no longer consider you as a business partner.

With your leadership, California can make it too financially and politically costly for corporations to do business with Iran. Isolating Iran economically and depriving it of vital foreign capital could persuade the rogue regime that its suppressive policies and nuclear ambitions are too financially and politically costly. I urge you to take action now. History will judge harshly governments and leaders who fail to challenge head-on governments that sponsor terrorism, murder and torture political dissidents, proliferate nuclear weapons, and violate basic human rights”.

Kudos to 30 Years After’s board members for deciding to use their energies for the worthy cause of promoting human rights and democracy in Iran by calling on our state government officials to act more responsibly when it comes to the regime in Iran. Our tax dollars should not go to multi-national corporations who disregard the human rights violations that the Iranian government has been committing more recently and for the past 30 years. We as concerned citizens and California residents needs to hold these companies accountable for their actions and their greed when issue concerning Iran arise.

On a side note, 30 Years After also deserves praise for donating proceeds from ticket sales of their Summer Soiree to the Jewish World Watch organization, Tel Aviv University’s Center for Iranian Studies and Tomchei Shabbos a non-profit provide kosher meals to needy Jewish family in Los Angeles. Here are just some of the shots from the event…

Guests partying it up at 30 Years After’s Summer Soiree.
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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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