On May 6th nearly 250 local Iranian Jewish young professionals gathered at the Luxe Hotel in Bel Air to hear a panel of Jewish community leaders speaking in favor of both Democratic presidential nominee candidate Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee John McCain. U.S. Congressman from Southern California Howard Berman (D-CA 28th ) and retired Federal District Judge Bruce Einhorn spoke in favor of Obama as the presidential candidate best suited to deal with the threats from Iran and domestic issues.
Listen to our exclusive interview with Howard Berman: here
Also at hand, Larry Greenfield, director of the California chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition and local Iranian Jewish activist Frank Nikbakht pointed to McCain’s extensive foreign policy experience as the candidate of choice. The gathering was sponsored by “30 Years After”, a Southern California based Iranian Jewish non-profit seeking to engage young Iranian Jews in civic and political affairs.
Both sets of panelists spoke with passion for Obama and McCain’s candidacy, but from my observations it seemed as if the crowd of mostly young Iranian Jewish professionals was more supportive of McCain. They’re leaning toward McCain probably because Obama has repeatedly expressed interest in negotiating directly with Iran’s radical Islamic government leaders which does not sit well with most Iranian Jews living in the U.S. who fled the terror, anti-Semitism and backwards mentality of Iran’s current regime. Nevertheless I applaud Congressman Berman for coming out and explaining Obama’s approach to dealing with Iran— it’s great to see an influential member of Congress outreaching to our community which probably knows better than other Americans what evil lies behind Iran’s current government. Nikbakht, who is probably one of the best experts on the Iranian government’s treatment of religious minorities, also set forth some remarkable facts about the regime and how Obama’s approach to dealing with Iran would likely be ineffective in countering Iran’s leadership that is seeking nuclear weapons. Here are just some of sights from the gathering that I captured: