Jewish Journal

Some non-Jewish Iranians still supportive of Israel after 60 years

by Karmel Melamed

May 11, 2008 | 5:43 pm

On a daily basis I come across dozens of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic stories spewed out by the Iranian state-run news media outlets. Rarely does one hear from the non-Jewish Iranian voices of moderation who do not hate Israel nor the Jews, but they are out there. I know this because I’ve come across many of them in Southern California among the Persian language news media personalities who have no animosity toward Israel and are furious with the Iranian regime tarnishing the image of average Iranians worldwide. The 60th celebration of Israel’s independence this month has brought out many Iranian Muslims, Bahais, Zoroastrians and Christians who have voiced their support for Israel and the Jewish people. This article on a non-Jewish Iranian site was perhaps the best example of non-Jewish Iranians expressing their close friendship with the State of Israel:

“Israel, your people, as well as people of good will, are celebrating your sixtieth birthday. We, the children of Cyrus the Great, also would like to offer our heartfelt best wishes to you on this occasion. Many of us Iranians co-suffer with this tragic state of affairs that harms you as well as your neighbors. We earnestly hope that ways can be found for a peaceful resolution of this destructive impasse. We appreciate the fact that you, Israel, have welcomed the Iranian Jews who could no longer tolerate the rule of the oppressive venomous mullahs. These mullahs are indeed traitors to the lofty long-standing tradition and values championed by Cyrus the Great and revered by Persians throughout the ages. We applaud you for affording millions of Israeli Arabs opportunities denied to them in many other lands.Your fair treatment of the Baha’is, Israel, is a further testimony to your ability and willingness to live in harmony with any and all people”.

Many well educated non-Jewish Iranians also remember the close and often unspoken friendship between Israel and Iran between 1948 and 1979, prior to the Iranian revolution. They recall how both countries quietly supported one another against a common Arab enemy. (Iranians who are of ancient Persian origin, have never had close ties with the Arab world and Iranian Muslims who are of primarily of Shiite origin have also had long standing differences with the majority of the Arab world that is of Sunni origin). At this juncture in time, the majority of Iranians living inside and outside Iran are opposed to the current radical Islamic regime in their homeland. They oppose the regime’s calls for Israel’s destruction and Just as “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”, so is Israel seen as a a potential friend by many non-Jewish Iranians. What many Iranians of various religions have privately told me is that they are furious with the current government in Iran spending billions of petro-dollars supporting terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas while average Iranians are dying of starvation in Iran. These Iranians are also angered that the current Iranian government with its messages of destruction of Israel and America have tarnished the peace-loving reputation of Iranians worldwide. 
We as Jews and the government of Israel must do a better job of outreaching to these Iranians of other religions who support Israel and the right of the Jewish people to have the State of Israel as their own homeland.


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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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