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Jewish Journal

Iran: personal problem? (Voice from Vienna)

Ian Shulman/ Austria

February 13, 2012 | 8:42 am

Iran nuclear threat seems to receive an obvious response by all groups of people worldwide. The war is very probable, and while Americans see it clearly due to being a part of the conflict, Europeans may stay a bit aside but still realize the riskiness of the situation. But those who do truly realize this riskiness are Israelis. They are the first probable victims of Iran’s aggression. And being pro-Israeli or not, all Jewish communities and each Jewish person ought to be on Israeli side here. Since a danger for Israel means a danger for the Jewish people, and Iran represents an absolute danger.

Such views are natural for most of communities, including mine. In Vienna, such concerns resulted in forming an organization called ‘Stop the bomb’, aimed at preventing Iran from realization its nuclear program. The organization is actively initiating different protest actions, however it does not obtain a true support neither from generally Iran-friendly Austrian government, nor from overall Austrian society. The movement was supported (and actually partially run) by Jewish community though, but people from outside did not show much of enthusiasm or liking.

Apart from anti-semitism, Middle East controversy or hostility to foreigners there are more common and simple reasons for people to keep aside from the Iranian problem. Each person as well as each country has tangible personal problems, which need to be solved urgently. All other problems, even those of the global scope, naturally remain out of focus. This applies to the Jewish communities as well. People in communities like mine, and most probably elsewhere, feel a certain need to voice against the threat, feel relieved after having fulfilled their one-time duty and easily go back to their routine tasks.

There is also another, neglected but nonetheless important point in Jewish resistance towards the nuclear Iran. Apart from clear personal reasons which make Jewish people one of the most active group of protesters, such as Iranian threat to Israel, Holocaust denial etc, Jewish society should emphasize another, crucial point which can make them stand up - Iranian threat to piece, humaneness and equality in the whole world. This is what lies in Jewish values as well as in human values in general; this is what touches everyone, regardless of his or her national attribution or political views. Finally, this is what is valid for everyone. And this is what war really threatens.

( This article was written for AJC Global Voices Blog and you can find similar articles also here:http://www.ajc-access.org/index.php?option=com_lyftenbloggie&view=lyftenbloggie&category=0&Itemid=176)

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Jews visiting Central & Eastern Europe frequently come with stereotypes and prejudices about the region.  In particular, group heritage and education tours for young Jews...

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