Previously, in one of my articles, I discussed the important role that history and education play in extremism in the Mid-East. For us, as Jews, the most important form of extremism is Anti-Semitism. In addition to lack of education, there is another important factor contributing to Anti-Semitism in the region: Nationalism.
This factor is much more visible in Iran. In the last few years, as a journalist, I encountered many Anti-Semite Iranians who were not Islamic republic’s affiliates. In fact, these people are among the Iranian opposition. But unfortunately, while everybody has been talking about Anti-Semite and Anti-Israel comments made by the Islamic republic’s officials, these individuals have been able to get away with their Anti-Semite ideology. It gets really worrying when we know that the phenomenon in dangerously growing among young Iranians.
You may question the reason for Iranian nationalists for being Anti-Semite. But I should remind you that this phenomenon was not started like Anti-Semitism in Western countries. In the west, Anti-Semitism was started as a movement against Jews. However, in Iran, it started with people who opposed a government which, in their opinion, is more concerned about Arabs than Iranians. In most cases, such an assumption would result to closer ties with Israel. But among Iranian super nationalists, with a dark history of praising Hitler during the Second World War, Arabs and Jews are both Semite people who are at a lower level than “Superior Arians”.
Meanwhile, the Islamic republic’s propaganda machine and some opposition’s media, especially in the U.S, amplify this phenomenon. In Iran, people have been bombarded with Anti-Israel propaganda, which, in some cases, turns into Anti-Semitism. (One of the best examples of this propaganda is a movie called “Saturday’s Hunter”). At the same time, if people choose to watch satellite TVs, which are run by exiled Iranians, they may see super nationalists who try to denounce the regime’s Islamic ideology by emphasizing glorious Imperial Iran and the “superiority of Arians”. This method has resulted in Anti-Semitism; it also magnified Anti-Turk and other aspects of racism.
In my opinion, this kind of Anti-Semitism is much more dangerous than Islamic Anti-Semitism. Islamic Anti-Semitism is mostly based on Anti-Israel thoughts and can be jeopardized by a peace treaty, while this national Anti-Semitism has its roots in Nazi’s racism ideology that massacred 6 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of Gypsies in Europe.