Facebook has become a place of extremes. The Iran deal and President Obama are THE topics and the divide is palpable, those who support the deal are characterized as fools, those who oppose it are “right-wing-war-mongers.” Supposedly President Obama is either the Spawn of Satan, or the Messiah himself. It appears to be an either/or situation. I guess we will wait and see.
Up until a couple weeks ago, I was afraid to comment about the deal because I felt very conflicted. The heightened emotions and intense conversations that I encountered didn’t seem to have room for anyone to ask questions. So, I went silent.
I’ve been lucky enough to become friends with lovely people in our local Persian community. A few of my friends are Zionists despite being of Shia descent (I’m not sure they know they’re Zionists, but they are!) and I’ve never been treated with anything other than respect when we talk about the Middle East and Israel. I was more inclined to listen to them rather than what I perceived as a hysterical reaction from the right. However as time goes on, I’ve come to realize that those who are for the deal seem to base too much of their opinion on just trusting Iran and there is no reason to trust Iran.
I still consider myself open-minded and optimistic to the fact that maybe, just maybe the window to the West will cause Iranians to become even more sick of the regime. However, how can we ignore this? From a senior Iranian official- “Our positions against the usurper Zionist regime have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated, this is our ultimate slogan.” This after British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had taken a “more nuanced approach” on Israel. This is a “more nuanced” approach?
Threatening Jews with annihilation doesn’t sit very well with us. 6 million of us were slaughtered and another 850,000+ Jews were forced to flee their homes in Middle Eastern countries. The survivors of those atrocities are alive to remind us that we shouldn’t assume the best from anyone when they claim the world would be a better place without us.
The claim that Iran is against Zionism, but not against Jews makes no sense to most of us. Zionism is the Jewish national movement to return to our homeland. Ancient Persian history and Ancient Jewish history are intertwined. It is beyond understanding that anyone who is aware of both biblical history and the historical timeline could doubt that Jews come from Israel. Adamantly opposing Jewish sovereignty is inherently anti-Semitic. Bibi’s main opponent in the last election, Herzog, from the left wing Zionist Union party is also against the deal. The fear of Iran and their proxies transcends politics in Israel. The bottom line is that Israelis take what Iran says at face value.
“Do you think Iran would *actually* nuke Israel?” “When was the last time Iran attacked Israel? Never…it’s all talk” — I have been asked these questions by the majority of my friends that support the deal. Israel has been engaged in an ongoing conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon for years. Hezbollah has over 100,000 missiles available to bombard Israel. As it stands Iran gives Hezbollah between $100-200 million annually. Iran is set to gain around $100 billion with this deal, so pardon me for not assuming the best. The Israeli navy has also intercepted shipments from Iran bound for Hamas in Gaza. Maybe Iran doesn’t shoot the rocket, but they enable the terrorists that do.
One day I hope my daughter can visit Iran with her best friend who has visited and speaks Farsi fluently — I hope they visit the mountain village where her family came from, and I hope they can stop in Israel on the way home and stay with my family for Shabbat, go float in the Dead Sea, touch the Western Wall and go wine tasting in the north. I hope no one gives a sh*t about the stamps on their passports.
Everything about Iran from the architecture, to the art, to the language is captivating. Persian food is the best. The people and the culture are just gorgeous, but this ugliness cannot be tolerated. It doesn’t represent the kindness I’ve experienced as I’ve been welcomed into the local Persian community (despite being an Ashkenazi Jew!) simply because I’m a friend of a friend. Most of the Iranian Jews that I know speak of Iran as a lost lover, something that they yearn for but can’t have. I hope that one day, they get her back.
Viva la revolución!