A Zionist for Zarif

Before I get started in an effort to condemn “fake news” let me state clearly that I am Jewish, a Zionist, and a citizen of Israel. I am not a friend of Iran. I condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran’s terrorist treachery but I uphold the rules of law and international diplomacy.

The decision of the American government to refuse a visa to Foreign Minister of Iran, Mohammed Zarif, to attend a meeting of the Security Council of the United (“dis-United” ) Nations is clearly a violation of the 1947 agreement between the USA and the UN and should be condemned by members of the UN.

Friends or enemies who hold legitimate membership in the United Nations and its councils cannot and should not be forbidden to attend UN sessions and to address their remarks to fellow members.

It is a violation of international diplomacy and common courtesy in which America apparently is lacking.

The American government and the White House may decide to choose to refuse extending hospitality or issuing a visa to Mohammed Zarif but they cannot be allowed to violate agreements of the 1947 pact with the United Nations.

If America can pick and choose to which diplomats a visa may be issued or denied, the United Nations must pack up its bags and move to the neutral French, German or Italian speaking cantons of Switzerland, a nation for centuries proud of its courtesy and hospitality.

Mohammed Zarif did not commit any acts of violence against the USA. He was a supporter of but not a member of Iran’s Al Quds brigades of the Revolutionary Guards. He was following the instructions of his government in explaining regional policies.

While I personally oppose the reaction to Soleimani’s assassination shown by the Jewish community in Iran and in particular for condolences to his family by the Chief Rabbi of Tehran, I understand the need for Iranian Jews, a small minority, to disassociate themselves from Israel and Zionism for the sake of their security and safety in a country hostile to both Zionists and Israel supporters or sympathizers in secret.

Nevertheless, there can be no reasonable denial by the American government to withhold entry by a foreign respected diplomat to attend sessions of an international organization shackled on American soil.

For that reason it is inappropriate for the United Nations to remain in New York while Geneva is waiting to host it.

Mohammed Zarif is neither a danger nor a threat to the United States or to the American public. He has not come with bombs or missiles to blow up the White House or to uproot the burial places of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, great presidents and leaders of America both in war and in peace.

Unlike America’s current president who makes threats about destroying Iranian cultural sites, Iran has never made such threats against American historical or cultural sites.

Iran’s history goes back more than ten thousand years. Jews had been blessed in the years of their exile in Babylon by ancient Persian monarchs, Cyrus and Darius, who set the Jews free from oppression and aided them in their return to Zion which is Jerusalem.

For centuries prior to the 1979 revolution, Iranian Jews thrived and prospered in peace in a tolerant country.

The revolution marked for Iranians the supremacy of Islam in the establishment of the Islamic Republic.

Jews were treated as equal citizens and there is to this day Jewish representation in the Iranian parliament.

Foreign Minister Zarif , who was educated in American universities, understands the American mind. He has not expressed a wish to destroy the American government.

As a distinguished diplomat he represents his country in accordance with its policies, likeable or not.

President Trump cannot be allowed to decide which diplomat is acceptable and which is not.

I am definitely NOT a friend of the Iranian government. Much to the contrary,I repeat one hundred time and more: I am a Jew, a Zionist and a very proud citizen of Israel.

But I defend the right of Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif to represent his country in the halls of the United Nations because it is the right thing to do.

If he is unwelcome in English-speaking New York, Switzerland is waiting to be a cordial host.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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