Matthew Lipman

Being Misunderstood in Tehran

Relax everyone, it appears that we have misunderstood the rhetoric coming forth from the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei. 

It turns out he isn’t anti-Semitic and is not hell-bent on the destruction of the Jewish people. 

It turns out that he actually thinks Jews are okay. It’s just Israel that he hates. 

It turns out that it is just Israel that he seeks to find a “final solution” for. 

It turns out that it is only Israel’s water supply that he has sought to poison. 

It turns out that it isn’t Jews who are a cancerous tumor that need to be destroyed, it is in fact only the State of Israel. 

That’s a lot of “turns outs” so you can understand why we might have been confused. 

The Ayatollah was so concerned that we might have confused his anti-Israel stance for anti-Semitism that he even trotted out some of his Jewish friends to back him up and explain to everyone that Israel is not Jewish. A leading Rabbi of the anti-Zionist sect, the Neturei Karta, explained to the Iranian media that pork is a Jewish food in the same way that Israel is a Jewish state. The Rabbi rejected criticism of the Ayatollah and expressed belief that the Iranian cleric was just anti-Israel. According to the logic of that Rabbi, if Israel is not Jewish then being anti-Israel is not anti-Semitism.

In case by now you were beginning to wonder if it really was us getting confused, rest assured that in reality it is they who are confused and not us. The Ayatollah’s outrageous use of classical anti-Semitic tropes and images is not accidental. He is recycling the worst of vitriolic anti-Semitic language and cartoons that have plagued our people throughout history. 

To separate the Jews from the modern State of Israel is to ignore thousands of years of history, to ignore archaeological evidence and to ignore the right of the Jews to self-determination.That is a lot of ignoring to do. But when truths and facts do not support your own prejudices they are conveniently ignored. To claim that you are not anti-Semitic while seeking to destroy the country with the largest Jewish population in the world is delusional.

The Ayatollah is claiming to be tolerant of the Jewish religion while at the same time declaring that Jewish nationality and statehood are twin evils that should be destroyed. Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people. Israel is the actualization of the Jews right to self-determination. Anyone who denies these two simple verities are denying the Jewish people the same rights that are afforded to other nations. If the Ayatollah declared he wasn’t anti-French but only committed to destroying France the absurdity would be clear. The same absurdity is present when the Ayatollah declares that he isn’t anti-Semitic but only anti-Israel. 

The Ayatollah and anti-Semites like him can try to hide their racist views behind the false veil of being anti-Israel but it will not work. The Jewish people know their history and they know their rights. No amount of propaganda from those dedicated to our destruction can take that away.

About the Author
Matthew Lipman is an Israel educator, a storyteller and a lover of the outdoors. He lives with his family in Modi'in and he is on a mission to share his love of Israel, Judaism and "dad jokes" with his wonderful children. He writes in a personal capacity.
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