Sheldon Kirshner

Iran Tolerates And Promotes Antisemitism

The Islamic Republic of Iran continually differentiates between “Jews” and “Zionists” in its insidious campaign to defame and delegitimize the Jewish state of Israel. In Islamic tradition, Jews are designated as the People of the Book and are therefore theoretically the objects of tolerance and respect. In practice, however, this is not necessarily true, judging by a vicious commentary that appeared in the April 28 edition of Kayhan, a major Iranian daily whose editor, Hosssein Shariatmadari, is a close associate of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini.

In a blistering front page opinion piece published as Holocaust Remembrance Day was marked in Israel, a contributor named Mohammad Hadi Sahraei attacked Jews by way of denouncing Zionists.

Sahraei, identified as a scholar, lambasted Zionists as “deceitful and harmful creatures … despised by the Jews of the world.” In his infinite wisdom, he inferred that Jews per se are fine people who hate Zionists and do not wish to be associated with them.

If he had stopped there, Sahraei’s polemic would have been dismissed as merely the latest garden variety anti-Zionist rant coming out of Iran, one of Israel’s deadliest enemies. But Sahraei had more on his mind than Zionists. He had Jews in his crosshairs.

Referencing the biblical story of the Sin of the Golden Calf at Mount Sinai, a version of which is cited in the Quran, he denigrated Jews as “a people who are known for their stubbornness, objections and excuses.”

This denunciation represented only the tip of a toxic iceberg. He went on to say that Jews “corrupt the earth” and that their scholars engage in “distortion, usury, fornication … and murder.”  In a reference to the Holocaust, he added that Jews fabricate history.

Along with these despicable barbs, Sahraei complimented Adolf Hitler for having expelled German Jews from Germany. Verbally patting Hitler on the back by praising the “logic” of his expulsion order, Sahraei said he had been “smarter and more courageous than all current European leaders.” What he was suggesting was clear: Jews should be forced out of Europe.

Dabbling in Holocaust denial, Sahraei went one step further by denouncing European countries that endorsed “the myth of the Holocaust.”

Sahraei’s comments were hardly surprising. As a matter of policy, the Iranian regime promotes Holocaust denial, which, of course, is a form of antisemitism. It should be noted that Sahraei’s article was published with the tacit approval of the Iranian government.

Iran’s crude and offensive attitude toward the Holocaust is not new.  Iran has sponsored Holocaust denial cartoon conferences. And this past January, Iran disassociated itself from a United Nations General Assembly condemning Holocaust denial.

Iran not only denies the Shoah. Through its assorted proxies in the Middle East, ranging from Hezbollah to Hamas, Iran conspires to attack Israel in the hope of wiping it off the map.

Yesterday, at Quds Day, an annual event in support of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinians’ right-to-return doctrine, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, General Esmail Ghaani, vigorously denounced Israel. “We support any front that is formed against this criminal regime, and we will support any community that is ready to fight this criminal regime,” he declared in a speech in the city of Mashad.

In fact, it would be far more accurate to describe Iran, an Islamic fundamentalist authoritarian state, as a “criminal regime.”

Iran suppresses, imprisons and murders dissenters. Iran coerces women to cover up. Iran manipulates so-called democratic elections. Iran violates the United Nations charter by its advocacy of Israel’s destruction. Iran sows regional instability, particularly in Syria, where it is trying to entrench itself militarily. And Iran denies the Holocaust and maligns Jews, as Sahraei’s poison pen article explicitly confirms.

Iran is a destabilizing force, a despicable outlier on the world stage.

About the Author
Sheldon Kirshner is a journalist in Toronto. He writes at his online journal,