Ron Padosh, Pajamas Media
A week ago, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen wrote a now much discussed column about Iran’s Jews. The gist of his argument was that Iran’s Jews live in a good place, evidently without fear. The 25,000 still in Iran, he wrote, worship in over a dozen synagogues and make up the largest Jewish community in the Muslim Middle East. True, before the Iranian revolution their community was some 1000,000, but far less left Iran than other Arab communities when Israel was created. “The Arab Jews has perished,” he writes. “The Persian Jew has fared better.”
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What about the Israel bashing, so famous from the endless anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial of President Ahmadinejad? As Cohen sees it, one has to ask what is more significant; the ranting or that the Iranian Jews live in “relative tranquility,” as proved by the fact that he has seldom “been treated with such consistent warmth as in Iran.” He recognizes that in 1999 Iran arrested Shiraz Jews on trumped-up charges of espionage, which was “the regime at its worst.” Still, he explains, Jews have one representative in Parliament, although a Muslim is not allowed to vote for a Jewish candidate. So, Cohen suggests we show “realism” about Iran, and not respond to it in a way that makes us see Iran as a rogue regime.