I've tried to explain to people that the lives Jews lead in Iran aren't bad. They aren't persecuted. I've done what is humanly possible to educate people about Iran and the Jews that live there. And as a non-Jew I learned the hard way that there are things I am "not allowed" to say. Or, rather that there are things I cannot authoritatively discuss, even though I probably know more about the Jews living in Iran than most American Jews. How's that for democracy and freedom of speech?
But this? I'm really blown away the New York Times even had the balls to print this:
IÂ’d visited the bright-eyed Sedighpoor, 61, the previous day at his dusty little shop. HeÂ’d sold me, with some reluctance, a bracelet of mother-of-pearl adorned with Persian miniatures. Â“The father buys, the son sells,Â” he muttered, before inviting me to the [synagogue] service.
Accepting, I inquired how he felt about the chants of Â“Death to IsraelÂ” Â— Â“Marg bar EsraeelÂ” Â— that punctuate life in Iran.
Â“Let them say Â‘Death to Israel,Â’ Â” he said. Â“IÂ’ve been in this store 43 years and never had a problem. IÂ’ve visited my relatives in Israel, but when I see something like the attack on Gaza, I demonstrate, too, as an Iranian.Â”
Congratulations to Cohen for observing facts over mere words, indeed:
Still a mystery hovers over IranÂ’s Jews. ItÂ’s important to decide whatÂ’s more significant: the annihilationist anti-Israel ranting, the Holocaust denial and other Iranian provocations Â— or the fact of a Jewish community living, working and worshipping in relative tranquillity.
Perhaps I have a bias toward facts over words, but I say the reality of Iranian civility toward Jews tells us more about Iran Â— its sophistication and culture Â— than all the inflammatory rhetoric.
The bottom line is this: a non-Jew could never write something like this and get it published. And to think an American Jew had the courage to go to Iran and report on facts? Might my faith in the Times be resurrected?
Read the whole thing. It's that good.