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memri
January 25, 2012 No.
4445

Antisemitic Statements, Publications by Iranian Regime

Alongside the Holocaust denial policy promoted by the Iranian regime, its leaders also make statements and publish writings expressing hatred toward the Jews, especially those in Israel, while denying Israel's right to exist. Regime officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claim that the Jews spread corruption in the world and that they are "evil, greedy, thieves, and murderers," and "filthy criminals who [only] appear to be human."

The title "Jew" is used as a slur in Iranian political struggles. Thus, for example, Mansour Arzi, a critic of Ahmadinejad, called Rahim Mashaei, the head of the president's office, a Jew in order to offend him.[1] Ahmadinejad's opponents acted similarly in October 2009, when they claimed he was of Jewish origin, and that his father had changed his surname to mask the fact.[2]

Formally, the Iranian regime distinguishes between Judaism as a religion, which is legitimate (Jews, being monotheists, are entitled to practice their religion under Muslim rule), and Judaism as a nationality – which Iran totally rejects as non-existent. President Ahmadinejad even claimed that the Zionists are not Jews, but rather infidels[3] or atheists: "They [the Zionists] lie when they say they are Jewish. Judaism has not known a bigger injustice than the Zionists claiming they are Jews."[4]

However, regime officials frequently blur the lines between the Jewish religion and nationality. Sometimes they refer to Jews by their religious affiliation, and sometimes by their national affiliation, recruiting the Koran to justify their claims anachronistically. For example, in August 2011 in Tabas (eastern Iran), preacher Ebrahim Mohajerian claimed that, "according to the Koran, the sons of Israel, the Jews, and the Zionists are the worst enemy of mankind, and especially of Muslims, aside from Satan."[5]

Following are more examples of antisemitic statements and publications by regime officials, and movies screened with its blessing.

Khamenei: "Wherever Evil Jews Existed, They Were Gathered Together [and sent to Palestine]"

In a speech to intellectuals in the city of Kermanshah in western Iran on October 18, 2011, Supreme Leader Khamenei repeated antisemitic notions when claiming that Western media is clearly operated and guided by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He said that "efforts by media outlets belonging to the oppressive world order [meaning the West] to highlight deviant and erroneous paradigms draws inspiration from the dangerous aims of the Zionist protocols [i.e The Protocols of the Elders of Zion]. This paradigm, developed by the media, is based in a clear, well-defined policy."[6]

On October 1, 2011, alongside the start of a conference in support of the Palestinians in Tehran, the website of the Institute for the Compilation and Publication of Supreme Leader Khamenei's Works announced the publication of a new book, 416 pages long, titled Palestine in the Viewpoint of Leader Khamenei, which features his statements on the issue, on ways to resolve it, and on the heroes of Palestine, its defeats, victories, and future.[7] In one of Khamenei's sermons appearing in the book, he said that Israel is "a country with no origin or provenance - a fake country, a false nation. Evil men from all corners of the world were gathered together in order to establish an amalgam called Israel. This is a nation? Wherever evil Jews existed, they were gathered together [and sent] there [to Palestine].

"Jews live in most countries [in the world]. Even in Iran, Jews exist and live their lives – they don't interfere with anyone, and no one interferes with them. This is their country and they live in it. [But] those who went to occupied lands [Israel] were evil, greedy, thieves, and murderers gathered from around the world.


Press TV (Iran), January 9, 2012

"Is that how you establish a nation? The nation and country that was established in that way, called Israel, knows no way but the way of terror. It has nothing substantial to say. At the same time, this entity, despite its lowliness and impurity, wants to besmirch a glorious, proud, and dear nation like Iran in the global public opinion. [However] they themselves are guiltiest of all, the greatest criminals of all, and their shame is greater than that of others."[8]

In a speech in the city of Qom on January 9, 2012, Khamenei addressed Iran's geopolitical situation and the economic sanctions leveled by the U.S., and claimed that, in dealing with the infidel U.S. and its Zionist allies, Shi'ite Iran is facing the same conditions that existed in the time of Badr and Khaybar. These statements refer to Muhammad's massacre of the Jews of Khaybar (628 CE) and the victory of few Muslims (modern Shi'ites) led by the Prophet Muhammad over the wealthy but heretical Quraysh tribe in the battle of Badr (623 CE).

According to Khamenei, "The front that stands before us is a front of America and the Zionists, who have tried every plot in waging war against the Iranian nation... so they could weaken the regime and destroy the people's determination... In the infancy of Islam, the enemies thought to lay an economic siege on the Muslims along with the Bani Talib [i.e., the Talib tribe, who were the Prophet Muhammad's wealthy, heretical rivals and besieged him in the city of Madina], but they failed. These wretched people [i.e., Westerners] miscalculated. They think that [today] we are like the Bani Talib... This is not the case. Today we are in the same circumstances [as the Muslims in the battles] of Badr and Khaybar... Our nation [can already] see victory. The nation is close to victory..."[9]

Ahmadinejad: The Jews Who Went to Israel "[Only] Appear to Be Human"

In a speech in the city of Shahrekord (western Iran) on June 16, 2010, Ahmadinejad referred to the Jews who went to Israel as "the greatest criminals, who [only] appear to be human"... "Sixty years ago, they [i.e. the West] gathered the filthiest and greatest of criminals, who [only] appear to be human from all the corners of the earth, organized and armed them on artificial and false pretexts, fabricating information and inventing stories [hinting at the Holocaust]. They gave them propaganda and military backing so that they would occupy the lands of Palestine and uproot the Palestinian nation..."[10]

On December 13, 2010, Ahmadinejad said: "Today it is clear to all that the Zionists are not Jews, Christians, or Muslims. They do not believe in any of the divine religions. They are atheists and are not entitled to man's minimal rights."[11]

In a speech to foreign press on October 29, 2011 in Tehran, Ahmadinejad described the Israeli regime as a many-armed party that controls those holding monopolies of power, wealth, and media, and added: "For 60 years the European people have been paying taxes to the Zionists. The Zionists fund Western election propaganda [and thus] control their affairs. [Therefore] the people and thinkers in the West play no part."[12] According to Ahmadinejad, Israel is the embodiment of the Zionist anti-humanist ideology; the Zionist regime does not obey religion or morality, and only portrays itself as Jewish.[13]

In an interview with Mexican TV on January 21, 2012, Ahmadinejad reiterated his Holocaust denial and claimed that the truth about the Holocaust would prevail: "If the Holocaust is a historical reality, why should it be forbidden to [question] it through research, and why are historians [who do so] imprisoned? I have raised two questions regarding the Holocaust: [one,] if it is real and [indeed] took place in Europe, why must the Palestinian people pay for it? And secondly, why is it forbidden to research the Holocaust? Unfortunately, instead of answering these questions, [the Zionists] use their media outlets to attack [those who ask]. However, such actions certainly will not stand up to the truth because the truth will always prevail."[14]

Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi: The Jews – "Enemies of Islam"

Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Taqi Mesbah-e Yazdi, who was until recently President Ahmadinejad's spiritual patron, also expresses antisemitic motifs in his speeches. For example, in an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) conference in January 2010, he defined the Jews as "the enemies of Islam," and as "the most devious politicians on Earth." According to Yazdi, "most of the centers of global corruption belong to the Jews and Zionists, who try to infect the other peoples with corruption and take over the world."[15]

Iranian Book: "How to Eliminate Israel?"

On November 23, 2011, the website Rasa News, which is close to religious seminaries in Qom, reviewed a book written by religion students from these seminaries, titled How to Eliminate Israel?, which discusses the question of how to implement the instruction by the founder of the Iranian Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, to destroy the State of Israel.

There are several examples in the book of the authors' confusion between a Jewish identity and an Israeli or Zionist one. Thus, for example, one writer – Mohammad Ebrahim-Nia, said that the book quotes anti-Jewish Koranic verses to explain how to eliminate Israel. According to him, "the Koran has defined this regime [sic. Meaning Israel, which didn't exist in the 7th century CE] as the Muslims' worst enemy, but battling them does not receive apt attention by the Muslims... Along with current translations of Koranic verses, the [book] presents... pictures of Zionists relating to the content of the verse, and statements of Jewish academics regarding the verse."


The cover of How to Eliminate Israel?, featuring a picture of Ayatollah Khomeini

Ebrahim-Nia stated that alongside Koranic verses, the book also relies on a fatwa by the founder of the Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, regarding Israel's elimination, which is "a religious duty." He added that the book also discusses "the study of Israel's ideological characteristics, the crimes of this nation, the Koran's warnings to Muslims against it, the Israelites' weak spots, and ways to combat this nation."

According to Ebrahim-Nia, "more than any other nation, the Koran warns the Muslims of the Israelites, a nation that received unique blessings from God, [but] perpetrated the most unique crimes and whom God [subjected to the worst] tortures. Unlike popular opinion, this nation did not vanish during those centuries, and its remnants can be found today within Zionism, which continues to commit crimes against the Muslim nation and deliver it blows."[16]

New Antisemitic Film in Iran – "Saturday Hunter"

Alongside antisemitic remarks, antisemitic films are distributed inside and outside Iran with the regime's blessing, including such films as "Saturday Hunter" and "The Antisemite."

In recent months, the anti-Zionist film "Saturday Hunter," which is directed by Iranian Parviz Sheikh Tadi and contains antisemitic motifs, was released in Iran. The Hebrew website of the Iranian Broadcast Authority www.hebrew.irib.ir explained that the film takes place in Israel, and "deals with a boy named Benjamin, who suffers mental abuse and is brainwashed by his grandfather, a Zionist rabbi, to become a bloodthirsty, merciless killer willing to spill the blood of innocent Palestinians in order to realize the goals of Zionism...


Jahan News (Iran), November 6, 2011.


www.abna.ir, September 17, 2011.

"Benjamin is separated from his mother in order to prepare him emotionally for endorsing Zionist ideology. At first he resists, but gradually he submits and adopts the radical Zionist perceptions. The Zionist rabbi... is a sadist, a cheater, and a religious racist, who turns the boy into a bloodthirsty robot in the service of Zionism." According to the website, the film was mostly shot in Lebanon, and shows how "the Zionist rabbis, who are morally and financially corrupt, control Israeli institutions."[17] To watch the trailer of this film, visit http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/0/0/0/0/108/0/3186; for a brief description of the movie that was broadcast by the Iranian Arabic-language TV channel Al-'Alam, along with commentary by producer Mohammad Qahremani, visit http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/0/0/0/0/108/0/3254.

The movie presents Judaism as a religion that looks down on Christianity and Islam, and the grandfather, "Rabbi Hanan," as a Zionist Jew who uses any form of manipulation to get what he desires – the desire of the Zionist Jews. Al-'Alam TV explained that Judaism is "religious racism" and the character of the Jewish rabbi is "the essence of evil on Earth and the embodiment of deception." In the film, the boy is shown going through religious and military training by the Zionist rabbi, alongside massive brainwashing, which is typical of Zionists, according to the film and the Al-'Alam presenter. The child, dressed in a military uniform, is seen firing indiscriminately in all directions to the sounds of the Tikvah (Israel's national anthem), until he becomes a war machine that carries out orders without emotion.

In the film's trailer, Judaism is portrayed as a religion that degrades and humiliates women, uses members of other religions to satisfy the needs of the Jew, and uses witchcraft and purity rituals to convert people to the Jewish faith. In addition, it is claimed that the correct interpretation of Judaism is that Jews must not be killed, but the blood of members of other religions or nations is forfeit. The rabbi says to the Palestinian Muslims that he and the Zionist Jews are "the sons of Abraham," which grants them alone the control and sovereignty of the land. The Zionist Jew even wonders who those Muslim Palestinians are and refers to them as having no identity. In addition, the film portrays peaceful Muslim Palestinians in their village as victims of the violent, aggressive Zionist Jews who wish to destroy them, which reflects "a daily reality" according to the filmmakers and Al-'Alam TV.

In the Al-'Alam TV clip, the film's producer, Mohammad Qahremani, said that the film would soon be translated into Arabic and will be released in Arab and Muslim countries after being rejected by all international film festivals due to what he called "the pro-Zionist positions of [festival] organizers." According to him, the film is important because it helps explain the importance of the Palestinian presence in Palestine, which, according to Qahremani, saves the world from Zionist rule.[18]

Iran Sponsors Antisemitic French Film "The Antisemite"

The Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and Iran's Experimental and Documentary Film Center have sponsored the production of the film The Antisemite, an adaptation of an eponymous play by French comedian Dieudonné' M'bala M'bala,[19] whose works have been censored in France for racial and religious incitement. According to a report published anonymously (apparently by Dieudonné's team) on the website Medialibre, the film tells the story of a man who "nurtures absolute hatred towards anything Jewish." His wife, who has cancer, asks him to seek medical help for his antisemitism, and the latter consults a Jewish psychoanalyst. The film opens with "one of those usual Holocaust propaganda documentaries" playing on TV in the couple's bedroom, the report says. "Horrible pictures are shown. The protagonist turns to his wife and says, sobbing: 'One day, all this will come true.'"[20]

Dieudonné turned to Iran after failing to find a sponsor for his film in France. It should be noted that the Iranian authorities have also agreed to sponsor the production of his film The Black Code, which claims that Zionists were involved in the European slave-trade in the 18th century.[21]

The Antisemite is to be screened at a conference on "Hollywoodism and Cinema" that will be held on the sidelines of Iran's 30th Fajr International Film Festival (1-11 February, 2012).[22] In France, it was screened in Dieudonné's theatre on January 16-22, 2012. (Other French theatres refused to screen it).[23]

Endnotes:

[1] www.inn.ir, August 23, 2011.

[2] Iranologists have stressed that Ahmadinejad does not come from a Jewish family, and that the affair was meant to sully his name in Iranian society.

[3] www.president.ir, September 18, 2008.

[4] IRNA (Iran), August 2, 2010. Ahmadinejad distinguishes between Jews, whom he claims to love, and Zionists, whom he does no love: "I love everyone – Jews, Muslims, and Christians. But the corruptor is not Jewish. He is a Zionist. And they [the Zionists] started a political party. Their intentions [when using] the Holocaust was to establish Israel, which is why they fear questions on this matter." Fars (Iran), July 9, 2011.

[5] Fars (Iran), August 26, 2011.

[6] www.leader.ir, October 18, 2011.

[7] The website states that the book can be purchased by sending a request to the following email: [email protected], October 1, 2011.

[8] www.farsi.khamenei.ir, October 1, 2011.

[9] www.farsi.khamenei.ir, January 9, 2012.

[10] Fars (Iran), June 16, 2010.

[11] www.irib.ir, December 13, 2010.

[12] ISNA (Iran), October 29, 2011.

[13] IRNA (Iran), October 30, 2011. In another speech on November 13, 2011, Ahmadinejad said: "Using lies, the Zionists have erected a 2,500-year-old culture, and they wish to destroy the historic roots of the other countries." www.jamejameonline.ir, November 13, 2011.

[14] www.president.ir, January 21, 2012.

[15] ILNA (Iran), January 5, 2010.

[16] Rasa News (Iran), November 23, 2011.

[17] www.irib.ir, November 6, 2011.

[19] Tehran Times (Iran), May 23, 2011.

[20] Medialibre.eu, 5 septembre 2011.

[21]Tehran Times (Iran), May 23, 2011.

[22] Tehran Times (Iran), May 23, 2011.

[23] http://www.dieudonne-officiel.com/. On Dieudonné, see Special Dispatch No.4313, "Antisemitic French Comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala To Release Iran-Produced Film, 'The Anti-Semite,'" November 25, 2011, http://www.memri.org/legacy/report/5854.