Iranian opposition activists defend Israel in latest conflict with Hamas in Gaza
(May 20, 2021 / JNS) More than a week after Hamas terrorists began launching rockets at Israeli towns, a growing number of non-Jewish Iranian activists, journalists and individuals in Iran and abroad have expressed their support for the people of Israel.
Whether through social media posts or protesting alongside pro-Israel supporters in the United States and Canada, non-Jewish Iranians have also expressed support for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.
“I am not saying that Israel is a perfect country, but I support Israel because it is the only country in the Middle East which offers equal rights and opportunities for Jews, Christians and Muslims,” he said. said Ahmad Batebi, a non-Jewish Iranian activist. and journalist. “As Iranians, our hearts break whenever we see the death of an innocent Palestinian or Israeli child. But we know that Israel does not intentionally seek to harm these children and that only a sick terrorist group like Hamas uses them as human shields. ”
Batebi was one of thousands of Iranian Americans around the world who posted messages of support for Israel on social media such as Twitter using the hashtag “I am with Israel” or “Hamas terrorists”.
Despite the Iranian regime’s intensive filtering of Twitter and other Western social media sites, many in Iran have sent their own messages in favor of the Israelis. One particular account identified as “Mamadou Archives” and shown to be based in Iran hosted a live secession on May 13 with more than 25,000 participants – mostly Iranians – which sent nearly 100,000 tweets in seven hours.
Batebi and many other anti-regime activists said they were frustrated with the Iranian nation’s wealth being handed over to Palestinian terrorists in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East for decades as the average population in Iran has suffered economically.
“For 40 years the Palestinians took Iranian money but never thanked us; they still express hatred for Iranians and even supported Saddam [Hussein] during the Iran-Iraq war [in the 1980s]! Said Batebi who lives in Washington, DC “Enough is Enough!” Money that could be used to put food in the mouths of Iranian children should not be given to these Palestinian murderers and terrorists.
A recurring message from anti-regime activists on social media was their extreme anger at the Iranian regime for spending the county’s wealth to fund Hamas rockets rather than coronavirus vaccines. Iran is currently among the nations in the world with the highest death rates from the virus.
“Do you see the Iranian people’s vaccine money exploding in the skies of Tel Aviv tonight?” an Iranian opposition activist asked in a Persian tweet.
At the same time, various Iranian opposition activists in Iran also boldly sent video messages in support of Israel while hiding their faces. Any public demonstration of support for Israel in Iran is punishable by long prison terms or even execution, depending on the regime’s laws. Yet those who follow Iranian internal affairs have said that the current situation is reaching a boiling point for many who are willing to take risks and challenge the regime authorities by speaking out.
“ They do not represent us by any stretch of the imagination ”
“The Iranian people have long chanted in their demonstrations: ‘Neither Gaza nor Lebanon. My life is only for Iran! and “Syria and Palestine are the cause of our problems!” because the Islamic Republic has spent untold billions to support terrorist groups like Hamas, ”said Cameron Khansarinia, political director of the“ National Union for Democracy in Iran, ”an anti-regime based nonprofit group. in Washington, DC
Mariam Memarsadeghi, a non-Jewish Iranian opposition activist from Mayland, said the vast majority of Iranians in Iran did not believe the Iranian regime’s 42-year-old anti-Israel propaganda because they saw Israel as a beacon of freedom, peace and economic opportunity in Iran. the region they desire for themselves.
“The affinity that the Iranian regime has expressed for the people of Gaza and Lebanon is seen by many in Iran as a big lie which the regime uses to maintain its stranglehold on the Iranian people and which the people see through it. mentionned.
Dr Reza Behrouz, a non-Jewish Iranian activist and neurologist in San Antonio, said that many Iranian-Americans are particularly vocal in supporting the Jewish state at this time, as a few Iranian organizations claiming to represent all Iranians in the States- United have done so in recent years. spit out anti-Israel and anti-Semitic messages which they strongly oppose.
“These organizations and individuals are very well known to the entire Iranian-American community, and there is justified speculation that they are working on behalf of the Islamic regime. [in Iran]Behrouz said. “We have nothing to do with them, and they do not represent us at all.”
Indeed, one organization – the Iranian American National Council (NIAC) – has been accused of links to the Iranian regime, including cooperation between the organization’s founder Trita Parsi and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Last year, three Republican Senators – Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Braun of Indiana – said NIAC violated the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) by “amplifying the regime’s propaganda in the United States ”.
NIAC signed a letter urging the Biden administration to pressure Israel to stop “the illegal and forced displacement of Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah [in eastern Jerusalem], which precipitated the dangerous escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. “
“We wholeheartedly condemn the violence of the Israeli armed forces, Palestinian armed groups like Hamas and mob attacks that have targeted civilians on sectarian lines,” NIAC said.
“Israel is the good we don’t have in the Middle East”
Other non-Jewish Iranian activists outside Iran have said they support Israel because of its culture of promoting tolerance and the long-standing friendships they have with Jews, which were initially developed by the ancient Persian king Cyrus the Great.
“The only thing I know about Iranians is their love for peace and coexistence – the slogans or revolutionary destructive actions of the Islamic regime are generally not in Iranian blood,” said Mina Bai, a non-Iranian journalist. Jewish woman based in Norway.
Dr Danial Jafari, chairman of Iranian-Americans for Freedom, a Washington-based nonprofit anti-Iranian regime advocacy group, said many Iranians sympathize with Israelis facing the Iranian rockets. Hamas because they too had experienced the horrors. Iraqi missile attacks on Iranian cities during the Iran-Iraq war from September 22, 1980 to August 20, 1988.
“The Iranians understand that no government should tolerate an act of war and should do everything in its power to protect its citizens,” said Jafari, a non-Jewish doctor living in New York. “It’s not a difficult decision for those of us who have woken up in the darkness of the night rushing down the stairs, grabbing our loved ones by an arm to seek shelter.”
At the same time, other non-Jewish Iranian activists outside Iran said they joined pro-Israel Jewish groups in recent public protests in support of Israel. One of these activists was Salman Sima, an Iranian Muslim anti-regime activist in Canada.
Sima posted on Twitter about an attack on a Jewish man by pro-Palestinian activists on May 16 at a pro-Israel rally in Toronto. Despite the growing rate of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel protests in Canada, Sima said he would continue to express his support for Israel.
“Israel alone is all the good that we don’t have in the Middle East today,” he said. “In short, Israel is at the forefront of the fight against Islamism and radicalism, so we must stand with the Israelis.”
For their part, Iranian Jewish activists in southern California said they were not surprised by the growing number of Iranians in Iran and elsewhere in the world expressing their support for Israel.
George Haroonian, an Iranian Jewish activist based in Los Angeles, said: “Ordinary Iranians see much more of an advantage in friendship and support with Israel and the Israeli people as natural allies of the Iranian people than in supporting a Islamic terrorist organization which indiscriminately attacks civilians. “