Last year I had the unique opportunity to cover a story about the “Mizrahi Project”, a program launched by the Christians United For Israel (CUFI) non-profit in an effort to help educate Christians and others about the plight of Jews from Arab lands and Iran and to strengthen their pro-Israel advocacy efforts. The program has since interviewed countless Jews from Islamic countries about the painful experiences in fleeing or being expelled from their homes during the 20th century and released their interviews through short videos circulated on social media sites. The organizers of the Mizrahi Project later approached me to share my own family’s painful story of fleeing Iran after the 1979 Islamic revolution and here it is…
I thank CUFI for giving us Mizrahi Jews a voice and reminding the world of the horrors we endured in the Arab lands and in Iran during the last century! I chose to participate in this program because for too long the vast majority of Iranian Jews in America, (aside from a handful of passionate activists here in Los Angeles and the efforts of the “30 Years After” non-profit organization), have largely remained on the sidelines of speaking out against the evil Iranian regime. While some Iranian Jews in Los Angeles and New York have endure horrible hardships, imprisonments, torture and even lost family members at the hands of the Ayatollahs in Iran, they have remained silent about their experiences. In my opinion, their silence has been due to fear of what the regime may due to their remaining friends and family still in Iran, or just because of an indifference to any political activity, or because reliving the memories from nearly four decades ago is too painful of an experience for many of them.
In my humble opinion, now is the time for Iranian Jews in America to stand up and undertake a critical grassroots advocacy campaign to educate every other community in America– Jewish and non-Jewish alike about the rising threat of Iran’s regime. We as Iranian Jews not only understand the Farsi language declarations of genocide repeated by Iran’s ayatollahs, but the majority of us have experienced the evils of the Iranian regime firsthand. So who better than Iranian Jews, who experienced firsthand anti-Semitism, random arrests, unceasing tortures and imprisonments at the hands of this Iranian regime, to speak out today about the evil nature of the regime? Who else but Iranian Jews, who have had family members randomly executed by the Iranian regime, to educate the public about the regime’s unmerciful thugs? Who else but Iranian Jews, who have witnessed their Christian, Baha’i, Zoroastrian, Sunni and other religious minority countrymen experience unspeakable abuse and murders at the hands of the Iranian regime’s secret police, to speak out? Who better than Iranian Jews to educate the larger American public about how Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other regime strongmen are very openly calling for the elimination of all people who do not follow their radical form of Shiite Islam? While in recent years, individual Jewish-Iranian activists in Los Angeles have indeed spoken out about the cancerous spread of the Iranian regime’s evil among its own people in Iran and the entire Middle East, much more of this type of public advocacy must be done on a larger scale by Iranian Jews in LA and New York. Additionally, while the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, has attempted to put on a happy and nicer face for the Iranian regime with his fraudulent public relations campaigns, we as Iranian Jews have a duty to remove the smiling mask from Rouhani and his minions in order to expose their true nature and evil actions to the American public.
I proudly support and applaud CUFI’s efforts to educate all Americans about the plight of Jews who fled or were expelled from the Arab lands and Iran in the last century. Aside from the “Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa” (JIMENA) organization based in San Francisco, what other Jewish or non-Jewish organization has stood up and given a voice to Mizrahi Jews in the 70 years? While I have tremendous love and respect for my friends in the Ashkenazi community, they have failed to mobilize in any effective effort to stop the horrendous Iran Deal in 2015 which has emboldened the Ayatollahs in Iran with sanctions relief and a path to an eventual nuclear weapons program. I have personally been deeply disappointed with many leaders in the Ashkenazi Jewish community here in LA who have said little and done next to nothing to raise public awareness of about the growing danger of the Iranian regime with their pursuit of nuclear weapons. Instead many of them blindly followed the Obama administration’s marching orders about how “great the Iran Deal” would be for all.
Today we see the folly of the Iran Deal with the Iranian regime increasing their hegemonic reach from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea, from Syria to Yemen and even to parts of South and Central America. With their sanctions relief and billions in free cash Obama gave the Ayatollahs in 2016, the Iranian regime’s leaders have filled the coffers of their terrorist proxy Hezbollah and other terror groups with billions in petro-dollars to fund terrorism against Israel and anyone else who they claim as their enemies.
Perhaps most importantly, our voices as Iranian Jews in America must be raised even louder in advocacy against this evil Iranian regime today as it is on a daily basis calling for the annihilation of the only Jewish homeland on earth. Likewise how can we remain quiet while this Iranian regime is also calling for destruction of our adopted home America?! The Ayatollahs and Iranian Revolutionary Guard leaders are ruling Iran with an iron fist want a world that bows and is submissive to their radical Shiite Islamic theology. Those who rule Iran today have no problems bringing destruction to the world in order to achieve that objective. For nearly 2,500 years we Jews lived in Iran and endured horrific oppression at the hands of different kings and Islamic leaders in that land. Yet after 1979, our once 80,000 strong Jewish community was forced to flee our homes, abandon our business, forfeit our properties and assets in order to avoid destruction at the hands of this evil Iranian regime. Today some 5,000 to 8,000 Jews still remain in Iran either due to poverty, a lack of education or foolishly believe that the regime will not come after them.
In the end how can I or anyone else, Jew or non-Jew not speak about the evils of Iranian regime?! Artists, filmmakers, LGBT advocates, union supporters, musicians, journalists, women’s rights advocates, children’s rights advocates and just lovers of freedom worldwide can no longer stand idle and say nothing while the aggression of this Iranian regime continues? While I do not call for war or violence against the Iranian regime, I do believe we must place international economic, social and political pressure on the regime for its crimes against humanity and calls for genocide against Israel and America. We must join with those in the Christian Zionist community and other communities who cherish life and liberty against the tyranny of the Iranian regime. We must vocally emboldened and support those voices of democracy and true freedom in Iran who wish to overthrow the chains of oppression that have been shackled to by the Iranian regime.
So to my friends at CUFI and others who stand with Israel and America, I offer you my 100 percent support and help in exposing the evils of the Iranian regime and helping to eventually bring their reign of terror to an end in the Middle East. Only together can we champion the cause for freedom, tolerance and co-existence in that part of the world.