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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Photo Essay: L.A.’s Iranian Jews protest anti-Semitic Singer Yeganeh

When news spread light wildfire in Southern California’s Iranian Jewish community late last week that Mohsen Yeganeh, an anti-Semitic Iranian Muslim singer from Iran was going to perform a concert at downtown L.A.’s Microsoft Theater, the community’s activists quickly mobilized using e-mails and social media to calls for a boycott the concert. Hundreds of community members unaware of Yeganeh’s anti-Israel and anti-Semitic song “Flock of Vultures”, cancelled their plans to attend the concert or demanded refunds from the theater. The Farsi language song’s lyrics call Jews vultures, blamed Israeli soldiers  for killing Palestinian children and demand violence against Jews. (More information about this controversy can be read here).

Yet the Iranian Jewish community in Los Angeles which is very firmly pro-Israel and vocal against Iranian Muslim anti-Semitism, did not stop with a mere call to boycott Yeganeh. No… 150 vocal and very proud Iranian Jewish activists peacefully protested, held signs and marched against Yeganeh on December 16th outside the theater.  Here is some short footage of their protest outside the theater…

 

As a reporter I was there to witness the protest on hand and here are some of my reflections of the evening…

The Iranian Jewish protestors who were both young and old encouraged some concert-goers to avoid the concert, they educated American visitors to the nearby venues about Yeganeh vile hatred for Jews and handed flyers to passers by. One Iranian Muslim concert-goer shouting at the Iranian Jewish protestors in Farsi language “F— you Jews! You messed up Iran and now you are messing up America!” Another anti-Semitic Iran concert goer shouting at them in Farsi saying “Yeganeh is right, you Jews kill Palestinians every day!”. Still other potential concert-goers upon learning about Yeganeh’s anti-Semitic song, turned away from attending the concert and some concert goers showed sympathy to the protestors. Cars passing by the venue honked their horns in support of the protestors and even Rabbi Hertzel Peer of the Pico-Robertson Chabad Persian Youth and his son Mendy stopped by to show support for the protestors and lite this giant Hanukkah menorah on the sidewalk. Here is footage of that special moment…

 

The following are just some interesting snap-shots of the peaceful and passion-filled night from the perspective of this reporter who was surprised to see his community turn out in such a large number to speak out against hate and violence against Jews and Israel…

 

(Iranian Jewish activist George Haroonian holding up signs against Yeganeh during protests, photo by Karmel Melamed).

(Iranian Jewish protestor community activist Sam Yebri holding up signs during Yegnaeh protest, photo by Karmel Melamed)

(Rabbi Hertzel Peer of Chabad Persian Youth holding up the Hanukkah candle during the protest, photo by Karmel Melamed)

(Mendy Peer, youth director of Chabad Persian Youth signing Hanukkah songs at the protest, photo by Karmel Melamed)

(Rabbi Hertzel Peer of Chabad Persian Youth lighting the giant menorah during the protest, photo by Karmel Melamed).

(Anti-Semitic concert-goers tore up the protesters’ flyer about Yeganeh before entering the concert, photo by Karmel Melamed).

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