Iranian Jews in America must publicly confront the Iranian regime’s evil

May 9, 2019
Habib Elghanian. Photo courtesy Sion Elghanian

On May 9th of this year Iranian Jews in America and elsewhere will mark the 40th anniversary of the Iranian regime killing its Jewish community leader, Habib Elghanian. While this memorial is indeed a tragedy for Iranian Jews, the overall failure of the community living in Los Angeles and New York to be a larger part of the public discussion of confronting the evil Iranian regime for the last 40 years is an even bigger tragedy. Aside from nearly a dozen individual activists and a few small group of Iranian Jewish non-profits that have been active with larger American groups, the larger Iranian Jewish community’s leaders have either been apathetic, frightened or unorganized in launching formal education and very vocal public campaigns against the Iranian regime during the last four decades. The time has come for these Iranian American Jewish groups and the younger generation to speak up and become more vocal as the Iranian regime’s proxy wars against Israel increase and the regime’s silence to anti-Semitism in Iran increases.

Today the majority of Iranian Jews living in America very clearly see Iran’s significant role in destabilizing the entire Middle East, funding and arming terrorist groups, as well as calling for another Holocaust against Jews with their daily chants of “Death to Israel.” 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. And yet we have taken a back. Nevertheless, the Iranian-Jewish community in Los Angeles has never undertaken its own serious, comprehensive and relentless public advocacy campaign to educate the larger non-Iranian American community about the very real and emerging dangers of Iran’s fundamentalist Islamic regime to the Middle East and the entire world. This education of the greater public about who the Iranian regime consists of and its objectives is essential in transforming the U.S. government’s approach to Iran’s threats against non-Shiite Muslims throughout the world. In my humble opinion, now is the time for L.A.’s Iranian Jews to stand up and undertake such a critical grassroots advocacy campaign to educate every other community in America about the rising threat of Iran’s regime.

For 40 years, I have witnessed my community of Iranian Jews in Southern California growing and prospering after establishing new roots here. They have flourished in America and also generously given back to the larger Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Yet it has only been individual activists and small non-profit groups such as “30 Years After” who have been involved in vocally raising the issues of Iran’s danger to the larger American society. Such individuals have been involved with other organizations such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) about raising public awareness of Iran’s nuclear threat and Iran’s anti-Semitism. Yet none of the Iranian Jewish major organizations have never launched their own initiative to educate the larger American Latino, African-American, Asian, labor union, LGBTQ and other communities about the horrific human-rights abuses and spread of global terrorism carried out by Iran’s clerics and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The community’s leaders in past years and some even today have been frightened about more vocally speaking out against the Iranian regime for fear of the consequences it may have on Iran’s remaining 5,000 to 8000 Jews. This fear is both ridiculous and foolish as it has given the Iranian regime the upper hand in silencing Iranian Jews outside of Iran.

So  we as Iranian Jews must can ourselves, who better than Iranian Jews to shed light on this regime’s evil? Whom better than us that 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 Shia Islam? While we have indeed had community members who have 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 local Iranian Jews. Additionally, while the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif have attempted to put on a happy and nicer face for the Iranian regime with his 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.

More importantly, as Israel wages a war to defend innocent civilians from the terrorism of Hamas, Iranian Jews, who listen to Farsi language news broadcasts from Iranian state-run media, must make all Americans aware of what the regime’s leaders are saying about their role in perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For example, the Iranian regime’s leadership continuously in Farsi language media outlets voice their support and brag about their financial assistance to the many radical Islamic terrorists waging wars against Israel. This information is very rarely reported by Western news media for whatever reason, but we as Iranian Jews have a duty to name and shame every single member of the Iranian regime who is calling for a perpetuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and glorifying the genocide of Jews in Israel.

So as Iranian Jews, we must venture out of our enclaves in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Long Island and elsewhere in order to reach out to every American community who will listen to our story. Whether it is speaking to American Christians evangelicals about the Iranian regime’s abuse of Christian converts in Iran, or reaching out to the LGBTQ community about how gays are forced to have gender reassignment surgeries and face executions in Iran, a new public advocacy program about the evils of the Iranian regime is imperative today. Without the larger public knowing what crimes against humanity the Iranian regime is committing, no one will raise a voice to our elected officials to ratchet up the pressure on the Iranian regime. No one will demand that the U.S. Congress and European Union take a tougher stance on Iran’s heinous human-rights records if we as Iranian-American Jews do not educate others about this regime. In the end, as the first victims of the Iranian regime’s reign of terror and murder, it is incumbent on us to educate the American public and the larger world about the tsunami of evil Iran’s regime is seeking to unleash on the Middle East as well as the free world. If we continue to remain silent about the human-rights crimes carried out by the Iranian regime against all Iranians and the terrorism it sponsors against non-Iranians, we have committed an even greater crime.

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