November 16, 2018

Q&A: Nikbakht explains how Iranian regime is exporting anti-Jewish ideology to U.S.

Frank Nikbakht is perhaps one of the world's foremost experts on the Iranian regime's advancement of anti-Semitic content in the media. With the U.S. State Department recently granting a visa to the notorious anti-Jewish Iranian comedian, Akbar Abdi, I sat down with Nikbakht recently to get a better idea of the Iranian regime's recent exportation of anti-Jewish ideologies to the United States. The following is a portion of that interview…


How common is it for popular or mainstream actors, filmmakers, artists in Iran to be openly anti-Jewish? And do they have these views in order to win support from the regime and keep their careers going?


There is no doubt that the openly anti-Semitic policies of the Iranian regime have been designed to attract the most suitable individuals in all fields to offer their talents. The Iranian Intelligence Ministry as well as the “Ershad” or the Ministry of Indoctrination have been approaching many screen writers, actors and others to produce anti-Semitic products. The ongoing case of annual Holocaust Cartoon exhibits on the international Holocaust Remembrance Day is just an example.  I have met people in Iranian show business who had been offered huge amounts to play in specific anti-Semitic films, but had refused due to the extreme nature of the films and the government related propaganda aspect.


From the online videos that you have seen from Abdi and your knowledge of his roles in certain films, please discuss the extent to his anti-Jewish views. Why was his choice of the word “Joohod” especially vile?


In the video where he is receiving a prize from President Ahmadinejad, Abdi is obviously sucking up to him, for his “courageous” UN speech, saying, ” you did it in the Johood's own house”. He could have meant the UN, but most probably he was speaking of New York, where all international Islamist terrorists consider the center of the Jews in America.


Is it common for public figures in Iran to use the word “Joohod” to reference Jews? Or do they try to use the more polite terms such has “Kalimi” or “Yahudi” to refer to Jews?


In fact, public figures have very rarely used this word, if at all, because like everyone else in their age group, they know the difference. Muslims in general, use the word “Kalimi”, meaning the followers of the one who spoke to God  Moses.  Most Muslims call Jews “kalimi” in their face, but they use the word “Johood” behind their backs. The letter of the law  also uses the respectful “Kalimi” even as it explains the lower status of the Jews as third class citizens; however, the tightly controlled press and media has frequently interviewed people who use this word in order to “popularize” it among the people.


Please share with us the extend and true degree of anti-Jewish content or propaganda from the regime that is typically prevalent in Iranian films or television programs? Is it common or is it more hidden in the form of anti-Israel comments?

There have been enough anti-Jewish references to dilute the difference; however there have been encouraging signs that sectors among the Iranian people have been rejecting this. For example during several massive demonstrations in 2009 – like on Quds day, nonetheless –  in  people were chanting , “neither Lebanon, nor Gaza ! Our lives are dedicated only to Iran”. Up until today, officials denounce these slogans, indicating they are still feeling the sting.


In your personal opinion why do you believe the State Department has granted a visa to Abdi considering his well-known anti-Jewish views? What is their objective or are they not knowledgeable about his background of hate?

Their priority for the last few years has been appeasing the Iranian regime in all possible forms. It is doubtful if they have time to worry about insignificant problems like anti-Semitism in Iran, but we must give them the benefit of the doubt.

Abdi and his apologists may argue that he was unaware that the term Joohod was offensive. Can you please comment of this and if this is a viable argument?

No middle aged Iranian can claim ignorance. While much younger people raised under the one sided and constant Iranian regime’s propaganda should be educated about such terms, the older generation using these derogatory terms must only apologize and refrain.