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The peace train
By FATHIYEH NAGHIBZADEH AND ANDREAS BENL
04/16/2012
If you really love Iranians, then have the courage to speak out against the regime that oppresses them.
 
A Facebook campaign called “Israel Loves Iran” has drawn huge attention globally.

Ronny Edry, a graphic designer from Tel Aviv, wrote that the message is simple: “Iranians. We love you. We will never bomb your country.”

Prominent Western state-sponsored Persian-language media outlets like BBC, Voice of America, Radio Liberty/Radio Farda have promoted the initiative with extensive coverage. Even the newspaper Tabnak, the mouthpiece of the former chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rezai, cited the campaign.

Less positive media attention was given to an answer by Iranians with the title “From Iran for Peace and Democracy.” On their website and Youtube videos they link their opposition to a war between Israelis and Iranians to other demands like: “We, Iranians, do not want [a] nuclear bomb!” “We, Iranians, do not want an Islamic regime!” and “We, Iranians, do not want to support terrorist groups!” BBC Persian posted an article on its website denouncing the campaigners as “right-wing” Iranians who would only speak out against an Iranian bomb without mentioning the supposed Israeli nuclear arsenal. The article forgets to mention why not only Israel and members of the Iranian opposition, but the whole world and especially Iran’s Arab neighbors fear a nuclear Iran: While Israel has never threatened to annihilate another country, the Islamic regime announces the destruction of the Jewish state day by day and has been executing terrorist attacks around the globe for decades.

One could ask where this sudden interaction between Iranians and Israelis comes from. But in reality Iranian history and culture is nothing unknown in Israel. It might be that Ronny Edry has really only met one Iranian once in Paris, as he claims. But there are about 50,000 Iran-born Jews in Israel, the most prominent being Shaul Mofaz. It is quite probable that Edry has seen more than one Iranian in his life.

On the other side, ordinary Iranians do monitor Israeli politics attentively. But above all, more than 30 years of life under a dictatorship of religious extremists have taught Iranians a cruel lesson: the anti-Israeli frenzy of the Islamist leaders is inextricably linked to the terror against the Iranians themselves and to the plundering of Iran’s resources. That is why many Iranians today see peace or even friendship with Israel as a vital part of their national interests.

The political slogans of the campaign “From Iran for Peace and Democracy” are an echo of this mood and of the demonstration chants of 2009. One of them was “a green flourishing Iran does not need an atomic bomb.” More important even, on the regime’s annual anti- Israel hate-fest, the “Quds [Jerusalem]-Day” in September 2009, people massively countered the anti-Israeli rallying cries from the regime loudspeakers with their own slogans against the Islamic Republic and its supporters.

“No to Gaza, no to Lebanon, my life only for Iran” has become one of the most popular ones since then. It is not directed against Palestinians or Lebanese but is rather a rejection of the terrorist foreign policy of the Islamic regime – a painful thorn in the side of the Mullahs, deplored by all factions of the Iranian Islamists.

So the question is: what exactly does “Israel loves Iran” mean? To transcend the horizon of national politics and show empathy for others is certainly a noble goal – and Iranians surely would have appreciated sympathy campaigns from Israel or other countries while they were in the offensive against the Islamist dictatorship. But the Israeli initiators of this campaign must answer the question of whether it is more about feeling good about themselves or whether they really want to show understanding for the Iranians as they are, with the problems that they have.

If you really love Iranians, then have the courage to speak out against the regime that oppresses them and threatens to lead them into a militant adventure against Israel. The real war against the Iranians started in 1979, when the Islamists took power.

Hassan Dai, exiled Iranian publicist in the United States has for years exposed the collaboration of selfappointed peace activists and the Iranian regime lobby in the West.

The pattern he observed is always the same: any critique of the Iranian regime is labeled as warmongering.

Many Iranians truly want to avoid a war against Iran, but at the same time see that the regime in Tehran with its anti-Semitic threats and its attempts to obtain nuclear weapons is the sole responsible party for the volatile situation between the two countries. Whoever wants to express solidarity with Iranians should clearly support their struggle for democracy in Iran.

In a recent address, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated that in the Middle East there are “two populations that have inherently pro- Western, pro-American, pro-liberal views of the world. One is Israel, and the other is Iran, the general population.

Given the choice they would choose for that orientation.”

If this means that Israel supports the democratic Iranian opposition, than who else than the regime in Tehran should oppose such a policy? Khamenei and his religious dictatorship are the enemies of Iranians and Israelis alike. The fight is not between “Iran” and Israel, but between the majority of the Iranian people and its friends on one side and the Iranian Islamists and all those on the other side, who try to meet the regime’s demands in one way or another.

The writers are founding members of the German chapter of the European coalition Stop the Bomb.
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