|Photo by: Nir Elias/Reuters|
The peace train
By FATHIYEH NAGHIBZADEH AND ANDREAS BENL
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
Ronny Edry, a graphic designer from Tel Aviv, wrote that the
message is simple: “Iranians. We love you. We will never bomb your
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Given the choice they would choose for that
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
The writers are founding members of the German chapter of the
European coalition Stop the Bomb.