August 24, 2019 | The Jerusalem Post

Iran’s regime stokes more antisemitism amid Gulf tensions, ADL report

"A Persian-language cartoon published by Fars News in April solely blamed the Jewish people or Israel for tightening U.S. sanctions on Iranian energy exports."
August 24, 2019 | The Jerusalem Post

Iran’s regime stokes more antisemitism amid Gulf tensions, ADL report

"A Persian-language cartoon published by Fars News in April solely blamed the Jewish people or Israel for tightening U.S. sanctions on Iranian energy exports."

The sign says “Fujairah Port”. The flag on the stick says “war”. The caption on the top right says “Al-Alam Network [reporting about] Team B, the Suspicious Case of Fujairah Port: The Fujairah Port Explosions with a Smell of Conspiracy.” Al-Alam is another Iranian government-controlled news outlet. (FARS)

The Anti-Defamation League has issued a scathing indictment of an increase in Iranian state-sponsored antisemitism in connection with Tehran’s recent naval piracy in Gulf waters.

Dr. David Andrew Weinberg, the ADL’s Washington-based director for International Affairs, wrote in a report released last week that “Iranian leaders and state-controlled media outlets continue to propagate antisemitism, using blatantly false anti-Jewish conspiracy theories in a cynical effort to shift the blame for the consequences of its own aggressive actions abroad.”

Weinberg is an expert on the Gulf region and contemporary Islamic antisemitism. Under the caption “False Flag Conspiracy Theories,” Weinberg wrote that “Two days after four cargo ships were sabotaged in May off the coast of Fujairah, a principality in the United Arab Emirates, Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency published a Persian-language cartoon falsely asserting that Israel was responsible for the attack and engaged in a conspiracy against Iran to spark a war.”

He added that “Likewise, Iran’s government-controlled English-language Press TV promoted the claim by a guest of the show baselessly alleging that these attacks near Fujairah had probably been perpetrated as a ‘false flag’ attack by Israel to blame it on Iran.”

False flag signifies a covert operation conducted by one organization or state but attributed to another group or state as a form of deception.

Weinberg noted another telling example: “After US blamed Iran for anonymous attacks in June on two additional tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency cited a former Iranian government spokesperson calling the attacks ‘a plot hatched by the Zionist regime of Israel and the US to exert more pressure on the Islamic Republic.”’

He continued, “In the context of such eagerness to ascribe negative trends in the Middle East to Jews or Israel, it is perhaps no surprise that both Fars News and Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency covered a July meeting between Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and a visitor from Iran’s parliament by highlighting Nasrallah’s assertion that ‘the Zionists are the root cause of corruption and instability/insecurity in the region.’”

The US, Canada, the Arab League, Israel, the Netherlands, and Britain have proscribed Hezbollah’s entire organization a terrorist entity.

The US classified Iran’s regime as the leading state-sponsor of terrorism. Dr. Matthias Küntzel, a Hamburg-based political scientist with an expertise in Iranian regime antisemitism, has written that antisemitism is an essential part of Tehran’s foreign policy.

Weinberg covered how the Islamic Republic of Iran spreads “Other Conspiracy Theories of Jewish Control.”

According to the report, “Sometimes these antisemitic conspiracy theories also suggest devious and vast Jewish control over Western governments or the flow of information. For example, in May Iranian President Hassan Rouhani asserted that the speeches US officials make that criticize Iran ‘are written by Zionists word for word.’”

The report added “a Persian-language cartoon published by Fars News in April solely blamed the Jewish people or Israel for tightening US sanctions on Iranian energy exports. The cartoon showed a hand wearing a Jewish star trying to use a cork that looks like President Trump’s face to plug up a pipe labeled ‘Iran’s oil.’ The caption below the cartoon was labeled ‘America’s Efforts to Cut off Iran’s Oil Exports.’”

Weinberg wrote that “After British authorities seized an Iranian oil tanker suspected of violating international sanctions on Syria on July 4, the focus of Iran’s aggression and antisemitic conspiracy theories shifted somewhat from the United States to Great Britain. On July 19, Iran seized at least one British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf in retaliation.”

In late July, “Fars News published a series of anti-British political cartoons about the crisis, many of which depicted the United Kingdom as a fox, a common anti-British convention in the Iranian press.  One of these cartoons placed the blame for this crisis on international Jewry, showing a fox with Jewish stars on its eyes, one of which is winking and looks like a boat.”

The report stated that “Similarly, Iran’s Press TV reported in mid-July on Boris Johnson’s efforts to replace Theresa May as UK prime minister with the headline ‘The Zionists Tighten Their Stranglehold on British Politics.’ The focus of this article was on decrying what it called ‘the depth of Zionist penetration across the British political establishment.’”

Press TV played a role in the torture of  Maziar Bahari, a Canadian-Iranian journalist for Newsweek, during the 2009 Green Movement protests against Iran’s fraudulent presidential election. Weinberg took Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to task for his Jew-hatred.

Khamenei’s official representative to the Iranian city of Birjand termed Iran’s enemies “a fusion of Jews and polytheists” who are “impure and evil,” wrote Weinberg.

“This and other speeches often engage in dehumanizing Jewish people as well. Khamenei’s representative in Birjand also called Iran’s Jewish and polytheistic enemies ‘a crossbreed of dogs and wolves that has pounced on the convoy of humanity.’ He even went so far as to call them ‘predatory, reptilian, and satanic.’”

The report argued that Iran’s hatred stokes violence. A telling example: “Iran’s government-administered Ofogh TV aired a documentary on June 1 showing a village in Iran staging a mock bombing of Israel, the US Capitol, and a US Navy ship. The event was patronized by a general from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who relayed greetings to the group from Supreme Leader Khamenei. In fact, descriptions of Jews, Israel, or Zionists as ‘the enemy’ are extremely common in the Iranian government’s official messaging, and often include absurd and outrageous claims.”

In July, “Iran’s official Channel 1 TV broadcast a Tehran sermon by a member of Iran’s Expediency Council and Assembly of Experts in which he celebrated the government’s plans to increase its enrichment of uranium and warned that ‘Israel will be razed dozens of times”’if Tehran so desires. The crowd dutifully responded by chanting some of the regime’s most iconic – and belligerent – slogans, including ‘Death to America! Death to England! Death to the hypocrites and the infidels! Death to Israel!”’

Weinberg concluded, “Ultimately, the routine demonization of international Jewry in Iran’s messaging legitimates and encourages violence.”

Fars News posted this cartoon on March 30. The text on the book spine says “deal of the century.”

Fars News posted this cartoon on June 19. The torn up paper on the bottom left says “JCPOA” while the writing on Trump’s back says “death to America.” The speech bubble says: “Lately I haven’t heard them say ‘death to America’.”

Fars News posted this cartoon on April 23. The words on the pipe say “Iran’s oil,” while the caption below the cartoon is labeled “America’s Efforts to Cut Off Iran’s Oil Exports.”

Benjamin Weinthal is a European correspondent at The Jerusalem Post and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


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