[Marxism] How to answer these questions?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jul 31 14:13:53 MDT 2006

Yoshie wrote:
>Why is it that
>the largest Jewish community outside Israel in the Middle East exists
>in an Islamic republic, not a secular nationalist state?  Or you can
>remember what the Turkish government did to Kurds and Armenians and
>compare that with the Islamic Republic's treatment of ethnic

I don't want to get into another round of debates about Iran, but the fact 
is that the Kurds are oppressed in Iran, even though they are allowed to 
speak their own language. Iran suffers from Persian chauvinism not just 
against the Kurds, but against Azaris and Arabs as well. Finally, most Jews 
fled Iran because they were hostile to any kind of upheaval, including 
Shi'ite. There are more Iranian Jews living in Los Angeles than are living 
in Iran. Here's how they view things by and large:

The Jerusalem Post
May 7, 2002, Tuesday
Iranian Jews in LA cheer late shah's son

BYLINE: Tom Tugend

LOS ANGELES - As Reza Pahlavi, son of the former shah of Iran, took the 
stage, the overflow audience of Iranian Jews rose as one, waved Iranian, 
American, and Israeli flags, broke into rhythmic clapping, and shouted, in 
Farsi, "Long live the shah" and "We love you."

Pahlavi had come to the heartland of the Iranian diaspora in the US to 
pursue his 20-year advocacy of ridding his country of the theocratic regime 
of the ayatollahs and replacing it with a secular democracy.

Although Pahlavi did not tailor his remarks to a Jewish audience, his 
speech was greeted with enthusiasm by members of the 30,000-strong Iranian 
Jewish community in the greater Los Angeles area.

While he spoke in English, one woman switched to Farsi to assure Pahlavi 
that the entire Iranian Jewish community is behind him and hopes to see him 
as Iran's future leader.

He appreciated the compliment, but said that his current political role 
will be finished once an open referendum in Iran swept away the present 
regime. At that point, if "the people want me to play a part," he would be 

In an earlier one-on-one interview, Pahlavi, 41, noted that while all 
Iranians had suffered under the human rights abuses of the present regime's 
"inquisition," Jews had been especially targeted.

Under his envisioned democratic state, there would be a strict separation 
between mosque and state, Pahlavi said. He acknowledged that during his 
father's reign there had been some interference by the clergy, "but that 
was a far cry from what we are seeing today."

As described in his current book, Winds of Change: The Future of Democracy 
in Iran, Pahlavi predicts the downfall of the ayatollahs through a process 
of non-violent civil disobedience, led by the an increasingly disillusioned 
youth, who make up the bulk of the country's population.

The active support of the predominantly Muslim diaspora, which he estimated 
at 3.5 million worldwide, including 1.5 million in the US, would be crucial 
in this effort, Pahlavi said, and cited as his model the support of the 
international Jewish community for Israel.

He predicted that the present regime, which he said "set a new standard for 
evil under the sun," would be replaced within six months to three years. In 
the meanwhile, however, he warned "that we cannot take it lightly when 
(former Iranian president Hashemi) Rafsanjani threatens to use nuclear 
bombs on Israel."

Following his April 30 talk at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Pahlavi fielded 
written questions, including one which asked "When will we be able to go 
home?" Pahlavi responded, "The day we commit ourselves absolutely to a 
democratic Iran is the day we start packing."



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