September 19, 2007

THEY EVEN GET THE FRENCH RIGHT (via Ali Choudhury):

Iran Holocaust show sympathetic to Jews (NASSER KARIMI, 9/16/07, Associated Press)

[T]he series titled "Zero Degree Turn" is clearly sympathetic to the Jews' plight during World War II. It shows men, women and children with yellow stars on their clothes being taken forcibly out of their homes and loaded into trucks by Nazi soldiers.

"Where are they taking them?" the horrified hero, a young Iranian diplomat who works at the Iranian Embassy in Paris, asks someone in a crowd of onlookers.

"The Fascists are taking the Jews to the concentration camps," the man says. The hero, named Habib Parsa, then begins giving Iranian passports to Jews to allow them to flee occupied France to then-Palestine.

Though the Habib character is fictional, it is based on a true story of diplomats in the Iranian Embassy in Paris in the 1940s who gave out about 500 Iranian passports for Jews to use to escape.

The show's appearance now may reflect an attempt by Iran's leadership to moderate its image as anti-Semitic and to underline a distinction that Iranian officials often make — that their conflict is with Israel, not with the Jewish people.

About 25,000 Jews live in Iran, the largest Jewish community in the Middle East after Israel. They have one representative in parliament, which is run mostly by Islamic clerics.

The series could not have aired without being condoned by Iran's clerical leadership. The state broadcaster is under the control of the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei, who has final say in all matters inside Iran.

Moderate conservatives have been gaining ground in Iran, where there is increasing discontent with the ruling hardliners over rising tensions with the West, a worsening economy and price hikes in basic commodities.

The government even allowed the series to break another taboo in Iran: For the first time, many actresses appear without the state-mandated Islamic dress code. The producers wanted to realistically portray 1940s Paris, and thus avoided the headscarves and head-to-foot robes that all women must normally wear on Iranian TV.


No wonder Iranian culture seems so mysterious to them when they can't even keep their ayatollahs straight.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 19, 2007 7:16 AM
Comments

..their conflict is with Israel, not with the Jewish people.

But why are they in conflict with Israel anyway?

Posted by: Brandon at September 19, 2007 10:51 AM

Or maybe, just possibly, one might consider that the AP story is wrong...

Posted by: b at September 19, 2007 12:01 PM

Because Hezbollah is.

Posted by: oj at September 19, 2007 2:33 PM
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