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Iran from the Eyes of Iranian-Jews

When you hear a story, do you listen to one side, both sides, or three or more sides?

A friend once said, “Idiots believe everything they hear; the average listen to both sides; the wise stay out of others’ affairs.”

Mr. Cohen shed valuable insights into my ignorance on Jews in Iran.  The New York Times Op-Ed Columnist describes the peaceful coexistence of Iranian-Jews with their fellow citizens:

  • There are more than a dozen synagogues in Tehran. Perhaps 25,000 Jews live in Iran — descendants of an almost 3,000-year-old community — the largest such community in the Muslim Middle East.
  • At Palestine Square, opposite a mosque called Al-Aqsa, is a synagogue.  Over the entrance is a banner saying: “Congratulations on the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution from the Jewish community of Esfahan.”
  • Death to Isarel — “Let them say it,” one merchant said.  “I’ve been in this store 43 years and never had a problem. I’ve visited my relatives in Israel, but when I see something like the attack on Gaza, I demonstrate, too, as an Iranian.

I (Cohen) am a Jew and have seldom been treated with such consistent warmth as in Iran. Or perhaps I was impressed that the fury over Gaza, trumpeted on posters and Iranian TV, never spilled over into insults or violence toward Jews … the reality of Iranian civility toward Jews tells us more about Iran — its sophistication and culture — than all the inflammatory rhetoric.

******

Fifteen years ago, a then “emotionally disabled” first-grade student wrote a rap to Aesop’s Fable, Tortoise and the Hare.  The boy insisted the hare was framed.  All the other animals were jealous of hare’s ability to run quickly and wanted to stop him from winning the race.  Here’s the rap:

When you hear a story, you may be hearing lies.  Try to keep an open mind and listen to both sides.  Both sides, uh huh.  Both sides, uh huh.  Please listen to both sides.

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February 23, 2009 - Posted by | Asia, Attitude, Compassion, Education, God, International, Islam, Journalism, Love, Peace, Politics, Soul, Spirit, War | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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