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I must be a Jew

Mindless intolerance

May 18, 1999
The Iranian

- Turn up the volume.

- Why? It's just the news.

- Turn it UP, please! I want to hear the results of the Israeli elections.

- ...

- God I'm so glad Netanyahu lost... he's such a jerk.

- You think a new "moderate" prime minister is going to change things?

- It might... I hope so.

- I don't know... Those Jews won't let us live in peace.

- ... ? Those Jews? What are you talking about? This is the Israeli government. You're expanding it to include ALL Jews?

- I'm talking about the Jewish State. The Jewish State is made up of Jews.

- Hmmm... well, let me tell you something: I'm a Jew too.

- Yeah? Az key taa haalaa?

- I've got to be. Because I don't have a problem with Jews. I mean, every Iranian I meet has some sort of problem with Jews. I don't. I mean, I don't see them as evil, cunning, greedy creatures. In fact, I think nothing pisses me off more than hearing Iranians trashing Jews in the most disgusting way for no good reason.

- ...

- Just a couple of weeks ago I was this close to strangling this Iranian woman. I don't know what we were talking about, but somehow the discussion led to Jews. She said something like, 'Hitler should have finished them all off taa az daste een joohoodaa raahat meeshodeem.' I didn't say anything. I was in complete shock. I thought, how could she say such a thing? I wanted to slap her so bad...

- Maybe she was joking.

- No, no, no, she wasn't joking. She absolutely believed in every word she said. This has happened to me so many times with so many Iranians. Maybe not ALL Iranians want the Jews dead, but Iranians in general don't like Jews. Plain and simple. This is a fact. Am I wrong?

- No...

- So why is that?

- I don't know why... Why doesn't the average American like Jews? It's the same story with Iranians and many other nationalities.

- Do you realize what you are saying?

- I'm saying a lot of people don't like Jews. This is not an exclusive Iranian attitude.

- But we are two rational people, I hope. Right? Let's say we are sitting at a bar. Some woman walks in and sits next to us. We start a conversation. Five minutes later she says she's Jewish. Does our behavior suddenly change? Do we become more reserved? Do we look down on her?

- Maybe. But what if we told HER we're IRANIAN? Wouldn't she turn her back and leave?

- Perhaps...

- Perhaps my ass. She WOULDN'T speak another word to us.

- Okay but that still doesn't tell me why Iranians don't like Jews. I mean, it's not really based on their personal experience with Jews. It's just that generation after generation they've been told nasty things about them and now they just believe it without really thinking about it. It's the same thing with Bahais. Iranians can't stand Bahais. You ask them why? And they say, well, because they're Bahais.

- ...

- Do you realize how idiotic this whole hate business is? I don't want to sound PC or deliver a sermon or anything. I just get really REALLY angry when people say things like 'too bad the Nazis didn't get rid of all the Jews.' And I hear it so often. The level of insensitivity and cruelty is beyond belief. How could you wish such a thing for ANY race or nationality or any group of people?

- I think you're right. You ARE a Jew. You have the nose too! Christ! How could I miss that?!

- ...

- Where are you going? I was just kidding...

- I'm going for a walk...

- Baba I'm sorry. I was just kidding around, really. Come on, we're just talking...

- You don't realize how important this is. You think 'Oh well, Iranians don't like Jews, so what? They don't like us either.' I just can't understand why people can be so stupid and cruel. And at the same time they give you all that crap about the Great Iranian Civilization and how Aryans are so much better than the Arabs and Blacks and... you name it. It makes me sick... aareh man joohoodam, chee meegee haalaa?

- You're so naive...

- And you're a STUPID, HATEFUL IDIOT! (Leaves the room. Slams the door.)

- Send a comment to the writers, Mansoureh Haqshenas & Koorosh Bayat
- Send a comment for The Iranian letters section

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