What Jewish Organizations Must Do about Iran

[Jerusalem Post] Shlomo Avineri - In the 1970s and 1980s, world Jewry became a pivotal player in the campaign for Soviet Jewry: For years, demonstrations, protests, sit-ins and other peaceful means kept the issue at the top of the international political agenda. This is what every Jewish organization in every country should do now. Ahmadinejad's repeated statements about Holocaust denial are a moral, not a political issue, and many non-Jewish individuals and organizations would join such a campaign. In every capital, constant vigils and periodic demonstrations in front of Iranian embassies would draw attention to the unacceptability of Holocaust denial. At every appearance of an Iranian official or diplomat, regardless of topic, there should be demonstrations condemning President Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial, and questioners should be prepared to raise the issue in any Q and A session that follows. All Iranian cultural functions should be picketed. Jewish organizations should lobby their respective governments to include the issue of Holocaust denial in any contact they may be having with Iranian authorities. Universities should be approached to initiate symposia on Iran's Holocaust denial. If, day after day, TV stations show Iranian embassies picketed, the voices within Iran which have already begun to question Ahmadinejad's policies will be encouraged because they too will realize that the gutter language of their president is hurting their country, its international standing and reputation. Pious talk about "Never Again" and "the Lessons of the Holocaust" sounds hollow if unaccompanied by a series of steps that make it clear there can be "no business as usual" after such abominations as Ahmadinejad's statements. The writer, professor of political science at the Hebrew University, is a former director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

2007-01-29 01:00:00

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