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Anti-Semitism and Iran

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Iranians have been exposed recently to a fictionalized television series titled, "Zahra's Blue Eyes," or "For You, Palestine." The program, carried on Sahar-1 T-V, follows the career of a fictional Israeli political candidate who supports the harvesting of the organs of Palestinian children by Israeli doctors. The fictional candidate is especially interested in obtaining seven-year old Zahra's eyes for his own son because her eyes remind him of his wife's.

The series, carried on Sahar-1 T-V, was written and directed by Ali Derakhshni, a former official with Iran's education ministry. In an interview, Mr. Derakhshni said, "The major film companies are under the Zionists' influence. Fortunately, the Iranian Islamic Republic and our Islamic regime have made many films and series like 'Zahra's Blue Eyes,' which is a film about children."

As an incitement to hatred of Israelis and Jews, "Zahra's Blue Eyes" is hard to top. It is equally vicious in its falsification of the kind of people Israelis are and in its attribution to them of inhuman motives.

"Zahra's Blue Eyes" is cited in a report the U.S. State Department has just released on anti-Semitism around the world. The report defines anti-Semitism as "hatred toward Jews, individually and as a group, attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity." It says that over the past decade, acts of anti-Semitism have increased both in severity and frequency. They include harassment, physical assaults, vandalism of Jewish institutions, and the dissemination through media outlets of hatred for Jews. Michael Kozak is Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights. He says anti-Semitism is a disease that cannot be tolerated:

"Anti-Semitism has plagued our world for centuries. From the most far-reaching and vile extreme – the Holocaust – to subtler but no less vile forms of anti-Semitism have disrupted lives, brought upheavals to communities and imposed political and social cleavages between communities and states. In our increasingly interdependent world, anti-Semitism is an intolerable burden."

Mr. Kozak says there is a place in political discourse for legitimate criticism of Israeli policy. But he says, "anti-Semites use dissatisfaction with Israel's policy or with their own situation as a tool" to promote hatred:

"Blaming it on the fact that Israel is tied to. . . .Judaism, both religiously and ethnically, is completely different. That's where you get into anti-Semitism, where you're demonizing a group of people because of their religious or ethnic background. . . ."

Mr. Kozak says the United States is committed to working with its global partners to monitor and roll back the scourge of anti-Semitism. "It is an important part of our strategy," he said, "to protect human rights and religious freedoms."