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Thursday, January 08, 2004

Submitted to the Daily Camera

Re: “IRAN: Objection is to Israel, not Jews” Letter 1/6/04
I disagree with Wolfe's opinion that Iran's refusal of Israeli aid was political or based on that government’s belief that Israel "illegally occupies Palestinian land." The facts do not support such a view, especially given that Iran did not exclude the possibility of Syria's assistance, even though Syria illegally occupies Lebanon.

If it were true that Iran's refusal was about "occupation," then why didn't Iran have diplomatic relations with Israel in the years 1948-67, when the West Bank and Gaza were not occupied by Israel, but by Jordan and Egypt? Why no relations with any Israeli government, even the "peace-making" administrations of Rabin or Barak?

Iran's refusal to accept Israeli aid in the aftermath of the earthquake has more to do with the ruling Shi'ai sect's great concern with the Islamic concepts of taharat/purity and nejasat/impurity. Hizbul Satan, i.e. non-Muslims, non-believers, infidels, etc. (as opposed to Hizbe Allah) have for centuries been -and continue to be- classified among the najess, the impure or unclean. Any contact with them or objects touched by them, requires ritual purification. Thus, Jews are in the same category as dogs and pigs, required by Shi'ai law to live in a segregated area and to stay indoors when it rains or snows (for fear these media might spread their impurities).

Jews have lived in Persia since the 6th century BCE. One would expect that over 26 centuries, tolerance for Jews might have grown. It is tragic for the victims of the earthquake that it has not. Iran was willing to accept aid from any country in the world except Israel. That's because among all the nations, Israel is the Jew. And the Jews are Israel.

There is simply no way that Iranian Shi'ai Muslim clergy could have handled the necessary ritual purification of all that medicine and food, all those blankets and shelters, that Israel wanted to send. Nor is there any way they would have allowed Jewish rescue workers to search for, and possibly touch, injured and buried Muslims.

Worse yet, it might have rained.

T. Lieberman
Boulder, CO