Islam’s position on the Jewish people is very clear. They are referred to as “People of the Book,” like the Christians. Muslims are called upon to live in peace with them as long as they do not threaten peace and security of the Muslims or the state they are living in. Throughout history, Muslims have strictly adhered to these lofty principles. Whenever the Jewish people suffered persecution in Europe, they found refuge among Muslims, hence the presence of Jewish communities in countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Iran, etc.
While this should be public knowledge, the problem is that pro-Israeli groups conflate Zionism with Judaism. Given the West’s unremitting hostility to the Islamic Republic of Iran because of its determination to maintain its independence and dignity, it has been accused of every kind of misdemeanor. One vile Zionist allegation is that Islamic Iran and its leaders are “anti-Semitic.” This is a smear and ordinarily would not be worthy of a response but because of its seriousness it needs to be addressed.
This is what Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei of Iran did in a public address on November 14 to Muslim ambassadors and participants at the Islamic Unity Conference. He pledged Islamic Iran’s unwavering support for Palestinian rights and called upon other Muslim countries to follow suit, describing Palestine as the greatest challenging facing the Muslim Ummah.
The Imam then touched on the subject of Zionist attempts to “distort” statements by the Father of the Islamic Revolution, the late Imam Khomeini and Iranian officials about the “elimination of Israel.” He explained, “We are in favor of Palestine and its independence and salvation, but the elimination of Israel does not mean the elimination of the Jewish people. We are not against them, as a large number of Jewish people live safely in our country. The elimination of Israel means the elimination of the fake Zionist regime. The Palestinian people — be they Muslim, Christian, or Jewish — who are the original inhabitants of that land, should be able to choose their own government,” the Imam elaborated.
For the record, Zionist Israel has been trying to entice the Iranian Jewish community to leave Iran and settle in Israel. The Zionist regime has even offered them tens of thousands of dollars in bribes. To their credit, the Jewish community in Iran has refused to go. They have their own member of parliament representing their specific interests in Iran’s Majlis along with a regular member of parliament for the larger constituency. Further, their places of worship are not only protected but they also receive government assistance in maintaining them.
Compare this with the Zionist mistreatment of the Palestinian people, the indigenous and innocent inhabitants of Palestine. While killing and brutalizing Palestinians, the Zionists indulge in vile propaganda that is designed to obfuscate because they cannot defend the horrific record of the Zionist regime. Pro-Israeli groups outside throw dirt at others hoping some of this would stick to those they accuse.
Our challenge to the Zionists is simple: if you think you are civilized, give the Palestinians the same rights that you enjoy. Then we will acknowledge that you are worthy of respect. Until then, you remain illegal occupiers of others’ land and they have every right to resist your colonization. Such resistance cannot be scandalized by the false allegation of anti-Semitism.