Getting past ugly rhetoric

Iranian Jews are proud, discreet and active. Their country is full of contradictions:

Despite the offence Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has caused to Jews around the world, bizarrely his office recently donated money for Tehran’s Jewish hospital.

It is one of only four Jewish charity hospitals worldwide and is funded with money from the Jewish diaspora – something remarkable in Iran where even local aid organisations have difficulty receiving funds from abroad for fear of being accused of being foreign agents.

Most of the patients and staff are Muslim these days, but director Ciamak Morsathegh is Jewish.

“Anti-Semitism is not an eastern phenomenon, it’s not an Islamic or Iranian phenomenon – anti-Semitism is a European phenomenon,” he says, arguing that Jews in Iran even in their worst days never suffered as much as they did in Europe.

Australian Jews, for the most post, prefer parochialism, warmly embraced by Prime Minister John Howard.