Can Iranian Jews speak? Given the social, political, and religious atmosphere in Iran, and the country’s high-tension relationship with Israel, what are the options for Jews to speak freely? Are they in a permanent state of taqiyya (dissimulation)? Are their public statements and worldviews intended to placate the regime in order to secure their presence in Iran, or can they navigate their ways as Jews living in the Islamic Republic without compromising their sense of belonging and loyalty? This article examines these questions throughout four decades of Iran’s relationship with its Jewish communities. The article follows the shaping of the relationship between the Jewish minority and the general society, starting with the 1979 Islamic Revolution, through the election of reformist Sayyed Mohammad Khatami and his “great civilization” project, the subsequent election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the presidency in 2005, and Iranian-Jewish responses to the latter’s holocaust denial. By examining the Jewish community’s publications, memoirs, interviews, and newspaper articles penned by Jewish leaders, this article interrogates the relationship between Iran and its Jewish minority. The article concludes that there is no alternative to direct inquiry of Jewish voices within Iran. By juxtaposing writings on and by Iranian Jews, the article demonstrates the fallacy of portraying a community in constant danger due to their religion. At the same time, it demonstrates the Jews’ exceptionally complex realities as a religious minority in the ever-changing Islamic Republic of Iran.
|Translated title of the contribution
|Jewish Voices in the Islamic Republic of Iran
|Number of pages
|Published - 2020