On Friday, September 18th, Jews all over the world went to synagogue and gathered to celebrate the eve of the Jewish New Year. Meanwhile, in Iran, thousands upon thousands took to the streets to rally against Israel on Quds (Arabic for Jerusalem) Day. In his Friday speech, Ahmadinejad once against denounced Israel and claimed that the Holocaust is a fabrication and a lie used by Jews to occupy Palestinian Land. Pro-government supporters chanted the usual– “Death to Israel” and “Death to America”.
You can only imagine, as an Iranian –American Jew, I feel a deep sense of grief and loss. Us, Iranian Jews, have no place in this tyrannical and fundamentalist government. I also feel that all this rhetoric is just a way to rally around a fictitious enemy to distract the populace from the great inequities and human rights violations taking place in Iran.
At least there is a ray of hope in all this. Ten of Thousands of opposition protestors used Quds Day as an excuse to march the streets of Tehran, Shiraz, and Isfahan and get their message across. They defied the government ban on demonstrations by chanting, “We are not here for Gaza and Lebanon. We are here to sacrifice ourselves for our country.” September 18th marked the largest opposition demonstration seen in Iran since mid July.