LGF’s flying pig stayed in the hangar
TEHRAN, Iran – It is Iran’s version of "Schindler’s List," a miniseries that tells the tale of an Iranian diplomat in Paris who helps Jews escape the Holocaust — and viewers across the country are riveted.
That’s surprising enough in a country where hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has questioned whether the Holocaust even took place. What’s more surprising is that government media produced the series, and is airing it on state-run television.
The Holocaust is rarely mentioned in state media in Iran, school textbooks don’t discuss it and Iranians have little information about it.
Yet the series titled "Zero Degree Turn" is clearly sympathetic to the Jews’ plight during World War II. It shows men, women and children with yellow stars on their clothes being taken forcibly out of their homes and loaded into trucks by Nazi soldiers.
"Where are they taking them?" the horrified hero, a young Iranian diplomat who works at the Iranian Embassy in Paris, asks someone in a crowd of onlookers.
"The Fascists are taking the Jews to the concentration camps," the man says. The hero, named Habib Parsa, then begins giving Iranian passports to Jews to allow them to flee occupied France to then-Palestine.
Based on a true story
Though the Habib character is fictional, it is based on a true story of diplomats in the Iranian Embassy in Paris in the 1940s who gave out about 500 Iranian passports for Jews to use to escape.
The show’s appearance now may reflect an attempt by Iran’s leadership to moderate its image as anti-Semitic and to underline a distinction that Iranian officials often make — that their conflict is with Israel, not with the Jewish people.
About 25,000 Jews live in Iran, the largest Jewish community in the Middle East after Israel. They have one representative in parliament, which is run mostly by Islamic clerics.
The series could not have aired without being condoned by Iran’s clerical leadership. The state broadcaster is under the control of the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei, who has final say in all matters inside Iran.
Update: Reader Niko K. writes below that a Spiegel story on the miniseries sharply contradicts the AP’s account. So sharply, in fact, that I’m wondering now if the AP story is a deliberate whitewash. Writes Niko:
The article has it all wrong, and also the Wall Street Journal article that appeared earlier.
Mohammed Reza Kazemi cleared up the matter in a recent SPIEGEL article (link in German only, sorry). Main points:
* the major point of the series is that it was allegedly the German Jews themselves who collaborated with Hitler to kill those Jews who opposed the re-settlement of Palestine
* for example, a plot line shows that a Jewish researcher is in possession of documents that prove the connection between Hitler and Zionists
* the credits of each episode feature the work of anti-Semite Roger Garaudy as a “historical source”
* “historical adviser” to the series is Holocaust denier Abdollah Shahbazi who openly admits in his blog that he’s a denier
* director and screenwriter Hassan Fatthi alleged to SPIEGEL that according to “historical evidence” a majority of Hitler’s victims were those who opposed the re-settlement of Palestine
Niko on September 16, 2007 at 10:11 PM
So, basically it looks like Iran is trying to tell the story the way I’ve heard it back in the Soviet Union: the Zionists conspired with the Nazis. Indeed, the Soviets always proclaimed anti-Semitism to be wrong (even though they practiced it routinely). They always said that they were anti-Zionist, not anti-Semites. They even had so called Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public, chaired by a token Jew, General David Dragunsky. Incidentally, here is an article on the ideology of this kind of leftist anti-Semitism from Front Page Magazine:
…In that regard, two distinctly Soviet libels stand out, both of which still claim adherents on the contemporary left. The first concerns the Holocaust. Soviet revisionists engaged, not in the denial of the extermination itself, but in the transfer of responsibility for the extermination. The Zionist movement was accused of collaborating with the Nazis in the implementation of the Final Solution to such a degree that the Holocaust became “the autogenocide of the Twentieth Century.” This ugly distortion was echoed in parts of the Western left, most famously in the form of a play entitled Perdition, which almost came to the London stage in the 1980s and remains in active circulation among anti-Zionists today. Based on the 1954 libel trial in Israel involving Rudolf Kastner, who had been accused of collaborating with the Nazis in order to rescue Jews in occupied Hungary, Perdition was, in the words of its late author, Jim Allen, a tale of “privileged Jewish leaders” collaborating “in the extermination of their own kind in order to help bring about a Zionist state, Israel, a state which itself is racist.”
The second libel concerns the insidious essence of Judaism and, flowing from that, the global reach of Jewish and Zionist influence. The writings on Zionism churned out by the Soviet state apparatus, camouflaged as social science, portrayed the movement as an organic outgrowth of Judaism’s racist doctrines, notably the concept of the “Chosen People.” Although the Soviets developed and popularized this inversion of Jewish theology, one does not have to delve into Soviet archives to find examples of it. During the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in July 2006, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten published an article by Jostein Gaarder, a popular Norwegian author, alleging that Israel’s military actions in Lebanon were a demonstration of the conceit and hubris that comes with the status of “Chosen People.” From the Soviet Union’s standpoint, this notion of chosenness elevated Zionism into a transnational foe, along with “racism,” “imperialism,” and “militarism.” Standing in its way, however, were the peoples of Africa, the Arab states, Asia, and Latin America.
Powered by Qumana
No comments yet.