Isn’t there something incongruous about a human rights company offering a platform to a reporter who has in fact hidden human rights abuses?Next week, an
online occasion organized by the human rights group “3 Generations” will feature New york city Times op-ed writer Roger Cohen, who activated a worldwide furor in 2009 when he visited Iran and exposed that the oppressed Jews there were not so oppressed after all.Cohen’s assertion that Iranian Jews were”living, working and worshiping in relative serenity” was sought advice from refuse throughout the political spectrum. Jeffrey Goldberg, in The Atlantic, called him”credulous.” The Anti-Defamation League charged Cohen with seeing Iran through”damaging rose-colored lenses. “J.J. Goldberg, in The Forward, recognized Cohen as”simply ignorant, and dangerously so.”In subsequent works and remarks, Cohen not simply doubled down on his rejection of Iran’s anti-Semitic persecution but likewise heaped appreciation on the judgment authorities for treating him”with such constant heat.”That remark triggered caustic remarks remembering well-known instances in history when other totalitarians wined and dined gullible foreign journalists.That year’s yearly State Department report on worldwide religious flexibility provided a truly various picture from the one Cohen had painted. Iran’s 25,000 Jews were the victims of”formally approved discrimination, especially in the locations of work, education, and housing
.”According to the 2009 report, the judgment program”restricted the flow of Hebrew texts, especially nonreligious texts, making it difficult to teach the language.”In addition,”There was a boost in formally approved anti-Semitic propaganda involving main statements, media outlets, publications and books.”Cohen tried– not actually persuasively– to politicize the dispute. He declared that his political opponents conjured up the claims of the Iranian Jews’suffering. “The hawks’case versus Iran depends upon a vision of an apocalyptic routine”that is”frenziedly anti-Semitic,” Cohen asserted. Yet it was the State Department of Barack Obama that was representing Iran as frenziedly anti-Semitic. It seemed Cohen was making use of Iran’s Jews to advance his own program– to soften Iran’s global image in order to encourage Western rapprochement with the ayatollahs.Given “3 Generations'”history, it is especially unexpected that its leaders selected to host a speaker who has actually downplayed human rights abuses. The group’s founder, Jane Wells, is the daughter of Sidney Bernstein, who was designated by the British Ministry of Info in the spring of 1945 to make a film taping the atrocities in Nazi death camps– up until politics interfered. Given” 3 Generations'”history, it is especially unforeseen that its leaders selected to host a speaker who has actually minimized human rights abuses. Bernstein worked with Alfred Hitchcock as his keeping track of director. They entered into the liberated camps that spring and summertime season, tape-recording the piles of unburied remains, the emaciated survivors, and all the other dreadful proof of the Holocaust. A few of the footage was used in postwar trials of Nazi war criminals.But just before the film was completed, the British authorities shelved it. His Majesty’s Government had actually chosen a policy of “motivating” and”promoting “friendly relations with postwar Germany. An” atrocity film” might produce bad feelings. According to some reports
, the British were also stressed that the film might increase compassion for producing a Jewish state in Palestine, something London was withstanding at the time.It all came cycle sixty years later on when Wells met photojournalist Brian Steidle, who had merely returned from Darfur. Steidle explained how State Department authorities pressed him to stop dispersing his images of the genocide there for concern that he would compromise U.S.-Sudanese relations. Moved by what she saw as the”obvious parallels”in between Steidle’s experience and her daddy’s, Wells produced an acclaimed documentary about the Darfur massacre and developed the” 3 Generations” group to produce and promote other human rights films.The “3 Generations” website explains a variety of deserving projects that the group has in the works, although there is no reference of any strategy to record the situation of Iran’s Jews. That’s a pity, due to the truth that according to the most present State Department report on the subject, the persecution of Iranian Jewry continues unabated.The 9,000-15,000 Jews remaining in Iran “face social discrimination and harassment,”the report says.They can not serve in the judiciary, security services, or various other professions. They “may not take part in public spiritual expression. “Jewish schools should have Muslim principals, remain open on the Sabbath, and have their curricula and textbooks authorized by the authorities. Iranian federal government authorities”utilize [ed] anti-Semitic rhetoric in official declarations and … sanction [ed] it in media outlets, publications, and books,” “government-sponsored rallies continued to include chants of’Death to Israel,'”and “local newspapers brought editorial cartoons that were anti-Semitic.”All of these acts of persecution by Iran make the approaching appearance by Roger Cohen at the” 3 Generations “occasion more than a little paradoxical. An unrepentant denier of anti-Jewish persecution will be included by a company whose production was encouraged by the suppression of a film about anti-Jewish persecution. One wonders what Sidney Bernstein would have thought about this turn of events.Dr. Rafael Medoff is director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Washington D.C., and author of more than 20 books about the Holocaust and Jewish history.You’ll enjoy our roundtable.