Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Iranian Immigrants to Israel

I'm not quite certain what to make of this story, telling that the Jewish Agency just brought 40 Jews from Iran, mostly Teheran, to Israel via an undisclosed third country that is probably Turkey (what else could it be? Barbados?)

On the one hand, you get all the usual boilerplate stuff about how this is what a Jewish State exists to do, and if there had been one back in 1937 think how much things would have been better, and so on. Which is actually all true, but not overwhelmingly convincing in this case. As one of the young Iranians who has been here for a while tells, there actually isn't much danger facing the Jews of Iran, which makes sense because the antisemitism of that regime is directed at us, not the tiny local minority (most of the time). You also have to ask who they are, those Iranian Jews, and what they're still doing there, almost 30 years after the rise to power of Homeini, and in spite of decades of the Mossad and others getting those out that need to leave. You also need to know that the Jewish Agency, once the effective government of the pre-State Yishuv, has been losing its way, its clout, its significance, and eventually even its justification to exist for decades already, and stories like this, even though true, aren't really enough to keep them relevant. Did you notice, by the way, how some of the new immigrants or their Israeli family members can't wait to reach the parking lot at the airport to start kvetching about the things they're not getting?

Finally, the comparison with Germany in the 1930s leaves me unconvinced. In this context, anyway. I suppose you could say that getting Jews out of Israel, where there are all these wars and such, is a rational thing... but I'm not going there.

1 comment:

Lydia McGrew said...

'Kvetching' is one of those great words that the English language needs. I think I'll borrow it.