Commentary Magazine


Help Wherever They Can Find It

How desperate are Iranian demonstrators for outside support? So desperate some are not afraid to beseech the Little Satan for aid. The Wall Street Journal reports on Israel’s Farsi-language radio broadcast:

On a recent day, as Mr. Amir sat in his tiny studio in Kol Israel’s Jerusalem offices, one caller from Iran, his voice trembling with emotion, recounted how “there’s blood on the streets and people are being killed like butterflies.” Another urged the world to help the protesters-reminding that Persian emperor Cyrus the Great protected and aided the Jews two and a half millennia ago, and asking the Jewish state to repay the favor by supporting Iranian demonstrators today.

Actually perhaps that’s not so unexpected given the long history of amity between Israel and Iran prior to Iran’s Revolution. But it is certainly at odds with the popular conception that all Iranians have been brainwashed since 1979 into becoming violently anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. That stereotype is as inaccurate as the view that all, or even most, Iranians hate the United States and would view any support for their cause from that quarter as the kiss of death. In fact, as numerous visitors have noted over the years (I heard Nick Kristof of the New York Times make this point on TV just a few days ago), ordinary Iranians hold the U.S. in very high regard. And needless to say, Barack Obama has to be as popular in Iran as he is everywhere else around the world — at least he would have been, before his failure to make his voice heard on the regime’s recent atrocities. So why is it again that President Obama thinks support from him will harm the demonstrators’ cause? Heck, if he’s not willing to step forward, perhaps Prime Minister Netanyahu will have to emerge as their champion. (I’m kidding — but only just.)