A couple of days ago, the Wall Street Journal published a fascinating article on the Iranian success of “All My Joys,” the latest album by the Israeli singer Rita. Tucked into the article is a mention of another this past July by Fars, a news outfit affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, that called the album Israel’s “latest plot in a soft war” to win over the Iranian people.
It’s easy to scoff at Iranian paranoia. But the Iranian regime is right to worry over the impact of a Western music album flourishing in its streets. That album might just be the most potent threat it faces.
As background, it is relatively not all that surprising that an Israeli singer would find listeners in Iran. Rita, whose long career has until recently been based on songs sung in Hebrew and English, was born in Iran and speaks fluent Persian, the language of “All My Joys.” According to the most recent numbers from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, Rita is one of 50,000 Israeli Jews who were born in Iran, and one of 142,000 who can trace their roots back to the country, where a remnant today remains as witness to the once great Jewish community that flourished there for thousands of years.