Point of No Return has already flagged the worrying threats by Iranian fundamentalists against the Jewish holy shrines of Esther and Mordechai. Now condemnation comes from an unexpected source – The Guardian. In a post on the Comment is Free website, Meir Javedanfar shows how the Ahmadinejad government has been resurrrecting Orwellian fabrications and inversions last used against the Jews by Iranian pro-Nazis in the 1940s.
On 10 December, 250 Basij students from Abu Ali Sina University in the Iranian city of Hamedan gathered in front of the mausoleum of two Jewish saints and threatened to tear it down, in revenge for what the students claimed were Israeli threats to infringe on the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
The graves are those of Esther and Mordechai. Esther was the second wife of Xerxes I (the Great) (486-465BCE, also known as Khashayarsha in Persian), the fourth Zoroastrian king of the Achamenid Empire. Esther was a Jew who moved to Persia after the Babylonian captivity of the Israelites (6th century BCE). King Xerxes also appointed Mordechai, who was Esther’s cousin and had raised her, as a royal court adviser. The king’s vizier, Haman, plotted to kill Mordechai, who refused to bow down to Haman, and all the Jews of Persia. That plan was foiled and King Xerxes, who wanted to protect his country’s Jews, hanged Haman and his 10 sons instead.
Since then, every year on the 14th day in the Hebrew calendar month of Adar, Jews everywhere celebrate the deliverance of Persia’s Jews from death. Children and adults go to synagogues and read the Book of Esther all over the world, including in Iran.
The hostile act of tearing down part of the tomb is unprecedented in the modern history of Iran, as graves of Jewish saints in Iran (which also include Daniel) have always been considered holy and respected by Jews and Muslims alike. In fact, many Muslim families go to such graves to pray for the health of their loved ones, alongside their Jewish compatriots.
Even more worrying is the revisionism of Jewish history flourishing in Iran under the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The narrative being promoted by this regime is that it was Mordechai who was a murderer because he ordered the massacre of more than 70,000 Iranians. This is being called an “Iranian holocaust”.
The eminent Oxford University Professor Homa Katouzian, in his book Sadeq Hedayat: His Work and His Wondrous World, traces this fabrication back to an article published in Iran-e Bastan in 1934. According to Professor Katouzian, this publication, “imitating German antisemitism, fabricated sensational reports of Jewish plots”. Not only did this publication reverse the facts in the story of Esther and Mordechai but it also, among other things, distributed reports that Jews were “selling fatal medicine to Muslims”. One of the goals of such articles was to emphasise and promote what it saw as the Aryan roots and historical commonality between Iran and Nazi Germany. Such false reports provided the foundation for anti-Jewish Islamist campaigns in the 1940s.
For years afterwards, no one took notice of such antisemitic material, let alone promoted it. This has all changed since Ahmadinejad took power in 2005. These days one can hear about the fabricated and highly anti-Jewish “Iranian holocaust” from Iranian politicians.
Anti-Israel paranoia reaches new heights in Iran (The Jewish Chronicle)