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The Daily TIP: Topsy Turvy in Tehran: The Fickle Nature of Iran's Politics

Posted by Tip Staff - February 27, 2019

Topsy Turvy in Tehran: The Fickle Nature of Iran's Politics
Tony Blair Rips Corbyn, Says Labour Party "Has Not Gripped and Dealt With" Anti-Semitism
Vicious Assault on Argentina's Chief Rabbi Condemned by Political Leaders
Israeli Director Wins Oscar for Best Live-Action Short

Topsy Turvy in Tehran: The Fickle Nature of Iran's Politics

In the 40 years since the 1979 founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran’s unelected management — namely the supreme leader and his mullahcratic appointees — has been consistently anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Semitic. In contrast, the elected leadership — the president and the speaker of parliament—have been more malleable, and, in many cases, yesterday’s hardliners have become today’s moderates and vice versa. But in the end, the revolution always trumps political evolution in Tehran.

Internal political developments and external forces — namely protests and the signing of the Iran nuclear deal — have moderated reliable conservatives and hardened dependable reformists since 1979. The much-ballyhooed pragmatic President Hassan Rouhani is one such example, having resorted in recent months to threatening rhetoric, warning the West that an influx of “drugs, asylum seekers, bombs and terrorism” would accompany new sanctions on Iran. He also declared over the summer that his government was prepared to close the vital Strait of Hormuz, a passageway that carries a third of the world’s oil by sea every day. This line won Rouhani rare praise from Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, who remarked, “This is the same Dr. Rouhani that we knew and still know, and the one who should be.”

It was that Rouhani who was serving as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) during the crucible of the summer of 1999, when pro-democracy riots dominated debate in Tehran. Rouhani appeared at a counterdemonstration, warning that student instigators would be condemned to death as “enemies of the state” and “corrupt of the earth.” He added, “Our revolution needs a thorough cleanup, and this will help advance the cause of the regime and the revolution.”

To read the complete essay, please click here.

Tony Blair Rips Corbyn, Says Labour Party "Has Not Gripped and Dealt With" Anti-Semitism

In a radio interview with NPR on Tuesday during a visit to Washington D.C., former British Prime Minister Tony Blair lay the blame for the Labour Party’s ongoing anti-Semitism crisis at the feet of Jeremy Corbyn, the head of the party, and his far-left supporters. Blair, a staunch ally of Israel and the Jewish people, told journalist Steve Inskeep that he, and other senior figures in the party, have raised the problem of anti-Jewish hate “consistently” over the past three years to no avail.

“What has happened with the British Labour Party is that a strain of the far-left has taken over in circumstances where, when I was leader, these people were very much on the fringes of the Labour Party. Now, the new leadership has really brought them in.”

Blair was elected Labour leader in 1994 and won the party three executive terms in office before resigning in 2007. He then took on the role of envoy of the Middle East Quartet, a position he held until 2015.

Corbyn’s unwillingness to confront anti-Semitism in the party is not to say “that the majority of the Labour Party is anti-Semitic,” Blair explained. In fact, he clarified, many lawmakers who were first elected during his premiership “are horrified by this.”

The MPs who broke with the party last week, some of whom were members for over 40 years, clearly felt “enough is enough, and had to go,” according to Blair. He said, however, he also sympathizes with those who so far have not resigned and refuse to be chased out of their political home by anti-Semites.

Blair concluded that anti-Semitism in the Labour Party “has not been gripped and dealt with and it needs to be gripped and dealt with.”

Read more at The Tower.

Vicious Assault on Argentina's Chief Rabbi Condemned by Political Leaders

Intruders broke into the house of Argentina's chief rabbi, stole money, beat him, and seriously injured him, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

A statement from Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), the Jewish communal organization in Buenos Aires, said that a group of strangers broke into the home Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich at two o'clock in the morning.

The assailants also told Davidovich, "We know that you are the AMIA Rabbi."

Davidovich was hospitalized with nine broken ribs; his wife was tied up but was otherwise unhurt.

The Times of Israel reported that Aryeh Davidovich, the chief rabbi's son, described the attack. According to the younger Davidovich, his father heard noises and left his bedroom to investigate. He saw an intruder trying to escape downstairs. The rabbi followed the man and was set upon by his accomplices.

“Then they started shouting and three more burglars came from downstairs, pushed him on the stairs, beat him, bound him. He lost consciousness. They took my mother and asked for all the money she had, and she gave them everything she had,” the son said.

Aryeh Davidovich also said that he believed that the motive was robbery and that the assailants figured that the communal rabbi would be rich.

The attack prompted statements condemning the attack and offering support to the chief rabbi.

“We denounce the attack that chief rabbi Gabriel Davidovich suffered in his home,” Mauricio Macri, Argentina’s president wrote on Twitter. “We are with him as he recovers and he has our support for an investigation to find those responsible.”

In a tweet condemning the attack as "despicable," Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said, "The State of Israel will do everything necessary to protect Jews wherever they choose to live." More generally, he called on all nations "to ensure the security of their Jewish communities" and to demonstrate an "uncompromising rejection of anti-Semitism."

Read more at The Tower.

Israeli Director Wins Oscar for Best Live-Action Short

Israeli director Guy Nattiv won an Academy Award for best live-action short for his film Skin at the Oscars on Sunday evening, February 24.

“Oh my God. I moved here five years ago from Israel… Laila tov [good night] Israel, hi!” he said upon receiving the award.

“My grandparents are Holocaust survivors, and, you know, the bigotry that they experienced in the Holocaust, we see that everywhere today, in America, in Europe. And this film is about education, it’s about teaching your kids a better way,” he added.

Nattiv accepted the award alongside his wife and the film’s producer, Jaime Ray Newman, and its screenwriter Sharon Maymon.

The English-language film is set in America and follows the story of neo-Nazi racists.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin congratulated Nattiv on his win.

“Congratulations to Guy Nattiv for winning the Academy Award for best short film,” the president tweeted. “Our dear Guy, the good words about Skin are all yours, Sharon’s and Jaime Ray’s, but the film is a gift for our children and grandchildren, and for the future we wish for them in which they can fulfill all dreams. Great Israeli pride. Mazal tov!”

The last time an Israeli director won an Oscar was in 1978, when Moshe Mizrachi received the Academy Award for best foreign-language film for his film Madame Rosa.

Other big winners on Sunday night included Green Book (best picture), Roma‘s Alfonso Cuarón (best director), Bohemian Rhapsody‘s Rami Malek (best actor) and The Favourite‘s Olivia Colman (best actress).

(via Israel21c)

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