Jewish Orgs’ Mahmoud Problem
Who’s the president, and how to react
Until Friday’s presidential vote in Iran, the smarty-pants view in Jewish circles was this: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be a menace, but at least he’s a Holocaust-denying menace who rarely wastes the opportunity to call Israel a cesspool of racism. With him as the public face of the Islamic Republic, few could fail to misunderstand the threat of a nuclear Iran.
But three days of violent crackdowns by police against opposition protesters in the wake of Ahmadinejad’s contested victory have, we can assume, disabused anyone watching of any misconceptions about the nature of Iranian democracy. Opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi reappeared this morning, after a weekend in which he was apparently held under house arrest, but the promise of an investigation into vote fraud drew a skeptical response from The New York Times, which has dispatched executive editor Bill Keller to the scene: “It was unclear whether the aim was quelling protests or a genuine re-examination of an election whose official results [Ayatollah Khamenei] had already approved.”
But rather than going in for the jugular—say, by adding organizational heft to anti-Ahmadinejad protests by Iranian expats in New York yesterday—Jewish groups have limited themselves to calling for renewed international pressure on Ahmadinejad and the regime that backs him. The quiet is strange, since the same groups weren’t shy about saying exactly what they thought of Ahmadinejad during his visit to the United Nations last fall—and, after all, it’s not as though he could like Jews, or Israel, any less than he already does.
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.