Iran: “Go Live in your Lovely Israel, Mr. Vice President”

Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, the Iranian vice president for tourism and the director of the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization, has been under fire after he declared that Iran is “a friend of all people in the world, even Israelis and Americans.” He said almost the same thing a few weeks ago, but “corrected” his comment by saying that by “Israeli people”, he did not include Zionists and Jewish immigrants. Now 200 legislators in the Iranian parliament have asked President Mahmoud Ahmadinehad to dismiss him.

Esmail, an Islamist Iran-based blogger, writes that a group of Islamist students held a demonstration in front of the Cultural Heritage Organization in Tehran to protest against the Vice President. The blogger has published several photos of demonstrators and their slogans such as, “Go live with the lovely Israelis” and “Being a revolutionary requires revolutionary action not illusion”.

Photos from Esmail News.

Esmail writes that, “despite the fact that more than 200 legislators asked for the vice president's dismissal, the number of protesters was small. Maybe one reason is that a specific group of students organized it.”

Esmail adds:

It is surprising that some people instead of criticising Esfandyar Rahim Mashai, are attacking Ahmadinejad. They act like Ahmadinejad wants to recognise Israel and establish relations with the USA. They ignore the fact that Ahmadinejad, despite all the pressure, did not retreat on his position regarding the Holocasut.

Hamed Talebi, who writes in Khabarnegare Mosalman blog and supports Ahmadinejad, wrote that he cannot understand why Ahmadinejad supports Mashai considering his comments on Israel, the US, and the world.

Amir Hossein Sabeti, another pro-Ahmadinejad blogger, has published [Fa] the declaration of Basij students from the political sciences and law department in the University of Tehran against Mashai:

What happened now that Mashai proudly insists that Iranian people have friendly relations with Israeli people, and does not want to retreat form his comments? Is it really too much that the children of Islamic Revolution ask Mr. Mashai to only speak of his specialty, and not play the role of government's spokesman?…

Of course, not all bloggers are against Mashai. Zamineh Ensha says [Fa]:

I support Mashai's comments. It is very valuable thing that somebody in the Iranian government repeats that Iranian people are equal with Israelis and Americans. Such a comment in the current international context is important.


  • Wow, it’s shocking to see this degree of hatred (after all he said people, not governments), but a good reminder that things aren’t black and white anywhere, and that bloggers have their differences in all nations.

    I think people sometimes get the impression that all bloggers in “other countries” hold the same values.

  • It seems to me that the bloggers don’t get it – my understanding is that Mashai claimed Iran to be friends with Israelis and Americans, not their governments (as we well know, Israelis and Americans are often extremely different from their respective governments).

  • Robby

    Are the protesters (and the 200 legislators) upset because the Vice President has insinuated that Israeli’s are human beings, or are they upset he used the word “Israel”?

    Maybe they afraid this will lead to ‘recognizing’ Israel? Don’t they understand they already recognize Israel, and reiterate it almost daily with their comments?

    I hope this is not a true reflection of the Iranian people – if it is then maybe Obama is wrong, and the US should not talk to them.

  • Dear Jillian and Robby,

    They just reflect what Iranian Parliament Speaker said we are not friends of Israeli people.As far as I understand by their writings all Israelis (jewish ones) are “zionists”. We should take in consideration that there were not many protestors and all islamists do not share the same point of view.There is a real diversity of ideas in Iranian society.

  • Its very nice and hopefuly to see that there are chances to change the actual scenarium in the middle east.

    The Islamic Republic of Iran can hold the idea of the revolution but in the same time, being friendly and peaceful

    The word Zion, zionisim changed toward the years. Today the israeli people that are zionist doesnt think that israel must be the ” historica Israel”

    Im a zionist, I live in Israel, but I want a palestinan state beside israel to the palestinan people, so , Im also a pro palestinan state . We can be everything , togather.

    The Iranin people are fried of Human being, as Alcoran says. The israelies are friend of human being, as the Torah says.

    Governments change time to time. We , students and citizens will be the brave voice of the future and with owr force of gain, we will change the middle east and the world , to a better one.

  • Robert

    “Israeli” is an anti-euphemism for “Jew,” and currently Iran is, in some ways, like Nazi Germany: there is no place on this planet for Jews. Mohammed is interpreted to require their Islamic state – and Israel is a slap in their face because Palestinians are Muslims yet Israel is not. Let’s face it – Islam is the only “culture” in the world in which a significant percentage of its population refuses to accept Western secular progress!

  • Jerusalem Joe

    This is very typical behavior in the Muslim/Arab/Persian world. A high ranking government official is taken to task and may be fired for making one non genocidal comment about Israel. I don’t understand how anybody thinks there may be peace with people like them. Its even further beyond belief that Barak Obama thinks that just by \talking\ with people like this you can make them see the light. Things are very different here in Israel. Here, you are able to say whatever you like about whom ever you like without fear of public persecution. Not to mention we don’t force our women to abide by an oppressive 12th century dress code. That’s one of the lovely parts of living in a democracy. However, I am glad that they do things like this in our enemy nations. It clearly shows the difference between \us\ and \them\ to the entire world.

  • Robert

    Why not demand that all the European and Muslim countries from which the “Zionist” Jews emigrated be required to take back whoever wishes to return. At the same time, we should also require that each Arab and Muslim country must permit every Palestinian “brother” or “sister” the right of immigration. Although that’s unlikely to happen, the “reason” is clear – there still is very little “brotherhood” and “sisterhood” in the world! Therefore, Israel must exist, and Iran must fall. Let’s not forget who invented the Martyrdom of “suicide bombing.” These kind of “jihadese” would be thrilled to tie an atom bomb to their belt – if only they had one! The only good thing here is the fact that – to my knowledge – no Iranian suicide bomber took himself/herself out (with others). But I may be mistaken on that.

  • Robby

    Hamid – I hope you are right. But it sounds like any moderate voices within the Iranian government will be stifled. I’ve read there is little chance of that changing for awhile (Guardian Council).

    Add to that the stronghold the government has on the press (see the latest Reporters Without Borders report), any words of dissension must come from outside the country.

    I can’t recall anytime in recent history where the leadership of a country openly declares such hatred for the civilians of another country.

  • Jerusalem Joe

    Robby…I can remember a time when “the leadership of a country openly declares such hatred for the civilians of another country.” It was around 1939 in Germany…………

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