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Jillian York

Jillian York

Posted: July 26, 2008 01:16 PM

The Iranian-Jewish-American Constituency Weighs In


Immigrant communities in the US, whether able to vote or not, have so far played a public role in this year's elections. Many, fed up with US foreign policy, are looking to the incoming president, whomever it may be, for change. One such community is the large Iranian-American Jewish community, the majority of whom live in California. A recent article and podcast, in the The Jewish Journal, focuses on the opinions of that community and their concerns with foreign policy.

The podcast, which can be found here, focuses on political participation from the community and their views on the two main candidates. An excerpt:

If you would've asked me this about 10 or 15 years ago, I would've said the involvement would be low to minimal to zero. Now, the community has brought itself out on all different levels, be it on the federal level with the national election, be it on the city level with our next mayoral election, be it on the city council level both here in Beverly Hills and the City of Los Angeles. On a national level, I see it going both ways - the Persian Jewish community likes McCain because of his obvious stance on national security, which is something that's very important to us. Some are very turned off by that and the fact that he says we might stay in Iraq for 100 years...there's definitely a cost and a loss of life component of that. But uh...some are also turned on by the fact that he wants to go invade Iran - there are a lot of people who still live here who have a lot of sentiment toward Iran, you know, I don't blame people....The younger generation, they go with Obama and the democratic party. It's not just about change but it's about something new. And uh, that Barack Obama brings to the table. I really see a divide among the generations.

Those interviewed in the podcast also discussed economics as it relates to political preference, as well as a bit of history surrounding Persian Jewish participation in politics.

The accompanying article makes further note of the generation gap in the Persian Jewish community, as well as why Persian Jews are unlikely to support Obama:

Iran is indeed an issue during the election this year and it is particularly important for local Iranian Jews because the majority of them have suffered at the hands of Iran's regime during or after the 1979 revolution. Obama's calls to negotiate with Iran's current regime does not sit well with older Iranian American Jews because many had their assets confiscated by the regime or were terrorized by the regime. So they do not want to see the Iranian Ayatollahs rewarded by any American administration's welcoming gestures that will legitimize their rule in Iran. Some of Obama's foreign policy advisers are also former Carter administration advisers who older Iranian Jews and other Iranian Americans blame for helping to bring the current Islamic fundamentalist regime to power in Iran nearly 30 years ago.

Any errors in transcription are the author's own

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