This past February marked the 44th anniversary of the radical Islamic regime coming to power in Iran and, aside from a small sector of die-hard regime loyalists and those connected with the regime’s security apparatus, the vast majority of people in Iran did not celebrate this milestone. Since September of last year, many of Iran’s now 85 million population bravely launched their own grassroots revolution calling for the downfall of the totalitarian Islamic regime that has long deprived them of freedom and better economic opportunities.
The numerous protests by average Iranians in almost every single city in Iran have also revealed the people’s total rejection of all the ideologies of the Islamic regime – including the regime’s vile hatred of Israel and Zionism. Yet these actions by Iranian protestors, who are mostly younger in age, are not surprising for many of us who are fluent in the Persian language and have been closely monitoring the situation on the ground in Iran for decades.
In fact, Iranian protesters’ rejection of the government’s long campaign of hate for Israel has been on full display since 2018 when mass demonstrations against the Islamic government first began. These actions on the ground in Iran along with the thousands of messages coming through from the people of Iran through various social media platforms today reveal a hopeful outlook for a renewed friendship and future peaceful ties between Iranians and Israelis.
Words & Actions
Countless video clips uploaded and written messages posted to social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram from Iran for the last six months have shown the people’s protests for freedom revealed their outright rejection of the ruling mullah regime’s four decades of anti-Israel indoctrination. Perhaps the best example of this was from the popular slogan numerous young protestors were chanting in the streets saying; “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, I will only sacrifice my life for Iran.” This slogan revealed that Iranian protestors do not support the calls for Israel’s destruction by the terrorist group of Hamas in Gaza and the terrorist group Hezbollah in southern Lebanon who are both funded by Iran’s Islamic regime.
Moreover, their social media videos have shown Iranian protestors tearing down the regime’s street signs with the names of “Palestine, Gaza” or “Al-Quds” and stomping their feet on these torn down signs. In some cities, blue colored “Palestine Charity Boxes” posted on many street corners by the regime for collecting spare change to “benefit” the Palestinian war against Israel have also been torn down and dumped in trash bins by protestors. As if these actions during the recent protests were not enough to reflect the furious rejection Iranians have for the regime’s anti-Israel propaganda, protestors have also set fire to hundreds of public street banners and posters of the regime’s terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani who had planned various terrorist actions against Israel over the past decades. In essence, the words and actions from average Iranians demonstrate to us that the ayatollahs’ efforts to brainwash and instill an indoctrination of hatred for Israel and Jews into the minds of young Iranians have utterly failed after 40 plus years.
Social Media Messages
With the Islamic regime tightly controlling all official news and other information flowing out of Iran, thousands of Iranians have instead turned to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram and others to express their opinions and concerns. Again, in many of these social media platforms, Iranians have not only rejected the Islamic regime’s calls for Israel’s destruction but instead voiced widespread support for Israel. This has been reflected in the thousands of social media messages from protestors and individuals from Iran, thanking Israelis for supporting their current revolution.
Likewise, when popular Israeli activists like Emily Schraeder and Hananiya Naftali have sent out messages in English language and Persian language on platforms such as Twitter expressing their support for the freedom of the people of Iran, one can find overwhelmingly positive responses from countless individuals within Iran. To them, at the same time, numerous individuals in Iran have also expressed their warm messages of friendship to Persian language posts on social media platforms from the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Defense Forces accounts over the years.
One popular account on Facebook and Twitter from an individual based in Iran representing a group called the “Friendship Council For People of Iran and Israel” (FCPII) has been promoting warm relations between the people of Iran and Israel for many years. The Iranian person managing the FCPII account from Iran obviously does so at great personal risk to his life as he could be easily arrested by the Islamic regime’s thugs if they discovered his identity or location. Despite the high risk to his personal safety, this individual revealed to me that he continues to promote friendship between Iranians and Israelis because of his ultimate desire to see peace and harmony between both nations one day.
Perhaps the most surprising signs on social media of support for Israel from within Iran came in May 2021 during the last major Gaza war with Israel, where thousands of Iranians took to different platforms and expressed solidarity with Israelis. One Twitter account, identified as “Mamadou Archives” and shown to be based in Iran, hosted a live session with more than 25,000 participants – primarily Iranians – that sent out nearly 100,000 tweets during the course of seven hours supporting Israelis. During that war, one reoccurring message from Iranians in Iran in social media was their extreme anger at the Islamic regime for spending their county’s wealth on funding Hamas rockets instead of on coronavirus vaccines.
And while seeing the people of Iran supporting the people of Israel facing terrorist attacks from Hamas rockets may be surprising to some, for many of us Iran watchers, their support is nothing new. In fact, in recent years there have been many videos uploaded to social media platforms showing average Iranians who specifically avoid stepping on the flag of Israel painting outside of office buildings and universities where there is typically a lot of foot traffic. The Israeli flags have been painted by the Iranian regime’s stooges as a move to encourage Iranians to express their hatred for Israelis by stepping on the Israeli flag. Yet many Iranians in these videos do not comply with the regime’s desires and intentionally avoid stepping on the Israeli flags. Again and again, these actions from the people of Iran reveal to us in the West that the vast majority of Iranians harbor no hatred for Israelis, for the State of Israel nor the Jewish people.
Warm Ties Remembered
While a significant percentage of Iran’s population today is under the age of 35 and has no memory of the warm relations between Iran and Israel prior to 1979, they have indeed heard much from their parents, grandparents, and the older generation who still recall happier days. Examples remain in Iran today despite the Islamic regime’s four-decade campaign of promoting hate for Israel. In many of Iran’s major cities, the water and sewage systems were manufactured in Israel and installed by Israeli technicians in the 1960s and 1970s. There are still several military bases which operate the desalinization systems installed by Israeli companies in Iran during the 1970s. While Israel no longer provides spare parts and repair for these systems, Iranian engineers have still managed to produce their own replacement parts to maintain such systems.
Other examples of Israeli support for Iran can be found in a few of the major dams created by Israeli companies in Iran in past decades and the residential apartment buildings Israeli companies built in Iran’s capital of Tehran in the 1970s. Additionally, many older Iranians have not forgotten the life-saving humanitarian aid Israel provided to Iranians during various earthquakes and disastrous floods that ravaged parts of Iran in the 1960s. This contemporary history of friendly ties between Israelis and Iranians is something the current Islamic regime will never be able to erase because of its powerful impact that endures to this day.
While we may not currently know when Iran’s current radical Islamic regime may collapse or may ultimately be dismantled by the people of Iran, we can be confident in knowing that the majority of Iran’s population probably harbor no hatred for Israel or the Jewish people based on their rejection of the Islamic regime’s constant campaign of vile anti-Israel indoctrination. The younger people of Iran, who are the majority of the population, are telling and showing us daily that they prefer to embrace the doctrine of peace, friendship, co-existence and tolerance from their nation’s ancient founder Cyrus the Great. Therefore hope endures that one day soon when this Islamic regime is no more in Iran, a new page will be written about the ancient friendship between the Jewish people and the people of Iran.
Karmel Melamed is an internationally published award-winning Iranian American journalist and attorney based in Southern California.