Saturday, May 20, 2006

Yellow Stars for Iranian Jews Story Is False

Juan Cole writes that the story about Iran's parliament passing a law requiring Iran's Jews to wear a yellow badge is "a steaming crock":

Maurice Motamed, the representative of the Iranian Jewish community in Iran's parliament, has strongly denied the rumors started by Canada's National Post that the Iranian legislature has passed a law requiring members of religious communities to wear identifying badges.

The report was also denied on Montreal radio by Meir Javedanfar, Middle East Analyst and the Director for the Middle East Economic and Political Analysis Company.

The National Post was founded by Conrad Black and has been owned by CanWest since 2003,* is not a repository of expertise about Iran. It is typical of black psychological operations campaigns that they begin with a plant in an out of the way* newspaper that is then picked up by the mainstream press. Once the Jerusalem Post picks it up, then reporters can source it there, even though the Post has done no original reporting and has just depended on the National Post article, which is extremely vague in its own sourcing (to "human rights groups").

The actual legislation passed by the Iranian parliament regulates women's fashion, and urges the establishment of a national fashion house that would make Islamically appropriate clothing. There is a vogue for "Islamic chic" among many middle class Iranian women that involves, for instance, wearing expensive boots that cover the legs and so, it is argued, are permitted under Iranian law. The scruffy, puritanical Ahmadinejad and his backers among the hardliners in parliament are waging a new and probably doomed struggle against the young Iranian fashionistas. (The Khomeinists give the phrase "fashion police" a whole new meaning).

There is nothing in this legislation that prescribes a dress code or badges for Iranian religious minorities, and Maurice Motamed was present during its drafting and says nothing like that was even discussed.

Confederate Yankee has posted an update with the information that the initial National Post article was untrue. The original NP article has been removed from the paper's website.

Taylor Marsh thinks that the Bush war-with-Iran propaganda machine has begun.

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