Each year, on the last friday of Ramadan, groups affiliated to the Iranian government and opponents of the Israeli state are gathering for Quds Day. For them, it is a display of strength of a global movement against the existence of an Israeli state and Zionism - for us, it shall be an incentive to take a closer look at the Iranian opposition to Israel.
The first Quds Day was called for in 1979, when the Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini was cited by the Iranian newspaper Ettelaat with a call to all muslims and all islamic governments to unite against Israel and "hack off the hands" of the "usurpators" and their supporters. Iranian state doctrine is deeply rooted in antisemitic thought, repeated calls to violence against jews are the more harmless expression of this sentiment, though: Iran funds numerous groups throughout the world who engage in violence and terrorism against Israeli citizens and often, jews in general.
On 18 July 2012, a suicide bomber on a bus in Burgas, Romania, killed six people, five of them Israelis - the bus was carrying forty-two Israelis from the airport, where they arrived in a flight from Tel-Aviv, to their hotels. Early on during the investigations, the Lebanese Hezbollah was implied and the method of assault pointed to an Islamist background. By July 25th of 2013, two Hezbollah operatives had been identified as suspects: Malid Farah (also known as Hussein Hussein), and Hassan al-Haj. The Hezbollah was founded by followers of Ayatollah Khomeini and is, to this day, receiving funds by the Iranian government.
Such deadly attacks on unsuspecting tourists should be evidence enough that not a political opposition to jewish settlement policy or the military occupation of Palestinian territories are motivating Iran and its allies, but an antisemitic hatred on the jewish people themselves. It furthermore unmasks the cynical argumentation brought forward by many of their supporters in the west when asked about the missile attacks on Israel, which are indiscriminately raining down on civilian and military targets alike, that the opponents of Israel merely don't have the money and technology to target the military and government more precisely. The truth is that any jew is regarded as viable target.
If, however, more proof is needed that Iran, Hezbollah and similiar groups are not fighting for the Palestinian people, but for their own ideological goals, that Palestine is a mere front to stage a war against the existence of a jewish state (and the presence of jews on "muslim land" in general) we can take a short look to Syria: last month, Palestinian sources reported of a massacre conducted upon Palestinians by the Syrian army, who reportedly attacked the Al Yarmouk district of Damascus, an area of the city comprised predominantly of Palestinian refugees. Syria is a close ally of Iran and the government forces have been backed up by Hezbollah fighters, whose military wing is said to be stronger than the Lebanese army. Apparently, the lifes of Palestinian refugees count only as a bargaining chip against Israel.
The strength of Irans attacks upon Israel, not just verbally, but even by direct support for acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens worldwide, is not strictly rational. Iran has no border with Israel. Israel is not threatening Irans existence or its citizens, it is not occupying Iranian territories or competing with Iran for ressources or regional influence. In fact, Israel and jews in general tend to appear in only one form in official Iranian ideology: as the great evil. Jews are given the role of powerful manipulators and evil shadow government of the western states, much in the way western antisemites have done it before. This is, of course, a projection and attributing all the damage of capitalism to a jewish conspiracy is a popular ideological explanation precisely because it is so simple - in a world where not even those involved with the financial market understand it anymore.
"If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli." - Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah Leader
Iranian state doctrine was, from the beginning, deeply antisemitic because it allowed them to tie older, religiously motivated prejudices, with giving an answer to the question "who is to blame" for all the hardships of modernity, of capitalism and imperialism. Antisemitism was furthermore popular, because it tied so neatly into the national rebirthing mythology the Iranian clericals had developed: they sought to unite the muslim people in a reborn Caliphate, invoking a mystified past not unlike Fascists in Europe had done before. Israel and the jews gave them a common enemy, someone who, in the ideological worldview of the Mullahs, threatened all muslims alike.
Thusfar, it didn't work out so well. Common opposition to Israel failed to bridge the gap between Sunni and Shia Islam. In 2010, a suicide bomber from the Sunni Taliban attacked a Quds Day rally, killing at least 65 people. Meanwhile, domestic support for the Iranian governments anti-Israeli policies waned. A year earlier, in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 elections, protestors used the Quds Day to stage anti-government protests. Amongst the slogans used was "No to Gaza and Lebanon, I will give my life for Iran.” Especially the younger generations are turning out to the Quds Day rallies in ever decreasing numbers, with a growing sentiment that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not related to Iran.
Still, this year again, thousands will protest against the existence of an Israeli nation in neatly gender-seperated protest marches. Amongst them in the west, again, will be a self-proclaimed political left, who believes the Iran a viable partner for the sole reason that they, too, are blaming Israel for all the hardships of the middle east. From the Venezuelan government, who is claiming to build a "Socialism of the 21st century" and deems Iran a strategic ally against the US, to anarchist fringe groups in Europe and the US, who simply don't know better because, really, they don't care much about Arabian politics and just seek allies against their own governments.
Either of them would be well advised to stay away from association with the Quds Day, because all it stands for is a renewed attempt at exterminating jewish existence.
*The title is a direct quote from Hassan Nasrallah, current leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah.