Combating the Double Erasure: Can a Jew (Kalimi) be an Iranian in the Islamic Republic?

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Since the 1979 revolution, Iranian Jews have faced two powerful and inherently contradictory calls to compromise their voice and identity. From one side, Israel has consistently held the opinion that as an at-risk community they should be evacuated and resettled. On the other, Iran's revolutionary regime has made Islamic a centerpiece of Iranian identity, placing Jewish identity directly at odds with what it means to be an Iranian. For decades, foreign opposition groups have spread baseless and unsubstantiated claims suggesting that Iranian Jews are to be placed in concentration camps or forced to wear yellow stars. At the same time, Iran's top politicians repeatedly peddle anti-Semitic innuendo and promote Holocaust denial conspiracies. Yet such narratives miss the central fact rarely acknowledged in Israel or Western academic and public spheres: Iranian Jews have continued to maintain ownership of their story and narrative as both Iranian and Jewish. This article seeks to analyze the navigation of Iranian Jews between their struggle as a religious minority in the Islamic Republic and maintenance of their autonomous voice as represented outside Iran.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-320
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Middle East Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 23 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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