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How Do You Say Hate in Persian? By: Hilary Krieger
Jerusalem Post | Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Though the new Iranian TV program Zahra's Blue Eyes does feature plenty of gory operations and heart-wrenching moments, it's no ER.

Also titled For You, Palestine, the dramatic series "reveals" how Israeli doctors are harvesting organs from Palestinian children and focuses on the campaign of fictional prime-ministerial candidate Yitzhak Cohen, who is particularly interested in seizing young Zahra's arresting eyes.

To this end, Israelis pose as United Nations employees who come to a Palestinian school and check children in order to "prevent the spreading of an eye disease" but really want to inspect the class for students with the best eyes. In the end, Zahra is left blind by the Israeli doctors.

Along the way, the text manages to incorporate a speech by Cohen declaring: "We are the best of the races in the world. Our land should extend from the Euphrates to the Nile." In another scene, an adult explains to the children that the land they see from their school bus is "the land of Palestine, our land... but the Zionists took it by force."

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has translated the clips from the first two episodes, which aired on Sahar-1 TV on December 13 and 20, and posted them on its Web site. MEMRI staff didn't know how long the series, which was produced in Farsi and dubbed into Arabic, would continue.

"The major film companies are under the Zionists' influence," said writer-director and former education ministry employee Ali Derakhshni in an interview about his program also translated by MEMRI. "Fortunately, the Iranian Islamic Republic and our Islamic regime have made many films and series like Zahra's Blue Eyes, which is a film about children."

Critics of the series agree that there have been plenty of productions like this one to come from Iran, but describe the series in less positive terms.

"This is an example of the classical anti-Semitism that we are now seeing in the Middle East. Considering that Iran's official policy is to wipe Israel off the face of the map, we are not surprised at this kind of incitement of its population," Anti-Defamation League national director Abe Foxman, currently on a visit to Israel, told The Jerusalem Post.

He added that there are "definite parallels" between the program's content and the Nazis' proclivity for conducting medical experiments on Jews.

Menashe Amir, an Israeli expert on Iran who is of Persian origin, said that the rate of anti-Semitic propaganda coming out of Iran has been steadily growing.

"The Iran of today is imitating the Arab world of 20 or 30 years ago, which was imitating Hitler in World War II in using propaganda and mass media in encouraging hatred against Jews," he said.

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