Monday, October 5, 2009

The Guardian Debunks Daily Telegraph On Ahamdinejad's "Jewish Roots"

A reader (thanks to H.G.) has alerted me to an article in The Guardian by Meir Javedanfar (left), Iranian-Israeli Middle East analyst, that debunks the London Daily Telegraph's story that I excerpted yesterday on Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's supposed Jewish roots. Javedanfar cites two scholarly sources:

"...the name Sabourjian is not a well-known Jewish name," stated [Professor David] Yeroshalmi, a scholar at Tel Aviv University's Center for Iranian Studies, [who] also went on to dispute the article's findings that the "-jian" ending to the name specifically showed the family had been practising Jews. "This ending is in no way sufficient to judge whether someone has a Jewish background. Many Muslim surnames have the same ending," he stated.

Upon closer inspection, a completely different interpretation of "Sabourjian" emerges. According to Robert Tait, a Guardian correspondent who travelled to Ahmadinejad's native village in 2005, the name "derives from thread painter – sabor in Farsi – a once common and humble occupation in the carpet industry in Semnan province, where Aradan is situated." This is confirmed by Kasra Naji, who also wrote a biography of Ahmadinejad and met his family in his native village. Carpet weaving or colouring carpet threads are not professions associated with Jews in Iran.

...According to both Naji and Tait...The reason that Ahmadinejad's father changed his surname has more to do with the class struggle in Iran. When it became mandatory to adopt surnames, many people from rural areas chose names that represented their professions or that of their ancestors. This made them easily identifiable as townfolk. In many cases they changed their surnames upon moving to Tehran, in order to avoid snobbery and discrimination from residents of the capital.

Regardless of Ahmadinejad's religious background, blogger Mehdi Khazali was arrested just for raising the issue. That one fact says a great deal about the nature of the Iranian president's rule.


Eric Pearson said...

Many Democrats already know their elected representatives within the Democratic Party have clearly set their own agendas over the members of the Democratic Party, our Nation, and the American people. Overall, many of them no longer think of themselves as being our elected representatives, and now refer to themselves as leaders in the true form of tyrants.

Most Democrats already know their pleas to their elected representatives within the Democratic Party are only being answered by repeated insult and injury. Despite this, we as Democrats can restore control of the Democratic Party back to the party members. All we need to do is cut off donations to the local, state, and national headquarters of the Democratic Party, and to make sure the donations are made directly to worthy and honorable Democratic Party candidates.

Web site:

Jeff Tone said...

Eric: I guess you're not focused on the article at hand, which is OK. But I wonder exactly which Democrats to which you refer. The Blue Dogs, who have held up health care reform?

Be careful about a wholesale cut off of donations to "local, state and national headquarters." Traditionally, presidents lose party members in the mid-term elections. While I'm critical of some Democrats, I'd hate to see too many Republican victories in the House and Senate in 2010.