‘The Zionist Regime Will Fleece Them’: US Religious Freedom Commission Condemns Iranian ‘Blood Libel’ Cartoon
The Biden Administration’s special envoy to Iran is being urged to raise the Tehran regime’s antisemitic incitement at talks in Qatar aimed at salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, the US and five other world powers.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) — a federal government entity — called on US Envoy Rob Malley to challenge his Iranian interlocutors over a coarsely antisemitic cartoon published on the website of the regime’s “Supreme Leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last Friday.
The image shows a man’s arm connected to a series of intravenous tubes that carry blood from a bowl shaped in the Star of David. Worms are depicted swimming in the blood while the man’s arm is wrapped in a keffiyeh, a traditional Palestinian scarf.
Addressing Malley, USCIRF Commissioner Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum urged the envoy to “raise Iran’s systematic antisemitism directly with Iran’s negotiators in Doha this week.”
Kleinbaum condemned the image as a “grotesque antisemitic cartoon depicting the blood libel” — the ancient false accusation that Jews use the blood of non-Jews in their religious rituals as well as acting like “leeches” in economic and business matters.
A quotation from Khamenei alongside the offending image condemned the Arab governments that have signed peace deals with Israel during the last three years. “The Zionist regime will leech off of them,” the quote stated. “It will exploit them, but they are not conscious of this.” The title of the image is given as “The Zionist regime will fleece them.”
Khamenei’s personal website, as well as his Twitter feed, regularly promote antisemitic tropes and images. One article on prominent display reminds readers that the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, called on supporters of the Palestinians “not to be afraid of the fictitious power of those that defend Zionism,” encouraging them to send “material and spiritual aid by Muslim nations such as blood, medicine, food, etc. to the battlefields.”