This from Israel Today:
In a couple of months, Israelis and Jews around the world will celebrate Purim, marking the deliverance of the Jews of the Persian Empire from extinction 2,300 years ago. In Iran, the center of the ancient Persian Empire, the date will be marked with mourning and anger.
For years already, Iran has been teaching schoolchildren that Purim marks the massacre of 75,000 Persians by the Jews under the command of Queen Esther. It is presented today as an ancient Iranian holocaust perpetrated by the Jews.
The Iranian version leaves out the part where Haman, the royal advisor, convinces the Persian king to sign a decree permitting the wholesale slaughter the Jews of the empire. When Esther reveals her Jewish background to the king and reveals that Haman was tricking him, the king issues a second decree, allowing the Jews to defend themselves. By God’s grace, the Jews are largely spared, while their enemies are slaughtered.
A couple of weeks ago a group of about 250 student-members of the Basij militia gathered in front of the tomb of Esther and Mordechai and threatened to destroy it in retaliation for the alleged ongoing destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Israelis.
This from JTA
Iranian authorities have now downgraded the status of the site known as the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai the Jews and the the Iranian news agency – Fars - has begun pushing the idea that Esther and her uncle Mordechai were responsible for a massacre of Iranians.
The reports, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center citing Fars, also call the tomb an arm of Israeli imperialism that impugns Iranian sovereignty; report that its name must be wiped away in order to teach Iranian children to “beware of the crimes of the Jews”; call for the shrine’s return to the Iranian people; and say that the site must become “a Holocaust memorial” to the “Iranian victims of Esther and Mordechai” and be placed under the supervision of the state religious endowments authority.
In a letter to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Director-General Irina Bokova, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, urged UNESCO to “call upon the Iranian authorities to take appropriate measures to terminate this campaign of racism and desecration.”
“It is perhaps time for UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee to establish instruments for the universal protection of holy sites,” Samuels concluded.
While we cannot know whether the Iranians will follow through on this threat and actually tear down the tomb or transform it into a center of anti-Jewish hate, it does provide yet another insight into the virulent nature of the attitudes of those in power there. Not satisfied with whipping up hatred against the State of Israel and the tiny, cowed remnant community that still lives there, the Iranians are now striking out against biblical Jews. The vicious nature of this regime is rooted in a view of Islam that apologists for Tehran have consistently sought to ignore. While the blow against Esther and Mordechai may be purely symbolic, it must be placed in the context of a long-running campaign of incitement against Jews and Israel that makes the possible acquisition of nuclear arms by this country even more alarming.
The Iranian war on Purim makes it even more imperative that they never be allowed to gain the power to do what the ayatollah’s ancient hero Haman attempted: the physical elimination of a Jewish population. Anyone who thinks that we can live with a nuclear Iran needs to consider the madness of allowing a government that thinks the Purim story should be reversed the power to do just that.