Iranian Jews in LA Pledge Allegiance to Israel Amid Gaza War

Iranian Jews in Los Angeles, who fled Iran during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, are participating in counterprotests on university campuses in support of Israel. They are navigating a complex dynamic between their cultural ties to Iran and religious allegiance to Israel amid escalating Middle East tensions.

author-image
Nitish Verma
New Update
Iranian Jews in LA Pledge Allegiance to Israel Amid Gaza War

Iranian Jews in LA Pledge Allegiance to Israel Amid Gaza War

Iranian Jews in Los Angeles, also known as Tehrangeles, have emerged as vocal defenders of Israel at university protests amid the ongoing Gaza war. Many of these Persian Jews, who fled Iran during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, have a deep cultural and religious connection to Judaism that dates back nearly 3,000 years.

The Iranian Jewish community in Los Angeles, the largest outside of Iran, has been participating in counterprotests on campuses such as UCLA and the University of Southern California in response to pro-Palestinian protests. "I obviously have to support them... We are Iranian, but we're also Zionist," many, say Charlene, who asked that her last name not be used, as she flew in from New York to observe Passover with her extended family and participate in a counterprotest at UCLA.

Why this matters: The public stance of Iranian Jews in Los Angeles highlights the complexities of identity and allegiance in the face of geopolitical tensions, with potential implications for international relations and community dynamics. As the conflict between Iran and Israel escalates, the voices of Iranian Jews in the diaspora may play a significant role in shaping public opinion and influencing policy decisions.

The article highlights the story of Abby Yosian, whose family fled Iran during the Islamic Revolution and settled in Los Angeles after initially seeking refuge in Israel. "Still to this day, my grandmother talks about Iran as the most beautiful country in the world," Yosian said. "Religion is at the core of who we are."

David Javidzad, a Los Angeles resident, described his childhood as more Jewish than Persian and said his family injects a touch of Persian culture into their Passover celebrations. "Right now, no community has more nuanced views about something than the Persian Jewish community," Javidzad said. "We love being Persian. We love Iran. We aren't Israelis, but we love that Israel exists."

The ongoing shadow war between Iran and Israel has escalated in recent months, including an Israeli bombing of an Iranian consular building in Damascus and an Iranian drone and missile strike against Israel. Many Iranian Jews living outside of Iran have experienced a kind of cultural dissonance during the recent Gaza war.

The Iranian Jewish community in Los Angeles, with its strong cultural and religious ties to both Iran and Israel, finds itself navigating a complex dynamic amid the escalating tensions in the Middle East. As they pledge their allegiance to Israel while still cherishing their Persian heritage, these Iranian Jews are making their voices heard through protests and counterprotests on university campuses across the city.

Key Takeaways

  • Iranian Jews in Los Angeles (Tehrangels) defend Israel at university protests amid Gaza war.
  • Persian Jews, who fled Iran in 1979, have a deep cultural and religious connection to Judaism.
  • They participate in counterprotests on campuses, pledging allegiance to Israel while cherishing Persian heritage.
  • Their voices may shape public opinion and influence policy decisions amid Iran-Israel tensions.
  • The community navigates complex identity dynamics, loving both Iran and Israel's existence.