Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attacked the Israel-UAE agreement on Wednesday, and called Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser – as well as pro-Israel Americans – “filthy Zionist agents.” Khamenei referred to him as “the Jewish member of Trump’s family,” in a series of tweets that were condemned as reactionary and antisemitic.
Khamenei’s use of the word “filthy” and his singling out of “Jewish” members of the Trump administration, as well as calling them “cruel”, were all words used on his English language Twitter channel.
The nation of Palestine is under various, severe pressures. Then, the UAE acts in agreement with the Israelis & filthy Zionist agents of the U.S. —such as the Jewish member of Trump’s family— with utmost cruelty against the interests of the World of Islam.#UAEStabsMuslims
— Khamenei.ir 🏴 (@khamenei_ir) September 1, 2020
Blue and White MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh slammed the tweets, asking Twitter if “singling out a Jew and referring to Jews as ‘filthy’ violate your hate-speech policy.”
US Assistant Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism Ellie Cohanim tweeted that it was time for the social media giant to permanently remove the “vile anti-Semite” from Twitter. Emily Schrader, founder of Social Creative, also slammed the tweet for being antisemitic.
The Iranian leader has long spread hatred for Israel using his official Twitter account, as well as during speeches and sermons. The official regime narrative presents Iran as not being antisemitic, pointing to the relatively large Jewish community in the country as evidence of the lack of antisemitism. It argues that in contrast to the Arab nationalist regimes of the 1950s, Tehran has had a more progressive policy.
However, the tweets in English using words like “filthy” and “cruel” appear to have been written by someone who has knowledge of traditional Western antisemitism.
Accusations that Jews are “cruel” or “filthy” are part of Western antisemitic tradition, appearing prominently throughout the Middle Ages. The Iranian leader did not tweet the same words in Farsi or on any of his other accounts, implying that a careful study was made by his media team to use the right words in order to push antisemitism through terms that have been used by Nazis and other regimes in the West.