In his column today, an obviously defensive Roger Cohen caricatures my criticism of his previous column, the one in which he argued that Iran's remaining Jews are doing just fine, thank you very much, and the way you can tell this is that non-Jewish Iranians are generally pleasant to Jews they meet on the street, particularly those who denounce Israel as "criminal." This is what he wrote:
Perhaps I have a bias toward facts over words, but I say the reality of Iranian civility toward Jews tells us more about Iran -- its sophistication and culture -- than all the inflammatory rhetoric. That may be because I'm a Jew and have seldom been treated with such consistent warmth as in Iran.
In my post on that column, I wrote that:
Warmth, civility, hospitality and friendliness are the hallmarks of most Muslim societies I've visited. I have been in many places -- in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Gaza, Iraq and Iran -- where people absolutely hate Israel, absolutely hate "International Jewry," and hate the Talmud, or what they think is in the Talmud. But people in these places have been almost uniformly kind to me as a visiting Jewish reporter (and they almost always know, right from the outset, that I'm Jewish, because it's not something I ever hide).
Cohen obviously refuses to grapple with my point: That the personal doesn't necessarily correspond to the political. The Iranian government supports terrorists who kill Jews, in Israel and in other countries as well (the Argentina massacre, for instance). The Iranian people are very kind and hospitable to Jews on a personal level. These two things are true. Cohen seems to think that the latter observation negates the first observation.
Cohen states self-righteously that he has a bias for facts over words. Here are some facts.