A pretty staggering event: a major television series in Iran on the Holocaust, which clearly concedes that it did take place and sympathizes with its victims. Who knew? Yourish wonders:

I can’t quite figure out why the mullahs did this, either. If they’re doing it to prove that Iran is not anti-Semitic, they’ve unwittingly done just about the best thing they could possibly have done to make Jews more sympathetic in Israel. And that seems to be how the series is affecting Iranians.

More background:

That’s surprising enough in a country where hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has questioned whether the Holocaust even took place. What’s even more surprising is that government media produced the series, and is airing it on state-run television.

Even without Ahmadinejad’s past comments, the series would be a surprise. The Holocaust is rarely mentioned in state media in Iran, school textbooks don’t discuss it and Iranians have little information about it.

Yet the series, titled “Zero Degree Turn,” is clearly sympathetic to the Jews’ plight during World War II. Scenes show men, women and children with yellow stars on their clothes being taken forcibly out of their homes and loaded into trucks by Nazi soldiers.

The series could not have aired without being condoned by Iran’s clerical leadership. The state broadcaster is under the control of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomenei, who has final say in all matters inside Iran.

[…] The show’s appearance now may reflect an attempt by Iran’s leadership to moderate its image as anti-Semitic and to underline a distinction that Iranian officials often make that their conflict is with Israel, not with the Jewish people.

What does Michael Ledeen think?

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