Andrea Mitchell
You Gotta Love the Chutzpah
Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:59

Tuesday January 10, 1:26 PM
US Jews ask exiled Iranian media to carry Holocaust message

US Jewish leaders are appealing to exiled Iranian media groups to tell their countrymen in Iran about the World War II Holocaust that Iran's president last month dismissed as a "myth," officials said.

"We want to go over the heads of the mullahs and over the head of this president and give them the one thing that their leaders will not -- the truth," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The group, which also runs the Museum of Tolerance that keeps the memory of genocide alive, said the center's appeal to Los Angeles-based Iranian television and radio stations could help spread the message in Iran.

The exiled media, largely opposed to the Iranian government, are "a kind of human bridge between our communities to be able to communicate directly to the Iranian population, 70 percent of which is under 30 years old," said Cooper.

The Museum of Tolerance on Sunday offered a tour of its Holocaust section to about 25 journalists from Farsi-language radio and newspapers and satellite television networks that beam programs back into Iran from Los Angeles.

The drive by the Jewish group came after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last month that the massacre of Jews by Nazis during World War II was a "myth," and that the Jewish state should be moved as far away as Alaska.

George Haroonian, an Iranian-Jewish community leader, said the bid to woo Iranian broadcasters was important, "particularly for the young people of Iran, who have had much less contact and experience with Jews."

Haroonian said the Los Angeles-based Pars satellite television network on Sunday carried reports about the Holocaust as well as excerpts from the Academy Award-winning 1981 documentary "Genocide."

More than 500,000 Iranian-Americans live in Los Angeles, a city known locally as "Terhangeles" because of the large number of Persians based here, many of whom came after the last shah of Iran fell from power in 1979.

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