But if financial enticements fail to move Iranian Jews, there is every reason to fear that Israel may resort to other, more dubious ways of encouraging them to emigrate. That is certainly a path Israel has chosen before with other communities of Arab Jews, whom it has regarded either as a pool of potential spies and agents provocateurs to be used when needed, or as "human dust", in the words of Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, to be recruited to Israel's "demographic battle" against the Palestinians.There's a little loyalty test here for zionists. They make great play of the fact that they support Israel because lots of Jews might be in danger there. That's when they're not saying how safe Israel is when compared to the diaspora. I wonder how loyal these hasbara parrots will be to the Jews of Iran if it does turn out that Israel has wilfully undermined their safety and security in their Iranian homeland in order that they may become cannon fodder in Israel's race war against the natives of Palestine or a tool in the no less racist propaganda war against the wider Muslim world.
In "Operation Susannah" of 1954, for example, Israel recklessly recruited a group of Egyptian Jews to stage a series of explosions in Egypt in a bid to discourage Britain from withdrawing from the Suez Canal zone. When the plot came to light, it naturally cast suspicion of disloyalty over Egypt's wider Jewish community. Following Israel's invasion and occupation of Sinai two years later, the government of President Gamal Abdel-Nasser expelled some 25,000 Egyptian Jews and, after others were imprisoned on suspicion of spying, the rest soon left.
Even more notoriously, Israel went to greater lengths to ensure the exit of the Arab world's largest Jewish population, in Iraq. In 1950 a series of bombs targeting Jews in Baghdad forced a rapid exodus of some 130,000 to Israel, convinced that Arab extremists were behind the attacks. Only later did it emerge that the bombs had been planted by members of the Zionist underground, supported by the Israeli government.
Now, Iran's Jews may find themselves treated in much the same manner -- simply as human fodder. Stories are growing of Israel exploiting the free movement between Iran and Israel enjoyed by Iranian Jews and their Israeli relatives to carry out spying operations on Iran's nuclear programme. Such reports have come from reliable sources such as the American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, citing US government officials.
The fallout from such actions is not difficult to predict. Besieged by the US and the international community, Tehran is cracking down on dissent and minority groups, fearful that its own grip on power is shaky and that the well-publicised subversion being carried out by US and Israeli agents is likely only to be stepped up. So far most officials in Tehran have been careful to avoid suggesting that Iran's Jews have dual loyalties, as has the local Jewish community itself, both of them aware of Israel's interests in provoking such a confrontation. But as the strains increase, and Israel's need to prove Tehran's genocidal intent grows ever stronger, that policy may end up being forfeited, and with it the future of Iran's Jews.
More important than the welfare of Iranian Jewish families, it seems, is the value of Iranian Jews as a propaganda tool in Israel's battle to persuade the world that coexistence with the Muslim world is impossible. For those who want to engineer a clash of civilisations, the 3,000- year-old Jewish legacy in Iran is not something to be treasured, but is merely an obstacle to war.
Of course, Israel couldn't pull off these stunts if it wasn't for the reactionary witlessness and cruelty of some of the Arab and Muslim rulers.