Dec 14, 2020, 10:43 AM
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American rabbi: Diplomatic talks, dialogue needed with Iran

New York, Dec 14, IRNA – An American rabbi said most American Jewish people voted for president-elect Joe Biden to show they favor diplomacy and dialogue, not war and sanctions.

Ms. Rabbi Lynn Gootlib who is a member of an inter-religion dialogue group called "Look 10" made the remarks in an exclusive interview with IRNA on Monday.

She denounced unilateral US sanctions against Iran and said that dialogue is a part of people’s diplomacy through which they get informed about one another’ feelings, status and needs so they can also take more constructive steps in promotion of political dialogues by influencing their political leaders.

In the United States we are responsible for expressing our ideas and influencing our political leaders in the framework of the election system, she noted, adding that the approach focusing on dialogue among religions is based on the belief that everyone, with any religion and faith, has rights that need to be respected, and we need to emphasize on this rule by promotion of peace and dialogue also in the diplomatic arena.

The American rabbi said that this idea is also reflected in the verses by the renowned Iranian poet Sa’di’s, as well as the Holy Qur’an and also the Old Testament.

“In my two consecutive visits of Iran in 2007 and 2008, the Iranian Inter-Religion Dialogue Center was my host and at the time I was working on a research on peace and reconciliation," she added.

Iran is a very beautiful country, especially with a beautiful architecture that truly allured me. From the pre-Islamic era architecture in Fars province to the post-Islamic buildings in Isfahan, which are reflected in the pretty tile-works in mosques, they are all quite fascinating and pretty, said Rabbi Gootlib, who meanwhile appreciated the Iranian famous hospitality, despite the unjust American treatment of their   country.

She also talked about her meetings with Jewish Iranians and their synagogues in Tehran and other Iranian cities, adding, “I also had the great honor of speaking to the Jewish society in a major synagogue of Tehran in both of my visits, ate food in their kosher (Jewish word for halal) restaurants, and visited their schools in various Iranian cities.

Gootlib further said that "the Tehran Jewish Cultural Society was my co-host," adding that she has also several times participated in Iranian Jews’ congregational prayer rituals, and that she had been requested to talk briefly for the worshipers, such as a pleasant dialogue she has had with Jews in Shiraz.

“The Iranian Jewish society is an exemption in the Middle East,” she said, adding, “Most of the Jews who lived in Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon have migrated from those countries and the very small Jewish society in Egypt does not feel secure,” she added.

The American rabbi said that the Iranian Jewish society has lived in the country since very ancient times and is a part of the very diverse Iranian mosaic society.

“After my Iran visits, I had several interviews with American media in which I spoke about the Iranian people’s attitude, and particularly the Iranian Jewish society, all of whom emphasized that they did not like foreign intervention in their country and that they can tackle their problems themselves,” said Gootlib.

The American rabbi believes the Iranians, too, favor diplomatic talks and dialogue, like the Americans, “particularly in these hard times of the Corona pandemic, when it is a dire need more than ever before.”

“85% of the American Jews voted for Biden, which shows the majority of us favor giving diplomacy a chance, since sanctions are both unjust and cruel,” she said.

Rabbi Gootlib also criticized the US travel ban for Iranians, and especially the Iranian Jews living in US who wish to visit their relatives in Iran.

She meanwhile expressed support for the oppressed Palestinian people and denounced the Jewish state’s occupation of their lands and destruction of their homes, arguing, “Any criticism against Israel’s severe violation of the human rights in denounced and silences as anti-Semitic”

Lin Gootlib is a member of the Jewish Reformist Movement and was in the year 1981 the first female rabbi in that movement.

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