Home of Lisa's Top Ten, the daily email that brings you the world.
The first task of the day

Sign Up for Lisa's Top Ten


Controversy Over White House Persian New Year Statement Mentioning War in Gaza


Controversy ensued Tuesday after the Biden administration conflated the Iranian Persian New Year (Nowruz) with the ongoing war between Israel and the Islamic Republic of Iran-backed Sunni terrorist organization Hamas. The White House started its Nowruz statement by describing how Nowruz has become a vibrant expression of American culture, reflecting the essence of the United States' identity and serving as a reminder for an optimistic future.

While the White House stated that it would "continue to stand with the courageous women of Iran, who are fighting for their freedoms" and work with allies to "hold Iranian officials to account for denying fundamental human rights," it then addressed the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

"The war in Gaza has also inflicted terrible suffering on the Palestinian people, and we will continue to lead international efforts to get more humanitarian assistance to them—including urgently needed food, water, medicine, and shelter," the statement read.

In reaction to the White House's statement, prominent Iranian Americans like Bobby Afrooz, an Iranian American activist and dentist, and others took to social media to sound off on the administration's decision to conflate the Iranian holiday and the Israeli operation in Gaza together.

"To see [Biden] mixing a 3000-year-old Persian tradition with another country totally unrelated to Iran was done in very poor taste," Afrooz told The Foreign Desk. "The question is, why would he do that? The answer is not hard to find; Totalitarian Regimes try to paint a democratic image for the rest of the world. The Islamic Regime in Iran is no different. They try to paint an anti-American, anti-Israel image of the people of Iran," he added.

Speaking to The Foreign Desk, Michael Rubin, a senior fellow at The American Enterprise Institute (AEI), who specializes in Iran, Turkey, and the broader Middle East, said that the decision to include the Israel-Hamas war in the White House Nowruz statement was "dumb."

"Incorporating the Middle East conflict with a Nowruz statement not only distracts from the meaning of the festivities, but it also plays into rejectionist and anti-Semitic propaganda that makes Israel the center of everything. Indeed, if this statement is a barometer of anything, it is how far progressives have infiltrated the professional national security apparatus to infuse their own obsessions and agendas into it," Rubin said.

"My heart goes out to those who suffer as a result of terror, but can the White House explain why they won't give a shout-out to the Uyghurs suffering under Chinese Communist Party control? Is that because Jake Sullivan or Tony Blinken hopes to get Chinese accounts once they go back to consulting?” he asked.

"It is sad and shameful that the Biden Whitehouse has injected comments about the Israel-Hamas war in its annual statement about the Iranian New Year, which has absolutely nothing to do with Arabs, Palestinians, or Gaza," said Karmel Melamed, an award-winning and internationally published journalist based in Southern California.

"The holiday of Nowruz is an ancient secular Persian festival that promotes friendship, co-existence, and peace among all of humanity--all important values that have no meaning for the Hamas terrorists. Moreover, what's truly disappointing in their Nowruz statement is their utter failure to acknowledge or denounce the more than 800 executions of innocent Iranians the Islamic regime in Iran has carried out in the last year, or the countless political prisoners the regime in Iran has imprisoned, raped and tortured for opposing their totalitarian rule," he added.

Afrooz told The Foreign Desk that there have been "numerous footages of Iranian citizens in the streets chanting '"Not Gaza, not Lebanon, I give my life only for Iran.'"

"There is also footage of Iranian citizens changing directions so they wouldn't walk on American or Israeli flags like the authorities wanted them to,” he said.

He also referenced a video posted on X that showed young Iranian soccer players in Tehran chanting in Farsi, "Put the Palestinian flag up your keister," when Palestinian flags were displayed inside a soccer stadium. "Bottom line, Iranian people don't care about Gaza," Afrooz said.

According to Melamed, the Iranian American community is "disgusted at how the Biden administration has, for the last three years, continued to enrich and keep alive the murderous Ayatollah regime in Iran with continuous sanctions relief and failed to stop their sale of oil internationally, despite the regime's funding of thugs who kill innocents in Iran, who have killed three American service members in the region and the regime's funding of terrorist proxy wars that have plunged the entire Middle East into perpetual war."

Related Posts