So now that it appears the Iranians are not on the verge of rquiring Jews to wear little yellow badges, there’s a collective sigh out there to the effect of “shweeooo, they may not be fascists after all.” Or, to be more accurate, “they aren’t that fascistic.” After all, they just want to tighten up the dress code for the entire country.
I try to keep my powder dry on the fascism stuff until my book’s out. But it’s worth pointing out the fundamental wrongheadedness of this. Fascism — as opposed to its German variant Nazism — is not primarily, fundamentally or at least necessarily about bigotry, toward Jews or anybody else. It is about collectivism, in one form or another. It is about imposing — with both the carrot of socialism and the stick of the police state – uniformity on the entire body politic, to get all the oars pulling at the same time, in the same direction. The fact that the Iranian regime wants to enforce a national dress code which is “authentically” Iranian says more about their fascistic impulses than the regime’s anti-Semitism. Not only does anti-Semitism predate fascism by a lot of centuries, but anti-Semitism is not unique to fascism nor is it always present in fascist movements. What is always present is the desire to enforce conformity and uniformity on the masses. So breathe your sigh of relief if your concern is the maltreatment of Jews in Iran (though a small sigh it must be). But if your concern was that Iran might be fascistic, then the debunking of the yellow star story should not allay your fears at all.