Iranian defector: ‘Netanyahu has made Israel popular in Iran’

“Every time there is a story [on Instagram] about Israel, a vast majority of comments are in praise of Netanyahu and Israel,” Shay Khatiri writes in The Jerusalem Post.

By World Israel News Staff 

An Iranian national who is seeking asylum in the United States – Shay Khatiri – is also touting the exploits of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

His support is not limited to Israel; it also extends to the U.S. Jewish community, though he says that he is not Jewish.

Khatiri organized a fundraiser on after the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh which was carried in October 2018.

“An anti-Semite attacked and killed several attendees to Shabbat services at a Pittsburgh synagogue,” wrote Khatiri. “This fundraiser is meant to help the congregation with the physical damages to the building, as well as the survivors and the victims’ families. Respond to this hateful act with your act of love today,” he added.

In May 2019, Khariti started another campaign for himself to “intern again and visit Israel.”

“My family is in Iran and cannot support me. I’m here [in the U.S.] all on my own, and Iran has kind of blacklisted me, so it’s not the BEST idea to go back, you know? The whole they kill people thing!”

Stating his gratitude to the U.S., Khariti writes that he is  “a Strategic Studies student at Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, which is kind of a big deal — really, it’s the best international studies program in the world.”

He adds that he “always wanted to visit Israel, because my best friend lives there, and I haven’t seen him in five years, but I’ve never had the money.”

Now, Khatiri has taken to Israeli media to relay a message: “One of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s greatest foreign policy legacies remains unseen to most Israelis and the world: He has made Israel popular in Iran!”

Writing in The Jerusalem Post, the Iranian defector states that “it all started with Netanyahu’s video campaign on social media, which coincided with the Islamic Republic’s rapid deterioration of popularity.”

Khatiri says that the greatness of the Israeli prime minister’s approach was that he “directly spoke with the Iranian people with Farsi subtitles” and that “in these videos, Netanyahu emphasized his desire to live in peace and cooperation with the Iranian people. He spoke of Iran’s rich and great history. In one video, he outlined Iran’s water challenges, and he declared that he will start sending information to Iranians on social media about how best to overcome these challenges with minimal means.”

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He says, however, that “the most important point that Netanyahu had was that the regime in Iran is the greatest obstacle to the progress of the Iranian people by highlighting how successful Iranians are everywhere else, but not in Iran. This campaign resonated with many Iranians.”

The article, which appeared in The Jerusalem Post on Monday, includes Khatiri’s assertion that “Iranians use Instagram more than any other social medium, and that’s where they get most of their news. Every time there is a story about Israel, a vast majority of comments are in praise of Netanyahu and Israel.”

“They see an ally in Israel. The enemy of their enemy is a friend,” he writes in the Israeli daily.

“During the recent protests, some on social media complained that every time that there has been a protest, the United States has stood idle; it is clear that the United States is not a reliable ally against the regime, but Israel is,” Khatiri asserts.