State-produced and airing on state TV, no less.

[T]he series, titled “Zero Degree Turn,” is clearly sympathetic to the Jews’ plight during World War II. Scenes show men, women and children with yellow stars on their clothes being taken forcibly out of their homes and loaded into trucks by Nazi soldiers.

“Where are they taking them?” the horrified hero, a young Iranian diplomat who works at the Iranian Embassy in Paris, asks someone in a crowd of onlookers.

“The Fascists are taking the Jews to the concentration camps,” the man says. The hero, named Habib Parsa, then begins giving Iranian passports to Jews to allow them to flee occupied France to then-Palestine – a fictionalized version of a true story.

The series could not have aired without being condoned by Iran’s clerical leadership.

What gives? Well, Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust revisionism may get the headlines but his take on the subject has always been of the either/or variety: either the Holocaust didn’t happen, in which case Israel’s raison d’etre as a refuge from persecution is fraudulent, or it did happen, in which case Europeans should atone for their crimes by granting Jews a state in Europe rather than have them confiscate land from the, ahem, “innocent Palestinians.” This miniseries may be the leadership’s way of embracing the second theory, which will earn them some grudging, much-needed goodwill internationally while not doing much to undermine their objections to Israel. The AP story notes that there are eight episodes left. Expect it to veer sharply towards moral equivalence as the Jews saved by Parsa alight in Palestine and then gradually start behaving like the Nazis did earlier in the series, with lots of heavy handed visual parallels to drive the point home. MEMRI will no doubt have clips. In fact, I’m going to e-mail their web guy now to see what he can do.

Update: Reader Niko K. writes below that a Spiegel story on the miniseries sharply contradicts the AP’s account. So sharply, in fact, that I’m wondering now if the AP story is a deliberate whitewash. Writes Niko:

The article has it all wrong, and also the Wall Street Journal article that appeared earlier.

Mohammed Reza Kazemi cleared up the matter in a recent SPIEGEL article (link in German only, sorry). Main points:

* the major point of the series is that it was allegedly the German Jews themselves who collaborated with Hitler to kill those Jews who opposed the re-settlement of Palestine
* for example, a plot line shows that a Jewish researcher is in possession of documents that prove the connection between Hitler and Zionists
* the credits of each episode feature the work of anti-Semite Roger Garaudy as a “historical source”
* “historical adviser” to the series is Holocaust denier Abdollah Shahbazi who openly admits in his blog that he’s a denier
* director and screenwriter Hassan Fatthi alleged to SPIEGEL that according to “historical evidence” a majority of Hitler’s victims were those who opposed the re-settlement of Palestine

Niko on September 16, 2007 at 10:11 PM