I whole-heartedly agree with the views of “Understanding outrage”, but disagree with this statement: “Iranians have a great degree of animosity towards Israel for a variety of reasons.”
If one judged based on the letters to Iranian.com then let's consider this: there is no statistical validity to such extrapolation; these are at best heavily biased opinions of some seemingly nicknames (e.g., Jonnie Black, NN, Corr Chris, etc.; I apologize if they are real names). They more resemble the worst part of the Western or Arab prejudices, not Iranian.
Iranian.com, according to its editor, has 100,000 visitors who are 1) almost all living in West, 2) have access to computer and the internet, 3) are educated enough to know how to use the internet and to write in excellent English, and 4) some of them have enough incentive to write to the website so enthusiastically. Still there are only a handful of letters of that type. How accurately could they be representing the real country of Iran?
This is not the real world statistical method. This reminds me of a researcher who handed questionnaires to church goers in his upper class neighborhood to estimate the health habits of all American elderly! He forgot that this group could not represent the whole population but a small percentage of the elite. Such a statement would be as valid as measuring the cholesterol level of our people in Beverly Hills and extrapolating the results to an old woman living in the Central Alborz suffering from malnutrition!
I too am a Persian nationalist from a highly religious background, and still I have never in my life had any hostility towards Jewish people or Israel — neither in Tehran nor here in the U.S. What can I do?! I was never taught to feel that way. We learned in childhood that all divine religions (and I can add to that “all beliefs”) should be equally respected.
Now, you may argue about the current situation in the Middle East and I may agree with you on some aspects of the problem, as some Israelis or else may do so too. But this won't bring about hostility. The reason we don't have such hostility is that there is no real basis for it in our country.
There is a fundamental difference between us and Arabs in regards to Israel. Why do you think we are the only Middle Eastern country with its Jewish population still staying there? Even those who leave feel good about their country, Iran. No matter how much those angry writers try to prove themselves right and go to manbar and start a rozeh, THERE WILL BE NO HOSTILITY because THERE IS NO REAL BASIS FOR IT.
It takes a long history of fighting and killings to generate such animosity, and a lot of real conflict of interest and actual wars to induce such a destructive sense as hostility (which in technical terminology is one step higher as the ultimate animosity). We don't and will not meet those requirements, GOT IT?
Having said that, you may sympathize with anyone you want (and by the way, don't forget Chechens, Timorians, Tootsies, and why go long way, just our Iraqi Shiite neighbors who are getting killed every day). However, basing foreign policy strategy on such emotional grounds makes as much sense as spending our country's limited resources and international reputation (already gone) based on opposition to, let's say, the CIA coup against Allende in Chile!
Now go ahead and come up with your khozaabalati (sorry, “sophisticated geopolitical theories”) such as uniting with Pakistan to fight Israel! God, the author of “Don Quixote” must have been Iranian!