In his first ever interview with BBC Persian TV last week, Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu warned against a nuclear-armed Iran and encouraged the Iranian public to overthrow their oppressive regime. In the midst of his remarks geared toward a younger audience presumably hungry for freedom, he made the analogous statement, “If the people of Iran were free they could wear blue jeans, listen to Western music and have free elections.” Some snarky Iranians took to Twitter to smartmouth Netanyahu’s ignorance. Sure, their women are expected to “preserve hijab and morality” – but somewhere in the midst of oppression, these folks own denim, gah!
Instead of latching on to the story of an Israeli PM using what was, perhaps, his only opportunity to speak directly to the Iranian people to advocate a fight for freedom supported by tens of thousands of Iranians, the Internet jumped on #IranJeans and joined in the joke. Forget the Iranian government’s massive human rights abuses against their own people. (After all, Obama did.) Netanyahu dared to assert that the Persians can’t wear jeans. That’s as funny as the time Winston Churchill asserted that the Hitler Youth didn’t want to burn all those books. Are you kidding? They loved the roar of the campfire as they mocked those stupid Jews! #burnbooks #stupidJuden
In what was, perhaps, the most intellectually flatulent response to the story, Max Fisher, writing for the Washington Post, eloquently scoffed, “The elections might not be so free, and some Western music is officially banned, if generally tolerated. But Iranians do wear jeans — as a great many of them pointed out by posting photos of themselves in denim online, often with a message deriding the Israeli leader for his ignorance.” Gawd, he doesn’t know they wear Levi’s? How gauche!