More than 300 people, among them Jewish leaders, Israeli officials and members of the Iranian Jewish community in New York attended a memorial service today for Albert Danielpour, an Iranian Jew executed in Hamadan, Iran on June 5. The service was held at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue here and was sponsored by all major Jewish organizations in the metropolitan area. It was coordinated by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.
The 52-year-old Danielpour was accused of cooperating with the CIA and with Israeli intelligence and was also charged with helping to establish the “Zionist government in Israel. “Although he denied all charges, he was sentenced to death April 10 by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Teheran. His sentence was commuted to three years’ imprisonment after many interventions on his behalf. But last Thursday, upon a direct order from Ayatollah Kalkoli, he was executed in Hamadan.
Today’s memorial service, which was also attended by Danielpour’s two brothers and a sister was also to express protest and anger as well as concern for other Iranian Jews now imprisoned in Iran and who may become subject to the some date.
EXECUTION CALLED ATTACK ON JEWISH PEOPLE
Daniel Shapiro, vice president of the JCRC who chaired the program, said that Jews all over “and all men of conscience” should not sit Idty by in the face of the harsh times confronting Iranian Jews. Rabbi Nisson Shulman of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue, said that Danielpour was a “Kodosh” (martyr) who was “blameless and innocent of any crime.” He was murdered, Shulman charged, “not because of what he did but because of what he was — a Jew.” He added that Daniel-pour has become a symbol of the hatred of our enemies, who wanted to “attack Israel and the Jewish people” through him. He called for a campaign “to touch the conscience of the world,” as to the fate of Iranian Jews.
The 45-minute memorial gathering was also addressed by Ambassador Jerome Shestack, U.S. representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and former president of the International League for Human Rights. He declared: “The execution of Danielpour and others by summary proceedings is a symbol of lawlessness. The holding of the hostages by the militants is a symbol of inhumanity. These are the symbols of the failure of the revolution that so many wanted and looked upon with hope.” The service concluded with the reading of El Moleh Rachamim, the traditional Jewish memorial prayer, by Contour Sherwood Coffin, of the Lincoln Square Synagogue. Consul General Yosef Kedar of Israel, represented the Israel government.
Memorial services for Danielpour were held in other major cities across the United States. More than 1000 persons attended a service at Temple Sinai in Los Angeles, sponsored by the Jewish Federation Council in conjunction with the Temple.
JEWISH LEADERS SPEAK OUT
Earlier this week, two American Jewish leaders denounced the Iranian government’s action. Bertram Gold, executive vice president of the American Jewish Committee, said his organization “notes with revulsion and renewed concern” the report of Danielpour’s execution. Gold said the fact that Danielpour’s support for the creation of “the Israeli Zionist government” was equated “with spying for Israel and the United States, among other trumped-up charges against him, contains the seeds of a new threat to the several dozen other Jews currently under arrest in that unhappy country.”
Edgar M. Bronfman, acting president of the World Jewish Congress, in a statement issued in Paris, where he was en route to Israel, called the execution of Danielpour “a cruel and ominous disregard of civilized standards of justice and decency. It makes one tremble for those now behind prison walls whose fate lies in the hands of men who have such contempt for international opinion and the dictates of ordinary humanity.” Bronfman’s statement was made available by the New York office of the WJC.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.