'No Jeans' in Iran Claim Earns Ridicule for Benjamin Netanyahu on Social Media

Dozens Mock Premier's Remark by Posting Denim Pics

getty images

By Reuters

Published October 06, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have sought to win over Iranians in an interview with British Persian-language television, but a casual assertion that they were banned from wearing jeans won only gentle ridicule from some of his audience on Sunday.

Netanyahu has watched with some concern a diplomatic drive by new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to build warmer ties with the United States and other Western powers and achieve an easing of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme.

But his statements in an interview with the BBC Persian television on the need for Iran to end its uranium enrichment programme were somewhat overshadowed by his comments on fashion freedoms allowed to Iranians by their government.

“I think if the Iranian people had freedom, they would wear jeans, listen to Western music, and have free elections,” Netanyahu said in the interview, which was dubbed into Persian and released late on Saturday.

That statement drew a barbed reaction from Iran where, though women are required to cover their hair and wear loose clothing in public, jeans are not forbidden, and are worn. Much Western music is illegal, but people find a way to listen to it at home.

Dozens of Iranians published pictures of themselves on Twitter on Sunday wearing jeans and addressed their posts to Netanyahu’s official Twitter account, saying he was out of touch with Iranians.

“Mr. Netanyahu, here is a shop selling weapons of mass destruction in Iran,” one popular tweet read, showing a picture of a denim shop originally published by an Iranian semi-official news agency.

“Netanyahu, three days ago I bought a pair of jeans,” another Iranian user tweeted.

Twitter is blocked by a government filter in Iran, though many Iranians access it through special software to circumvent the block.

Netanyahu also said in his interview that the people of Iran and Israel had a “deep friendship into modern times” that had been destroyed by Iran’s current theocratic government. He criticised the censorship of social media and satellite channels inside Iran as well as the government’s treatment of women and gays.

“This is not what the Persian people deserve,” Netanyahu said.

He said the election that had brought Rouhani to power was not free, and that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei holds the real power over the nuclear programme. Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons, and says its nuclear programme is purely peaceful.

“I would welcome a genuine rapprochement, a genuine effort to stop the nuclear programme - not a fake one. Not ‘harfe pooch,’” Netanyahu said, using a colloquial Persian phrase meaning “empty words.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.