MembersMeet Israel’s Iranian Muslim Advocate on Campus

The story of Ryan Ali Yazdi is the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters.

By Yossi Aloni | | Topics: FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Ryan Ali Yazdi
Photo: Ryan Ali Yazdi

He’s a relative of Iran’s deposed royal family, and despite being a proud Muslim, Yazdi is one of the more active members of Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a pro-Israel student union with branches at 50 university campuses across the US, Canada, Europe and Israel.“We visited the north and heard the shooting from the Syrian civil war. I saw Israeli soldiers earnestly treating the Syrian wounded and it astounded me,” he recalled, adding that “while I’m a Muslim, I’ll stand with any nation that is threatened with genocide—and today the most significant such threat is made against Israel. Each generation has a new form of anti-Semitism. In the past it was Nazi death camps, and today, it’s Iran and the ayatollahs.”

Yazdi, 36, is currently majoring in East Asian studies at Columbia University in New York. But it was growing up in Beverly Hills, California where he first connected with Jews and realized that the traditional Muslim narrative regarding them was all wrong. Not all of his extended blue-blooded family agrees.

“I have relatives who are...

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