Roger Cohen and Iran
Let me preface this commentary by first stating that I am a fan of Roger Cohen's work in the New York Times. I look forward to his columns every week, and as any avid reader of RealClearWorld could attest, we link to his pieces quite regularly.
One of the reasons I enjoy Mr. Cohen's work is that he strikes me as a journalist first, and a pundit at a distant second. He writes, reports and travels with a passion, and his reporting often offers a personal perspective on the issues plaguing various corners of the globe.
Last week, Cohen created quite a stir in his weekly column when he argued that the Jewish population of Iran was in fact free to practice their faith, and treated as coequal citizens by the Iranian government. Through these anecdotal efforts - stories of content Iranian Jews, "tranquilly" working away in their "dusty little" Persian shops - Cohen, apparently, hoped to add some nuance to the debate over Iran's repressive regime. It wasn't Cohen's point, so much as his example, however, that caused the reaction earned him by the likes of Jeffrey Goldberg and Rafael Medoff. These critics, along with several others, lashed out at Cohen in the ensuing week.
Coming this week to his own defense, Cohen has once again taken to the op-ed pages of the New York Times in order to address his critics: