As pro-Palestinian protesters and counterprotesters rally at universities across the country, some of the most vocal defenders of Israel are members of the Iranian Jewish community.

In Los Angeles, home to the largest Iranian diaspora outside Iran and often referred to as “Tehrangeles,” Iranian Jews have emerged as a regular presence at demonstrations on the campuses of UCLA and the University of Southern California.

Many are the children of parents who fled Iran starting in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution, which ushered in a new era of social, political and religious extremism that continues to haunt many former citizens. They were raised with stories of a vibrant and rich culture in what was formerly called Persia and often refer to themselves as Persian Jews.