Omar Barghouti in Rome


Last night I went to hear Omar Barghouti at an event titled “Palestine today. Nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation: academic and cultural boycott,” organised by the Roman network for solidarity with the Palestinian people. There were about 80 people there, and the event included the presentation of the book (in Italian) “Planning oppression: The complicity of Israeli academia.”

Barghouti blew me away. He is one of the most articulate, clear-thinking speakers I have ever heard. He presented the goals, importance and strategy of BDS in general, and academic and cultural boycott in particular, and addressed the reasons why Europeans should care about Palestine specifically (direct complicity in Israeli Apartheid), beyond the principle of basic human solidarity. Italy, as it happens, is Israel’s second largest research partner, after the US.

Barghouti also discussed some of the main objections to BDS, such as the counterproductivity of boycotting all Israelis. He explained that the boycott is institutional and not individual – not because individuals bear no responsibility for Israeli apartheid, but because the McCarthyist scrutiny of individual Israelis, to separate the “good” from the “bad” is morally repugnant. When asked about those who wish to limit their boycott to the settlements, he replied that such a position is morally, legally and practically untenable. Even if one wishes to ignore the rights of Palestinians in Israel and those of Palestinian refugees, and focus only on the ’67 occupation, it is the Israeli government and Israeli society as a whole that is responsible for those actions, not the settlers. Those who oppose the Chinese occupation of Tibet do not limit their actions to Chinese products made in Tibet, but boycott the Chinese government responsible for that occupation. On a practical level, Israel uses every trick in the book (including repackaging in Israel) to ensure that settlement products are virtually indistinguishable from non-settlement products.

Regarding the accusation of anti-Semitism frequently levelled at BDS, he replied that such an accusation is in itself anti-Semitic, inasmuch as it creates an equivalence between all Jews and Israeli policies, implying that Jews are monolothic and that all Jews should be held responsable for Israel’s actions. Such generalisations and the idea of collective Jewish responsibility are fundamentally anti-Semitic. He called upon Europeans to stop assuaging their Holocaust guilt by oppressing the victims of the victims of the Holocaust.

123 Responses

  1. James North
    May 12, 2010, 10:21 am

    A great report, Shmuel. I particularly appreciated your summary of his persuasive point that you cannot limit BDS to the settlements/colonies.

    • MRW
      May 12, 2010, 10:38 am

      Ditto, Shmuel.

      • annie
        May 12, 2010, 10:41 am

        ditto, awesome post. the last paragraph is succinct ..perfect.

    • DICKERSON3870
      May 12, 2010, 1:52 pm

      RADIO OPEN SOURCE – Mustafa Barghouti: Is there Room for Gandhi in Palestine? (Interviewed by Christopher Lydon at Brown’s Watson Institute (53:23) – Recorded Fri, April 30, 2010)
      LINK – link to
      download an mp3 (53:23) – link to

      Ask Palestinians why there is no Gandhi in their movement, and often the answer comes: but there are several, and Mustafa Barghouti should be recognized more widely as one of them.
      A medical doctor, born in Jerusalem in 1954, trained both in the old Soviet Union and in the US, he is the advocate of a strong, non-violent push to a two-state deal with Israel. He got his break in the show biz of American opinion last Fall on the Daily Show. His B. D. S. campaign this Spring in the world press and on American campuses stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions to bring the pressure of international attention and law on the Israeli government.
      Mustafa Barghouti has set his own course in the famous Barghouti family and in Palestinian politics. With Edward Said and others in 2002, Mustafa Barghouti helped found the Palestinian National Initiative. He was the Initiative’s candidate (and ran second to Mahmood Abbas) to succeed Yasir Arafat as president of the Palestinian Authority in 2005. His Initiative banner waves for “a truly democratic and independent ‘third way’ for the large majority of silent and unrepresented Palestinian voters, who favour neither the autocracy and corruption of the governing Fatah party, nor the fundamentalism of Hamas.” In a long conversation (53:23) at Brown’s Watson Institute yesterday, Dr. Barghouti seemed a model of the old virtues: patience, long-suffering, gentleness and a certain deep enthusiasm.

  2. Shamir
    May 12, 2010, 10:30 am

    link to
    Nazis, Arabs planned Final Solution for pre-state Israel
    By Stan Goodenough

    • MRW
      May 12, 2010, 10:35 am

      Stan Goodenough is a rabid, extremist, Christian Zionist, a John Hagee who lives in Israel.

    • Mooser
      May 12, 2010, 11:05 am

      Shamir, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

      Anyway, I heard about those plans; the Nazis and Arabs planned to occupy Israel for 50 years, and use the occupation, in co-operation with their armies and governments as a cover for expansionist settlement.
      Those bastards!

    • unverified__316al2ef
      May 12, 2010, 3:35 pm

      I’m rapidly turning off these Nazis, what a bunch of treacherous two-faced bastards, first the Transfer agreements, millions to zionists in palestine and Hitler all pro-Zionist giving the ‘right’ jews their own special medal. And then another bloody final solution plan, however having spent so long living in their own noxious vapours, I’m sure there were plenty of ‘out of the box’ plans. This mentality is historically common in those who choose to place themselves above the rest of humanity, the inevitable result being an utterly inbred mindset.

      link to

  3. Shamir
    May 12, 2010, 10:32 am

    The Europeans have always appeased the Arabs.
    They gave out a white paper barring all Jewish immigration, while letting in as many Arabs as possible.
    They took 75% of the Mandate borders and gave them to the Arabs and named the country after the Jordan river.
    This country Jordan has a law barring all Jews from living there.
    The Europeans oppose a state for the Kurds and Berbers.

    • MRW
      May 12, 2010, 10:51 am

      To all newbies. Shamir’s tripe has been debunked before. He keeps repeating it. Read this:link to

      One of the times we discussed it here on Monodies is here:
      link to

      • MRW
        May 12, 2010, 11:00 am

        Monodies? See, this is what my wacky auto-corrector does sometimes, and when I forget to turn it off after rebooting, which I just did.

      • marc b.
        May 12, 2010, 3:28 pm

        monodies. i missed that. wasn’t he diogenes’ cousin?

    • Mooser
      May 12, 2010, 11:08 am

      “This country Jordan has a law barring all Jews from living there.”

      Yeah, every year at Seder we all say “Next year in Jordan”!
      I’ll never forget my grandfather’s death, his one regret after a lifetime of sucess in the US, was that he never got to move to Jordan.

      • James North
        May 12, 2010, 11:15 am

        Mooser, this is hilarious. Sorry about your grandfather.

      • Mooser
        May 12, 2010, 11:29 am

        I’ll never forget climbing those three long flights of stairs up to his room when the elevator operator was off duty. I wanted to wake him and say my good-byes, but Grandmother said: “Shhh, don’t wake him, he’s dreaming he’s in Jordan”
        Hearing an old man sing those Tuskegee spirituals in Yiddish is an experience I will never forget. Roll, Jordan, Roll!
        One mo’ river,
        says the Founder-man boss!
        Y’ all gonna graduate,
        as soon you done cross!

        Speaking of John Barth (and who isn’t?), I’ve always enjoyed his modern translation of the classic Oedipus Rex:

        It’s a first-class tragic trauma,
        to be told you’ve humped your Mama,
        And further hear you’ve murthered
        Dear Old Dad

        The interstices of the Oedipus complex and Zionism is a field ripe for scholastic effort. Why, if some big foundation would give me $2 million dollars for research, I would fly to Israel… and keep right on going! So long, suckers!

      • annie
        May 12, 2010, 3:26 pm

        bejeezus you’ve split my gut.

    • Mooser
      May 12, 2010, 11:17 am

      “They gave out a white paper barring all Jewish immigration, while letting in as many Arabs as possible.”

      So “the Europeans” were doing their best to help Zionism, making sure that Jews make aliyah instead of going to Europe, where the danger of assimilation is ever-present, but are you grateful? Noooo!
      Nothing seems to make you Zionists happy.

  4. Richard Witty
    May 12, 2010, 10:34 am

    I appreciated Barghouti’s apparent sensitivity to the morality of means.

    I’m still not clear what you mean by “institutional” and how that is different in fact from what you call “individual”.

    He confuses the meanings of anti-semitism, to only include the definition of Jewish by birth (race). In contrast, Jewish by association (community, institutions) IS a form of anti-semitism.

    To be consistent, he would have to then deny that there is a Palestinian nation, a Palestinian self-association, and deny that suppression of Palestinians is more than just suppression of individuals.

    Perhaps you can explain how attempting to shame an author from reading to an audience is anything other than an effort at censorship?

      • Richard Witty
        May 12, 2010, 1:27 pm

        The guidelines and “clarification” of individuals vs institutions are by my understanding abusive, counter-productive, and arbitrary.

        The world still needs increased interaction, including between Israeli and other institutions, more than it needs isolation.

        One of the consequences of isolation is the ability to enact a monopoly on propaganda. People should see for themselves. The statement of guidelines concluded that ALL Israeli academic institutions were deemed to be complicit in oppression of Palestinians.

        Where do you think the “new historians” came from? You wouldn’t know of events in 1948 coherently if it weren’t for Israeli institutions.

        Again, I contest that the oppossite of boycott is needed. That the only remedy to persecution of Palestinians is engagement.

      • Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel
        May 12, 2010, 1:59 pm

        In his talk, Omar Barghouti told a story. Last year, he spoke at an event in The Hague, marking the 61st anniversary of the Nakba . A Dutch politician criticised him and BDS, suggesting that what Israelis and Palestinians really needed to was to hug each other. Barghouti replied: “When a master hugs a slave, it is not love, but rape. First the master-slave relationship must be ended, then we will be able to tolerate one another and eventually, who knows, maybe even come to love one another.” Barghouti added that “peace” is an oppressor’s concept, entirely to the oppressor’s advantage. Palestinians don’t need “peace” and don’t understand “peace”. What Palestinians need and understand is “just peace”. To non-Palestinians sympathetic to the Palestinian cause he said: “We don’t want your charity. We want your solidarity.”

      • Richard Witty
        May 12, 2010, 2:12 pm

        “When a master hugs a slave, it is not love, but rape. First the master-slave relationship must be ended, then we will be able to tolerate one another and eventually, who knows, maybe even come to love one another.”

        That is what many Israelis feel is being asked of them, to hug Hamas and others that have undertaken brutality against them over a very long period of time.

        Maybe Barghouti understands his position as victim, but Israelis experience terror over decades as war (worse than war), not as oppression.

        The Dutch politician (or Barghouti’s characterization) might be somewhat off, but the relationship is not experienced as oppression by Israelis (considering the long-term), but as conflict.

        There is a very large disconnect. The world observes conflict. Palestinians think of oppression/victims raper/raped.

        I personally think the relationship has shifted in balance very recently towards oppression more than just conflict, but not nearly to the extent that I would ever consider cultural isolation (whatever “limited” term you use to distinguish “institutional” from “individual” of course with whole paragraphs justifying boycott of individuals as “exceptions”).

      • Donald
        May 12, 2010, 2:40 pm

        “He called upon Europeans to stop assuaging their Holocaust guilt by oppressing the victims of the victims of the Holocaust.”

        That line is perfect. It needs to be said to some liberals in America as well. Which is not to say we shouldn’t be remembering the Holocaust, but it should not be remembered in a way that supports Israel’s crimes.

      • tree
        May 12, 2010, 5:20 pm

        In case anyone missed the cognitive dissonance, here’s Witty on another thread:

        The way to deal with Iran is to isolate it, …

        And here’s Witty above:

        The world still needs increased interaction, including between Israeli and other institutions, more than it needs isolation.

        Wittocrisy, a particularly resistant strain of hypocrisy, strikes again. And again. And again.

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 12, 2010, 11:09 pm

        Spot on tree. My TFOOH of the week goes to Witty for being such a Wiesel and a hypocrite.

    • Mooser
      May 12, 2010, 11:09 am

      “I’m still not clear what you mean by “institutional” and how that is different in fact from what you call “individual”.”

      Yeah, Richard, maybe when the ziocaine wears off you can understand English again.

    • Mooser
      May 12, 2010, 11:12 am

      “Perhaps you can explain how attempting to shame an author from reading to an audience is anything other than an effort at censorship”

      Explain that to a guy who doesn’t understand the difference between “Institutional” and “individual”? No, he probably can’t.

    • marc b.
      May 12, 2010, 11:22 am

      Perhaps you can explain how attempting to shame an author from reading to an audience is anything other than an effort at censorship?

      is this a hypothetical concern, or did you have a specific example in mind?

      • Mooser
        May 12, 2010, 11:32 am

        “is this a hypothetical concern…?”

        No, just a completely hypocritical concern. As usual.

      • marc b.
        May 12, 2010, 11:39 am

        now, mooser, i am sincerely interested in RW’s response. i do like this bit though. ‘attempting to shame’, as if zionists are collectively incapable of experiencing shame. if that is the case, i guess i’m missing RW’s point. if shame is an alien emotion, what’s the outrage in trying?

        again, RW, i am sincerely interested in your response to my question.

    • pulaski
      May 12, 2010, 11:29 am

      “He confuses the meanings of anti-semitism, to only include the definition of Jewish by birth (race). In contrast, Jewish by association (community, institutions) IS a form of anti-semitism.”

      This makes no sense at all. Jewish by association is antisemitism? What? Are you arguing that gay rights depend upon if the evidence supports biological determinism vs choice?

      Barghouti made perfect sense: Claiming that someone who is anti-Israel is anti-Jewish is itself clearly antisemitic. This claim assumes that “Jews” support Israel and this as abhorrent as claiming that “Muslims” are terrorists. Just as it was a white supremacist argument that all whites should support Ian Smith’s Rhodesia or South Africa under the Nats.

    • Mooser
      May 12, 2010, 11:43 am

      “deny that suppression of Palestinians is more than just suppression of individuals.”

      Wow, I’m so relieved! That makes it alright, then. I mean, it’s not as if it was the suppression of people who might have a lobby or something. Screw those individuals!

      • Richard Witty
        May 12, 2010, 2:14 pm

        Barghouti was trying to get an out from the assertion that boycott of Israeli academia and events was anti-semitic.

        It is potentially anti-semitic in the selection of a single community to boycott, as a community (institutions).

      • LeaNder
        May 12, 2010, 3:18 pm

        He confuses the meanings of anti-semitism, to only include the definition of Jewish by birth (race). In contrast, Jewish by association (community, institutions) IS a form of anti-semitism.

        what is this supposed to mean, Richard. Were do you find the allusion to race in what Shmuel reports and what exactly does he confuse?

        Try again.

      • Richard Witty
        May 12, 2010, 3:32 pm

        There are 2+ definitions of anti-semitism:

        1. Prejudice against an individual because they were born Jewish, of Jewish blood (race)
        2. Prejudice towards communities of Jews that freely associate, and in the case of Israel self-govern. (Proceeding to governance, a state, is not a necissity, but it is an association). Anti-semitism towards the community is also anti-semitism. Its possible to not be prejudiced towards individuals (good assimilated Jews), but still be prejudiced towards the community.

        To be free of anti-semitism would require acceptance of both.

        Its still reasonable to oppose policies and to act to persuade those that institute those policies not to, but BDS is further than that.

        The branding of “non-violent” activism is that it is free from hatred, and has no association with violence. In the case of the Palestinian solidarity movement, the conspicuous presence of those that seek a single state (the elimination of Israel), makes the non-violent branding, less so in fact, and certainly less so to a confidence level of mass support.

        That and the history of terror, not by Barghouti, but by others that support him. He looks like he is making progress, and to the extent that he has clear and reasonable goals, I hope he is making progress in that. I differ with the chosen means.

      • marc b.
        May 12, 2010, 3:42 pm

        1. jews are a race? how can that be?

        2. it’s not the ‘free association of jews’ that people oppose. it’s that bit about dispossessing the palestinians that is problematic.

      • unverified__316al2ef
        May 12, 2010, 3:48 pm

        jewish race?

        what jewish race, egg and spoon , three-legged or sack?
        how can you have a mini ‘Rainbow-Nation’ and be a race?
        it bugs me deeply this last vestage of the legacy that should have died over half a century ago being kept on life-support by those who should know better. Especially given the blantantly obvious ‘Rainbow-Nation’ with new jewish connections discovered from Afghanistan to Southern Africa

      • Richard Witty
        May 12, 2010, 3:59 pm

        So your focus is on an action or a policy, hopefully with a clear and defined condition that can turn on a dime.

        I assume that you are a proponent of BDS? What do you think about the single-state proposal? Is it part of your goal?

      • marc b.
        May 12, 2010, 4:11 pm

        honestly, i would have favored a two-state solution, but i fear that opportunity has been blown.

        so, yes, i favor a unified state of ‘israel’ including the OT, and a written israeli constitution codifying equal rights among its citizens.

        and, yes, i consider BDS a legitimate political tool.

      • Richard Witty
        May 12, 2010, 4:18 pm

        So, that makes us political opponents, and reveals that the BDS supporters include many (assuming that you are far from alone), that seek the elimination of Israel.

        I don’t believe it is anywhere near too late for a two-state solution. The tangible issues are resolvable so long as the geographic communities still have a super-majority ethnically.

        The single state is only possible if the overwhelming majority (not 51%) hold that civilist institutions are preferable to nationalist or religious.

        My guess is that currently, around 20% prefer civil institutions (fully democratic, not with any national exclusions to residence, property, profession, voting), and the remainder prefer national or religious orientation. And, I guess that less than a majority would accept a fully democratic civil definition.

        If that estimate is true, it makes a single state a LONG WAY off, if ever.

        And, if improvement to Palestinians’ well-being and civil participation is delayed until then, that is a lot to ask, a very questionable short-term effort.

      • andrew r
        May 12, 2010, 4:21 pm

        You might want to consider someone who told Phil he was getting brainwashed by Hamas, or refuses to condemn Operation Cast Lead or spent a whole thread acting more offended at Blumenthal’s maverick personality than the psychopaths he filmed – and that’s only off the top of my head – would actually make BDS sound more attractive for the simple reason you find it threatening.

        Aside from the above stated reasons to boycott Israeli institutions, Israel has interferred in Palestinian higher education countless times by imposing curfews that led to school closings, barring students from leaving Gaza to pursue their scholarships (You might recall Phil meeting some of them) and bombing the Islamic University of Gaza. Along with international terrorism and plane hijacking, boycotting academic institutions is something Israel pioneered, not its opposition.

        Not to mention Israeli universities are not “the community” and even non-Jewish faculty may be subjected to boycott. Institutions are fair game when they’re responsible for an injustice and its representatives are not boycotted for their nationality.

        I’ll refrain from addressing your distinction between self-governing and assimilated Jews. There’ll be plenty of opportunities for that later.

      • Richard Witty
        May 12, 2010, 4:23 pm

        As suprising at it may sound, I am one that likely could live in a civil democratic state, but I respect those that don’t feel as I do.

        My question is of means.

        As I’ve said numerous times, I support (more than accept) the goals stated in earlier academic BDS proposals (end occupation of West Bank and Gaza, full civil rights for minorities within Israel, and right of return and compensation for lost property from the nakba.)

      • tree
        May 12, 2010, 5:24 pm

        As suprising at it may sound, I am one that likely could live in a civil democratic state, but I respect those that don’t feel as I do.

        Gee, Richard, that’s mighty white of you.

      • marc b.
        May 12, 2010, 6:18 pm

        that seek the elimination of Israel.

        clever. no i don’t seek the elimination of israel, i seek the full citizenship of arab israelis. israel has effectively eliminated the possibility of a two-state solution.

      • sherbrsi
        May 12, 2010, 6:35 pm

        So, that makes us political opponents, and reveals that the BDS supporters include many (assuming that you are far from alone), that seek the elimination of Israel.

        If democracy and restoration of rights is the elimination of Israel, so be it.

        Perhaps it is time to take off your rose-tinted glasses and see your jewel for what it is, a piece of coal.

        For the true humanists who stress the rights of human beings, the preservation of human rights is the central issue, not the in statement of political state entities.

      • Richard Witty
        May 12, 2010, 8:41 pm

        So, you guys do acknowledge that one of the agendas of many supporters of BDS is the elimination of Israel as Israel?

      • Richard Witty
        May 12, 2010, 8:44 pm

        It makes it very difficult to support BDS.

      • sherbrsi
        May 12, 2010, 9:28 pm

        you guys do acknowledge that one of the agendas of many supporters of BDS is the elimination of Israel as Israel?

        Unlike you Witty, who suffers from constant illusions of grandeur and claims to speak for the majority, I only speak for myself.

        It is imperative for any reform to be introduced, that Israel cease to exist as it currently does today, as the status quo of military occupation and apartheid policies. This Israel cannot exist, not only due to its violation of human decency but also its illegitimacy in law. Moreover with its projection of Zionist values as inherent in the settlement enterprise, it is only racing to its own demise.

        As per your view of the BDS, it is as usual myopic, self-serving and distorted to fit your own worldview. Thus why no one takes you seriously.

      • Richard Witty
        May 13, 2010, 3:15 am

        Lots take me seriously, including what I convey in face to face meetings in the real world.

        My observations there include that the suppression of Palestinians is real and deserves to be remedied.

        And, that the means and attitudes of dissent are similar to what the right-wing portray, as desiring that Israel as self-governing Jewish entity, not exist.

        That, there is hypocrisy inherent in their efforts of regarding Jewish nationalism as invalid, while regarding Palestinian nationalism as valid.

        It is vanity and dogma to describe the non-acceptance of a community’s desire to self-govern as myopic.

  5. Shamir
    May 12, 2010, 11:19 am

    MRW, there is not one single Jew living in Jordan cause Jordan bars Jews from living there.
    DUH, if you were right, how come there isn’t one Jew living there.
    Man you leftists are dumber then i thought.

    • Mooser
      May 12, 2010, 11:34 am

      Shamir, if you want to move to Jordan, we won’t stand in your way. Go, with our blessings! We’ll get you a nice parting gift.

    • olive
      May 12, 2010, 11:42 am

      Perhaps you are unaware of the many Israelis who do bussiness in Jordan. I know about Israeli Jews doing bussiness at the Arab bank in Amman and Israeli Jews enjoying the comforts of the Jordanian city of Al Aqaba.

      Not to mention the Israeli Embassy in Amman!

    • MarkF
      May 12, 2010, 2:57 pm

      Israel has relations with Jordan.

      Israel bars Muslims from moving to Israel, yes? So Israel aspires for Jordanian policies? Well ok, then come out and say how much you admire these monarchistic policies and would like to emulate them. Drop the whole “one true democracy in the Middle East” charade.

      Besides, wouldn’t Jewish aliya to Jordan flood the Jordanian state with Jews putting Jordan in jeapardy of losing it’s Muslim identity?

      Jews live in Iraq and Iran, who knows, maybe Jordan will change.

      Leftists? I think there’s rightists here too, just not as much of the neoconservative variety.

    • andrew r
      May 12, 2010, 4:30 pm

      The only reason Israel can be a Jewish state is because Jordan accepted so many Palestinian refugees. If for no other reason than logistics, banning Jews from citizenship is a fair tradeoff. Of course Jordan does not actually do this anyway.

      Israel however does ban millions of people who would otherwise be entitled to citizenship had their grandparents not been expelled. There’s nothing impressive about selective liberalism.

    • unverified__316al2ef
      May 12, 2010, 4:44 pm

      If these oft-stated assertions of the idea of a Jewish Race are correct, then most of the Jordanian population is ‘Jewish’ due to their Palestinian heritage and the Israelite legacy that comes with it.

  6. Shamir
    May 12, 2010, 11:33 am

    This is really what the BDS wants.

    link to
    Yasser Arafat, January 30, 1996, (Speech) “The Impending Total Collapse of Israel,” Stockholm, Sweden (1,2)
    We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem . . . All the rich Jews who will get compensation will travel to America . . . We of the PLO will now concentrate all our efforts on splitting Israel psychologically into two camps. Within five years we will have six to seven million Arabs living in the West Bank and in Jerusalem….You understand that we plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian State . . . I have no use for Jews; they are and remain Jews. We now need all the help we can get from you in our battle for a united Palestine under total Arab-Muslim domination!”

    • Mooser
      May 12, 2010, 11:37 am

      Shamir, I think I can really make your day! Listen carefully: Yassir Arafat is dead! No, really. If you need a few minutes to Google this, please, go right ahead.
      Sure, he looks so real in your nightmares, but that’s what you get for eating halvah and pickled-herring on rye sandwiches right before beddy-bye.

      • marc b.
        May 12, 2010, 2:30 pm

        Shamir, I think I can really make your day! Listen carefully: Yassir Arafat is dead! No, really. If you need a few minutes to Google this, please, go right ahead.

        thanks for the belly laugh. i nearly spit my bottled water through my nose.

      • marc b.
        May 12, 2010, 2:38 pm


        here is the link to the Jordian Constitution:

        link to

        Chapter Two regulates the rights and duties of Jordanian citizens. I only quickly perused it, but there appears to be no prohibition on the citizenship or residence of ‘jews’ in the Kingdom.

        and here is a general site on Jordanian law:

        link to

        if you find any statute, case law, regulation, directive, etc., etc. that denies citizenship or residence to ‘jews’, get back to us.

  7. marc b.
    May 12, 2010, 2:48 pm

    the Jordian Constitution

    or the Jordanian Constitution as it’s known in some circles.

    • Frances
      May 12, 2010, 5:05 pm

      Anti-Semitic, Israel-undermining, Holocaust-denying, Elie Wiesel-hating circles, probably.

  8. Shmuel
    May 12, 2010, 2:51 pm

    To parap

    • Shmuel
      May 12, 2010, 2:53 pm

      Damn submit button.

      To paraphrase an old British TV series: “But therrrre arrre nae Jeus in Jordan.”

  9. Shamir
    May 12, 2010, 3:07 pm

    MarkF, 1.5 million Arabs live in Israel.
    Zero Jews live in Jordan.

    There are like 5 Jews living in Iraq.

    • MarkF
      May 12, 2010, 3:33 pm

      True Shamir, 1.5 million live in Israel, no debate about that from me.

      Zero live in Jordan, ok, I’ll go along with that.

      Small population in Iraq, I’ll buy that too.

      How does this relate to the post about Palestinian non-violence as a tool to end the occupation of the West Bank?

      My opionion is that it doesn’t relate. Jordan hasn’t occupied the West Bank for over 40 years. I believe Arik once said, you want to be in Qalqilya and Jenin?

    • Sumud
      May 12, 2010, 4:30 pm

      Too bad it was the crazy zionists who bombed the jews of Iraq so they’d be terrified and flee to Israel. What kind of shitty nation does that?

      link to

      • yonira
        May 12, 2010, 4:38 pm

        How about the Farhud in Iraq Sumud,

        link to

        also a zionist conspiracy?

      • Sumud
        May 12, 2010, 5:05 pm

        Call it a conspiracy if you like. You are free the believe that when, in 1960, Mossad investigated if they perpetrated the bombing they concluded they hadn’t.

        he Iraqi Jewish anti-Zionist author Naeim Giladi claims that the bombings were “perpetrated by Zionist agents in order to cause fear amongst the Jews, and so promote their exodus to Israel”[13] is shared by a number of authors, including Wilbur Crane Eveland (1980)[14], Uri Avnery (1988), Ella Shohat (1986), Abbas Shiblak (1986) [15], Marion Wolfsohn (1980), and Rafael Shapiro (1984). In his article, Giladi notes that this was also the conclusion of Wilbur Crane Eveland, a former senior officer in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who outlined that allegation in his book “Ropes of Sand”.
        According to Everland, whose information is based on the Iraqi official investigation which was shared with the US embassy[1], “In an attempt to portray the Iraqis as anti-American and to terrorize the Jews, the Zionists planted bombs in the U.S. Information Service library and in the synagogues. Soon Leaflets began to appear urging Jews to flee to Israel… most of the world believed reports that Arab terrorism had motivated the flight of the Iraqi Jews whom the Zionists had ‘rescued’ really just in order to increase Israel’s Jewish population.”
        link to

        You can’t “undo” the Baghdad bombings by mentioning Farhud yonira.

        Aren’t you OUTRAGED that jews were bombing jews?

      • Richard Witty
        May 13, 2010, 2:08 am

        One would have hoped Sumud, that you read the description of the actual history, from the article that you yourself posted.

        See also: History of the Jews in Iraq
        Before the exodus of Jews to Israel, there were about 140,000 Iraqi Jews. Most lived in Baghdad, of which Jews made up a sixth of the city’s population. High Jewish populations also existed in the towns of Basra and Mosul.[2]

        Iraqi Jews constitute one of the world’s oldest and most historically significant Jewish communities. By 1936, there was an increased sense of insecurity among the Jews of Iraq. The rise of pan-Arab nationalism coincided with the second King Faisal’s admiration of Nazism. In 1941 after the government of pro-Nazi Rashid Ali was defeated, his soldiers and policemen, aided by the Arab mob, started the Farhud (“violent dispossession”).[3] A government commission later reported that at least 180 Jews had been killed and 240 wounded, 586 Jewish businesses pillaged, and 99 Jewish homes burned.[4]

        In the summer of 1948, the Iraqi government declared Zionism a capital offense and fired Jews in government positions.[5] In his autobiography, Sasson Somekh, a Baghdadi Jew, wrote:

        Emigration until 1946 or 1947 was infrequent, despite the growing feeling among Iraqi Jews that their days in the Land of the Two Rivers were numbered. By the time war broke out in Palestine in 1948, many civil servants had been dismissed from their governmental jobs. Commerce had declined considerably, and the memory of the Farhud, which had meanwhile faded, returned.[6]

        At this time, he writes, “hundreds of Jews… were sentenced by military courts to long prison sentences for Zionist and Communist activity, both real and imagined. Some of the Baghdadi Jews who supported the Zionist movement began to steal across the border to Iran, from where they were flown to Israel.” [7]

        Elie Kedourie writes that after the 1948 show trial of Shafiq Ades, a respected Jewish businessman, who was publicly hanged in Basra,[7] Iraq Jews realized they were no longer under the protection of the law and there was little difference between the mob and Iraqi court justice.[8]

        By 1949, the Iraqi Zionist underground was smuggling Iraqi Jews out of the country at the rate of 1,000 a month.[9] In March 1950, Iraq passed a law stripping Jews who emigrated of their Iraqi citizenship. The law was motivated by economic considerations (the property of departing Jews reverted to the state treasury) and a sense that Jews were a potentially troublesome minority that the country would be better off without. (p. 91) Israel was initially reluctant to absorb so many immigrants, (Hillel, 1987) but in March 1951 organized Operation Ezra and Nehemiah, an airlift to Israel, and sent in emissaries to encourage Jews to leave.

      • Brewer
        May 13, 2010, 2:41 am

        One notes, of course, that Jews experienced no difficulty in Iraq before 1932, if Sassoon Eskel’s career is any indication:

        “Sir Sassoon Eskell, KBE (17 March 1860 – 31 August 1932) was an Iraqi statesman and financier.[1] Also known as Sassoon Effendi[2][3] (from Turkish Effendi, a title meaning Lord). Regarded in Iraq as the Father of Parliament,[4] Sir Sassoon was the first Minister of Finance in the Kingdom and a permanent Member of Parliament until his death. Along with Gertrude Bell and T. E. Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia), he was instrumental in the creation and the establishment of the Kingdom of Iraq[5] post Ottoman rule and it was he himself, who founded the nascent Iraqi government’s laws and financial structure.[4]

        He was knighted by His Britannic Majesty King George V in 1923.[6][7] His Majesty King Faisal I conferred on him the Civil Rafidain Medal Grade II, His Imperial Majesty the Shahinshah awarded him the Shirokhorshid Medal and the Ottoman Empire decorated him with the Al-Moutamayez Medal.[4] He also received a number of posthumous decorations, the most recent from the former President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti[8]“

        I wonder what happened?

      • Richard Witty
        May 13, 2010, 3:16 am

        Naziism happened.

      • Walid
        May 13, 2010, 3:31 am

        Richard, it wasn’t Naziism that happened. The article that you posted said it was all about Zionists and it was the implication of the Zionists that spoiled it for the Iraqi Jews.

      • Richard Witty
        May 13, 2010, 3:36 am

        You didn’t read.

        “The rise of pan-Arab nationalism coincided with the second King Faisal’s admiration of Nazism. In 1941 after the government of pro-Nazi Rashid Ali was defeated, his soldiers and policemen, aided by the Arab mob, started the Farhud (“violent dispossession”).[3] A government commission later reported that at least 180 Jews had been killed and 240 wounded, 586 Jewish businesses pillaged, and 99 Jewish homes burned.”

        You want the motivation for Jews to migrate out of Iraq to be only a contreversy around a single bombing incident? What is the elephant in the room?

      • Brewer
        May 13, 2010, 3:37 am

        Y’mean as in Zionism? Not like you to draw such a parallel.

      • Richard Witty
        May 13, 2010, 3:37 am

        Two violently suppressive administrations in a row, each anti-semitic.

        Please don’t call that confident sanctuary.

      • Brewer
        May 13, 2010, 4:34 am

        “Another side to the Jewish story (by Rachel Shabi)

        Many Jews left Arab countries because they wanted to live in Israel, not because their lives back home were miserable”

        Rachel Shabi is a Guardian contributor. Her book on Israel’s Oriental Jews is out now. She was born in Israel to Iraqi parents

        link to

      • Walid
        May 13, 2010, 5:49 am

        Richard, it wasn’t only one bombing that spooked the Jews in Baghdad but 6.

        I wish you’d read how the Farhud was made to happen and not just its end results. Naeim Giladi who was there at the time wrote:

        …Who was behind the rioting in the Jewish quarter?
        Yosef Meir, one of the most prominent activists in the Zionist underground movement in Iraq, known then as Yehoshafat, claims it was the British. Meir, who now works for the Israeli Defense Ministry, argues that, in order to make it appear that the regent was returning as the savior who would reestablish law and order, the British stirred up the riots against the most vulnerable and visible segment in the city, the Jews. And, not surprisingly, the riots ended as soon as the regent’s loyal soldiers entered the capital.

        My own investigations as a journalist lead me to believe Meir is correct. Furthermore, I think his claims should be seen as based on documents in the archives of the Israeli Defense Ministry, the agency that published his book. Yet, even before his book came out, I had independent confirmation from a man I met in Iran in the late Forties.

        …Today there is no doubt in my mind that the anti-Jewish riots of 1941 were orchestrated by the British for geopolitical ends. David Kimche is certainly a man who was in a position to know the truth, and he has spoken publicly about British culpability. Kimche had been with British Intelligence during WW II and with the Mossad after the war. Later he became Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the position he held in 1982 when he addressed a forum at the British Institute for International Affairs in London.

        link to

        Richard, the best word to describe the root of the problem, is “Israel”.

      • Sumud
        May 13, 2010, 6:00 am

        Rest assured Richard, I have read it.

        I don’t really know the point you are trying to make. Shamir posted a fact (few jews in Iraq) as proof of some muslim evil. An examination of what actually caused the jewish exodus from Iraq disproves his thesis.

        I ask you the same question I asked yonira – Aren’t you OUTRAGED that jews were bombing jews?

        Zionism (and by extension Israel) was supposed to be about safety and sanctuary for jews but instead it consumed and often destroyed the lives of arab jews. Iraqi jew Naeim Giladi is worth reading about if you have any doubts:

        link to

      • Richard Witty
        May 13, 2010, 6:12 am

        In the 30′s and 40′s, there was no Israel, just harrassment of Jews in Iraq. It was not the demonstration of co-existence between Muslims and Jews that is paraded, nor the demonstration of the religious invocation to provide Jews with sanctuary.

        The setting was decades of violent harrassment, independant of Zionism.

        In 1948, the harrassment multiplied, not orchestrated by Zionists, but by Iraqi state and Iraqi community.

        In 1951, there were a couple incidents that some claim were done by Zionists, some claim that some of the incidents were by Zionists, some claim that none.

        They are still the “last straw”, not the general condition.

        Even your thesis, that they left voluntarily, is rational to me, that they observed the prospect of a life of persecution (whether that persecution was stimulated by the presence of Israel is irrelevant) versus the life of some liberty, and reasoned that a life of liberty was preferable.

        I hear nothing from you objecting to the actual prejudicial, violently prejudicial prospects of the Baghdadi and other Iraqi Jews.

        I’m not sure what valid point you have.

  10. MHughes976
    May 12, 2010, 4:55 pm

    I’ve a couple of different reservations about Barghouti’s argument, much as I admire Barghouti.
    The predominant sentiment among us Euros, I think, is more holocaust self-righteousness that h-guilt, though self-righteousness may here, as often, be a mask for guilt. But we mostly believe stories, true or false, about being on the right side in WW2, ‘standing alone’ in the British version, which probably shades into the American ideology. Manifest guilt would be exhausted eventually – ‘our sin is expiated, you cannot ask for more’. But a self-righteous feeling of being Hitler’s willing enemies and therefore being for ever friends of Hitler’s main victims is less subject to willing re-examination than guilt is and so, I guess, is more enduring.
    On another level, UK law would say that if you adopt a policy which makes no reference to members of a certain race, but would predominantly disadvantage members of that race, you are guilty of racial discrimination. If you do something which generally disadvantages Chinese people, you’re anti-Chinese. I don’t want to make too much of the law of our smallish country, but the underlying idea seems to have some moral force. So what if we want to boycott China because of Tibet? What if we want to boycott Israel because of Palestine? The negative effects of the action would be felt disproportionately by Chinese or Jewish people, would in some undeniable way be anti- them.
    Not a half or a tenth as anti-anyone as Israeli policies are anti-Palestinian, I’d agree.
    I don’t say that any of this is an insuperable objection to BDS, but I don’t see that the kinds of fact to which Barghouti appeals – that no one thinks that all Jewish people are on the same side, that some of those people would actually be among the most enthusiastic sanctioners, that some who were sanctioned would not be Jewish – answers the objection in a completely crystal clear fashion. Most of the people who would be affected and alienated would be Jewish.

    • Shmuel
      May 13, 2010, 1:44 am


      Britain is different. You did not have racial laws, occupation, collaboration, deportations or camps. Believe me, on this side of the Channel, we have Holocaust guilt, and it directly influences attitudes to Israel.

      Regarding your point about racism, I am not familiar with UK law, but it strikes me as rather absurd. BDS is aimed at a state, its institutions and its policies. It is not aimed at individual citizens of that country, and it is not aimed at members of the same religious/ethnic group in other countries. Were the sanctions against Apartheid South Africa racist against whites? Is a boycott of China or Turkey or Sudan or Iran or France (yes, I’ve done that too – over nuclear testing) necessarily racist?

  11. Stephanie Westbrook
    May 12, 2010, 5:25 pm

    Great post, Shmuel. You captured the event perfectly.

  12. David Samel
    May 12, 2010, 10:06 pm

    Thanks for the report, Shmuel. The extended Barghouti clan seems to be quite impressive. Omar does indeed seem to have a razor-sharp intellect and focus.

    • rachel
      May 12, 2010, 10:24 pm

      Omar does indeed seem to have a razor-sharp intellect and focus.

      You are so easily impressed by a master propagandist no less.

      • yonira
        May 12, 2010, 10:28 pm


        who is your favorite Barghouti?

  13. rachel
    May 12, 2010, 10:33 pm

    None! And you?

    • yonira
      May 12, 2010, 10:39 pm

      Probably Marwan, he’s in jail. I applaud your handing it to Shingo btw, you pwned him (if you were not in your 80s you’d probably be more familiar with that term)

  14. rachel
    May 12, 2010, 10:44 pm

    pwned him ? You mean punked him?

  15. rachel
    May 12, 2010, 10:47 pm

    “if you were not in your 80s you’d probably be more familiar with that term”

    Hey, I am very cool! I know lots of happening words! For shizzle, my nizzle. Or am I dating myself, here?

    • yonira
      May 12, 2010, 10:49 pm

      LOL, very funny rachel, no i think that is still hip to say.

      • Chu
        May 13, 2010, 9:06 am

        you guys are a real hoot…
        for shizzle??? real cool… dudes….

        What a nerd festival you two delight in.

  16. yonira
    May 12, 2010, 10:47 pm

    link to

    punked works too :)

  17. thankgodimatheist
    May 12, 2010, 10:53 pm

    If Barghouti has impressed Shmuel I can imagine how impressive Barghouti must be. I wish we can see him as the elected Palestinian leader. He seems to have it all put together to lead .
    btw, very much thanks Shmuey!

    • rachel
      May 12, 2010, 10:59 pm

      Inshallah, when he finishes his PHD in ethics (cough, cough) at Tel Aviv University, the same university he wants Atwood to boycott, he can ran for office in the virtual country of Mondostate.

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 12, 2010, 11:20 pm

        Nurse Milderd Ratched Rachel is talking to me? What caused me this honor? Not very busy at the Cuckoo Nest, Mrs. Ratched?

      • Red
        May 13, 2010, 9:05 am

        Rachel, perhaps you should actually take the time to educate yourself about the BDS campaign and how it relates to Palestinians inside ’48 (Israel), rather making smart alec comments which simply end up revealing your ignorance.
        link to

        “Palestinians, like any people under apartheid or colonial rule, have insisted on their rights, including their right to education, even if the only venues available were apartheid or colonial institutions. Nelson Mandela studied law at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, one of the most notorious apartheid institutes then. Similarly, leaders of the anti-colonial resistance movement in India and Egypt, among many other countries, received their education at British universities at the height of the colonial era.

        PACBI has always made a distinction between the forms and range of academic boycott it urges the world to adopt and what Palestinians themselves can implement. The former have a moral choice to boycott Israeli universities in order to hold them accountable for their shameful, multifaceted complicity in perpetuating the occupation and racist policies of the state; the latter are often left with no choice but to use the services of the oppressive state, to which they pay taxes”.

  18. rachel
    May 12, 2010, 10:54 pm

    pwned! Ok . I get it. Thanks for the link. Never heard the word before! I guess I am not as cool as I thought! But then again , I don’t play video games!
    BTW, I am not in my 80′s -:)

    • yonira
      May 12, 2010, 10:57 pm

      yes, i know ;) if you were you’d be a pretty hip granny though ;)

      • rachel
        May 12, 2010, 11:06 pm

        Hey, thanks, Yonira. Anyways. Ciao, off to bed!

  19. Walid
    May 13, 2010, 1:38 am

    Sumud, back on March 28th, you and TGIA went through the same exercise trying to convince Yonira about Jews having bombed other Jews and got the same silence in return; it contradicts the folklore of all the Jews having been expelled from Arab countries. In Lebanon after the 48 war, the Jewish population actually increased and continued increasing until the late sixties. Most of the Lebanese Jews left for Europe and the Americas at the same time as other Lebanese were leaving for better economic opportunities elsewhere. A large number of Jews left after the Israeli shelling of the Magen Avraham synagogue in 1982 in a repeat of what you wrote about having happened in Baghdad to spook the Jews into fleeing. What is special about the Jews of Lebanon is that in addition to having contributed money to the war effort against the Zionists in 48, those that eventually left held their noses at Israel. In Tunisia, 8 years after the 48 war, there were still over 50,000 Jews in Tunisia and at Tunisia’s independence, they were offered French or Israeli citizenship and only half took the Israeli one. Yehouda Shenhav also wrote that the Zionist claim of Jews having been all expelled from Arab countries at Israel’s creation was bogus.

    About the synagogue in Beirut, the full restoration will be completed in a few months:

    link to!

    • thankgodimatheist
      May 13, 2010, 2:13 am

      It seems the principle of ‘cui bono’ ( who benefits from the crime) is strangely lost in the minds of those who propagate the idea that Jews were massively expelled from Arab countries (though some were to be honest). But when one asks the question who benefits from the crime the answer is quite obvious! Who if not Israel? Who more than Israel wanted the Jews of the world to gather in the newly established country? Who was desperate to increase the population and tip the demographic balance in favor of the Jewish one?

      • Walid
        May 13, 2010, 3:10 am

        From the article you posted (Magic Carpet), the game wasn’t really so much about goosing up the number of Jews to fill the void left by the expelled Palestinians as much as it was about laying the foundation for an offsetting claim that would eventually arise by the expelled 700,000 Palestinians and as aburd as it sounds, it seems to have gelled in the minds of most Jews. Even if the claim that they were expelled by the 10 or so Arab countries was right, what is there to justify the Jews saying that the Palestinians alone should be made to pay for it? Of course, some Jews were unjustly expelled and their properties were confiscated but these would have a valid claim against specific countries like Egypt, Yemen and so on but not against the Palestinians. Palistinians had nothing to do with Jews being expelled from Egypt or Yemen. It’s as you said about keeping us busy on the defensive dodging all these absurdities being thrown out.

        I’m for Jews making claims about having been expelled and having had property confictaed by Arab countries but the Zionists are adamantly against such actions as it undermines the counterclaim they have in store to offset similar claims by the Palestinians against Israel. It’s odd though that in 2004 and contrary to what appears as Zionist policy, the American government had a hand with the drafting of claims procedures by the 100,000 Iraqi Jews for eventual compensation by the Iraqi government and I’m wondering if the US would be as helpful in helping the Palestinians in the same way. The Iraqi Property Claim Commission had offices in 10 US cities:

        link to

  20. Walid
    May 13, 2010, 4:01 am

    Richard, you seem interested in the history of the Jews of Iraq but you are reading from sources that aren’t telling you the full story of what happened. There was collusion between the Zionists (as usual) and some Iraqi government officials to help with the emptying of the Jews from Iraq. There was some of TGIA’s “cui bono” in this story. Here is a short piece from a very comprehensive recounting to what happened:

    … the Iraqi government had passed the Denaturalisation Act, which allowed Jews to emigrate provided they renounced their citizenship, and gave them a year to decide whether to do so. Al-Suwaida (Iraq’s Prime Minister) expected that between seven and ten thousand Jews would leave out of a community of about 125,000, but a mysterious bombing in Baghdad on the last day of Passover, near a café frequented by Jews, caused panic, and the numbers registering soon outstripped his estimate. The position of the Jews in Iraq had been deteriorating with alarming speed ever since the outbreak of the Arab-Israeli war in 1948: they were seen as a stalking horse for the Zionists in Palestine, and were increasingly rewarded for their expressions of loyalty to Iraq with suspicion, threats and arbitrary physical assaults. By the spring of 1950 the question was when, not whether to leave, and on 9 May NEAT (Near East Air Transport) signed a contract with the Iraqi government to organise their departure.

    For Richard Armstrong and NEAT, the uprooting of the Middle East’s most ancient Jewish community was not a mere business transaction: it was a mission. Armstrong was really Shlomo (né Selim) Hillel, an Iraqi-born Mossad agent; NEAT was secretly owned by the Jewish Agency; and Israel, not Cyprus, was the refugees’ ultimate destination. It’s unlikely that al-Suwaida and the minister of the interior, Saleh Jabr, were fooled. Hillel claimed to be the ‘swarthy-skinned son’ of a British colonial official who’d worked in India, but he didn’t look much like an Armstrong. And he’d been arrested a few years earlier in Baghdad, where, under the alias Fuad Salah, he’d been training Zionist militants in attics and cellars. But if the Iraqis knew who he was, they didn’t call his bluff: they owned shares in the tourism agency in Baghdad through which NEAT had chosen to operate, and stood to benefit from the deal. ‘We parted on the most cordial terms,’ Hillel remembered in his memoir, Operation Babylon. By the end of 1952, almost all of Iraq’s Jews had fled, in what Mossad called Operation Ezekiel and Nehemiah.

    For Adam Shatz’ full book review of Memories of Eden: A Journey through Jewish Baghdad by Violette Shamash:

    link to

    • thankgodimatheist
      May 13, 2010, 4:55 am

      Thanks Walid for this very valuable source.

      • Walid
        May 13, 2010, 6:40 am

        Sorry I omitted that the LRB also coverd a second book:

        Baghdad, Yesterday: The Making of an Arab Jew by Sasson Somekh
        Ibis, 186 pp, £9.50, November 2007, ISBN 978 965 90125 8 9

        Here are bits and pieces from the review covering Somekh’s book some of which clearly describe that the Iraqi Jews were not expelled but had been yanked out by Israel:

        -The freezing of Palestinian assets by the Israeli government and the arrival in Iraq of eight thousand Palestinian refugees in the summer of 1948 did nothing to calm things. Responding to a wave of popular anger, the Iraqi government declared Zionism a capital offence, fired Jews in government positions and, invoking Stalin’s support of partition, found another pretext to round up Communists of all sects.

        -Mossad’s objective was not to improve the position of the Jews in Iraq, but to hasten their departure. Pamphlets appeared discouraging Jews from mixing with Arabs, and arguing that any attempt to do so ‘leads to butchery’.

        -The Israeli government circulated stories about Iraqi ‘pogroms’ and ‘concentration camps’ and denounced the hanging of seven Jews charged with Zionist activism in March 1949 – executions that Mossad’s own agents in Baghdad insisted had never occurred. Unless Iraqi Jews were allowed to emigrate, Israel warned, it would back armed resistance to al-Said’s government, or find itself unable to prevent Iraqi Jews already in Israel from killing Palestinians in revenge. The Israelis also began to promote the idea of a ‘sorting out’ of populations, involving a swap of Iraqi Jews for an equal number of Palestinian refugees, an idea quietly encouraged by the Foreign Office

        -‘Why didn’t someone come to see us instead of negotiating with Israel to take in Iraqi Jews?’ the chief rabbi of Baghdad, Sasson Khedourie, wondered. ‘Why didn’t someone point out that the solid, responsible leadership of Iraqi Jews believed this to be their country – in good times and bad – and we were convinced the trouble would pass?’ Iraq’s Jews, who had tended to wait for trouble to pass, had to be pushed into leaving. And pushed they were, in a series of attacks which began with the Abu Nawas bombing in April 1950 and resumed in 1951, as the deadline to register to leave Iraq approached. It’s long been rumoured – and many Iraqi Jews fiercely believe it – that Israeli agents orchestrated these bombings in order to drive the Jews to emigrate, though there is no proof of Mossad’s responsibility, or of anyone else’s.

        -Somekh flew to Israel on 21 March 1951 with two hundred other Jews. Their ‘exile’ had ended, but he ‘saw no one kneeling down to kiss the sacred ground’. Before they could leave the plane, passengers were told to remain seated while a man sprayed them with DDT – a greeting none of them forgot. They landed in Lydda, where, on 13 July 1948, Israeli forces led by Yitzhak Rabin had driven more than thirty thousand Palestinians from their homes in one of the largest, most brutal expulsions of the war. Scores of refugees from Lydda and the neighbouring town of Ramleh died of hunger and thirst on the forced march eastwards to Ramallah. The towns were looted afterwards, their homes occupied: scenes with which the Jews who remembered the farhud were all too familiar.

        -Somekh was temporarily held at an absorption camp on the coast near Haifa, while immigration officials decided which transit camp he would be sent to – a process known as siddur. He hated the word, since it ‘sounded very much like the Arabic tasdir, which means “the exporting of goods”. We angrily protested the fact that overnight we had been transformed from people into goods, imported and exported by Yiddish-speaking clerks.’ The transit camps were open-air holding centres with tents made of corrugated tin: ‘We lived in palaces and they put us in tents,’ the novelist Samir Nakkash recalls in Forget Baghdad, an arresting documentary about Iraqi-Jewish writers in Israel. But it wasn’t the conditions that caused the Iraqi Jews to despair so much as the denigration of their culture in Ashkenazi-dominated Israel. That Abraham and Jonah had lived in Mesopotamia was irrelevant to Ben-Gurion: ‘we don’t want Israelis to become Arabs,’ he said with his usual bluntness, and the Iraqi Jews were dangerously close to being Arabs in Israel.

  21. Richard Witty
    May 13, 2010, 5:41 am

    “Richard, you seem interested in the history of the Jews of Iraq but you are reading from sources that aren’t telling you the full story of what happened. There was collusion between the Zionists (as usual) and some Iraqi government officials to help with the emptying of the Jews from Iraq. ”

    I’m certain that at some points there was some collusion to get Jews to migrate. I’m equally certain that that was minor, maybe a last straw, but not the first 1000 straws.

    • Walid
      May 13, 2010, 6:22 am

      Richard, you insist on staying bogged and fogged in the Farhud that you seem to think account for most of those 1000 straws. Here’s a bit on it from another viewpoint, taken from the London Review linked above; it should be clear to you that although the violence against the Jews was committed by the Iraqi Arabs, the strings were being pulled by the British and this is the second opinion saying practically the same thing but if you are still not convinced, I’ll provide more:

      The British invasion, however, led to the worst assault on Jewish life and property in the history of Iraq, the farhud (‘breakdown of law and order’) of June 1941. Despite threats from al-Gailani’s supporters that the Jews would be punished for ‘treason’, the British refused to secure the capital. ‘There will be many people killed if our troops do not enter,’ one intelligence officer warned, but Cornwallis ordered British soldiers to remain on the outskirts of Baghdad when the regent returned. The presence of British bayonets, he argued, would be ‘lowering to the dignity of our ally’. To preserve the fiction that Britain had not so much occupied Iraq as restored its legitimate government, defeated but fully armed Golden Square soldiers were permitted to enter Baghdad, singly rather than in formation. It was 1 June, the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

      As these soldiers crossed the Khir Bridge to the western side of Baghdad that morning, they passed small groups of Jews walking in the opposite direction after prayer services to welcome the regent. They were furious to see the Jews in all their finery, and since it was Sunday, not the Jewish Sabbath, they assumed they had dressed up for the regent. The Jews were set upon, first with fists, then knives. The farhud continued for two days, an orgy of murder, rape and arson that left two hundred Jews and a number of Muslims dead. Most Jews hid in their basements; some, like Shamash’s family, were given shelter by Muslim neighbours. No help came from the British, who remained on the right bank of the Tigris, out of respect for Iraqi sovereignty

      • Richard Witty
        May 13, 2010, 6:31 am

        Don’t blame the British for Iraqi persecution of Jews.

        That is really lame.

        It extended for decades, not just a single incident, though the incident obviously created a setting of fear for a long time.

        Your thesis was that the persecution of Jews was the result of Zionism, that absent Zionism, Muslims confidently co-exist with Jews.

        In real life, it didn’t turn out to be true, and doesn’t remain true.

        I get that many Muslims helped many Jews. The same happened in Europe. My mother-in-law survived because a Hungarian family adopted her and her sister and brother and taught them how to assimilate into a village for the last month of the war.

      • Walid
        May 13, 2010, 7:04 am

        No Richard, yopu wouldn’t accept blaming anyone else but the Arabs for what happened to the Jews, Haj Husseini and all because this is what you have been indoctrinated to think. If you want to take it back further than the single Farhud incident you are now hanging on to, we can go back to the 1890s and the first mention of the plan to rid Palestine of its Arab inhabitants to make it exclusively Jewish and they weren’t using the Biblical gimmick back then either. Before your mother-in-law was sheltered by the Hungarian family, the Arabs in Hebron had sheltered 75% of Hebron’s Jews when the riots broke out there and the Arab king of Morocco had sheltered the whole Jewish community from the Nazis. I already mentioned that the number of Jews in Lebanon actually increased after the 48 war broke out and continued increasing over the next 20 years.

        Of course things weren’t always sugar’n’spice between Arabs and Jews everywhere but this is a natural thing. Today you have differences between Jews and Jews in Israel too.

        Arabs don’t hate Jews, they just hate thieving and murdering Zionists. Show me one that isn’t and I’ll respect him like I do other Jews.

      • Richard Witty
        May 13, 2010, 7:55 am

        Don’t exagerate my comments to fit your definition of either Zionists or preconceptions of me.

        The Iraqi Muslims were not heroes relative to offering the shelter to Jews that they profess. That is also worth your attention.

        The consequence of that, implemented by incidents of terror over an extended period of time, do not give Israelis confidence of the intention of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims.

        If you want a different model, a different reality, work for it. Don’t let my comments deter you from consistent decency and respect, as I try not to let yours deter me in real life.

      • Donald
        May 13, 2010, 8:21 am

        “The consequence of that, implemented by incidents of terror over an extended period of time, do not give Israelis confidence of the intention of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims.”

        Which is it? Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims? Are they just an indistinguishable mass?

        Anyway, as far as Palestinians are concerned, it’s just human nature for the Israelis to hate the people they drove out to form their state. It’s an unpleasant aspect of human nature, but one sees this all the time. The political Zionists came and while some lied to themselves about this, it was clear they couldn’t form a Jewish state without some degree of ethnic cleansing–this rather obvious fact stirred up resistance and hatred and then the Israelis pretend to themselves that they are a peace loving group surrounded by violent lunatics who won’t leave them alone, even as they continue to steal land and kill.

        “If you want a different model, a different reality, work for it. Don’t let my comments deter you from consistent decency and respect, as I try not to let yours deter me in real life.”

        You don’t show respect here. You use soft language, but it’s a pretty thin disguise for passive aggressive behavior and trolling. You generally ignore points you can’t answer and when you do say you “hear” someone, you usually restate that person’s position in an inaccurate way in a condescending tone or you simply lie about what they’ve said. I don’t think you know how to show real respect or alternatively you don’t want to. It might be a bit of both.

        This my daily Witty post. Actually, this one could probably just be repeated indefinitely.

      • Shmuel
        May 13, 2010, 8:28 am

        Donald: This my daily Witty post.

        Don’t think your efforts have gone unnoticed. You are a rock :-)

      • David Samel
        May 13, 2010, 8:46 am

        Donald, I often feel that your posts were magically plagiarized from my mind, and once again, your paragraph on human nature eloquently states my thoughts. I think this self-delusion lies at the heart of the conflict.

      • Chu
        May 13, 2010, 9:03 am

        Donald, I’m glad you have the endurance to read and respond to Witty’s soft-peddled lies. I usually just avoid his posts all together. It’s the same canned response from him, and rarely is there a solid post he writes that actually changes my opinion. He’s a waste of time and he is far from a liberal –
        he just likes to say he is.

      • Richard Witty
        May 13, 2010, 3:00 pm

        And, what exactly do you regard as “lies”.

        A lie could be what you don’t believe is true,
        What isn’t true,
        or saying that I misrepresent my own understanding.

        If I accurately present my own understanding, then your assertion that I am confused may be accurate, or it may be entirely innaccurate.

        I will never give up on the Jewish people, and their current intention to self-govern in Israel. If there is an intersection between that and Palestinian aspiration, then there is a possibility of peace between reasonable people.

        If there is none, then there is only either/or, and each of will have to pick which community we sanction to ethnically cleanse the other.

        Is that your goal? Its not mine.

  22. thankgodimatheist
    May 13, 2010, 6:04 am

    Jordan Union To Fight For Boycott of Israel

    The Professional Associations Complex in Jordan is holding a campaign to ensure that the Jordanian markets do not carry any Israeli products. The campaign, For A Jordan Without Israeli Products, was launched as the Palestinians prepare to mark the 62nd anniversary of the Nakba.
    The Complex stated that the campaign is also meant to counter what it called “the ongoing Zionist threats to Jordan”.

  23. Walid
    May 13, 2010, 7:41 am

    TGIA, can’t help thinking there is something fishy in this. Without thinking badly of Jordanians that are beautiful people, the past history of collusion between the Hachemites and the Zionists make me suspicious. Maybe this Jordanian king is for real but I love the idea and I hope nothing stops it from happening and succeeding.

    • Richard Witty
      May 13, 2010, 7:57 am

      I think it is impossible that the King of Jordan advocates for a boycott of Israeli goods, as there are multiple joint ventures between Israeli and Jordanian firms, including some outsourcing of customer service operations from Israeli and American firms based in Israel.

      • aparisian
        May 13, 2010, 8:13 am

        For once i agree with Witty. Arabs have their responsibility in the Palestinian suffering. They don’t learn from their history, British abused them in 1948, and they kept sucking, same with the US and they keep following as good puppets.

  24. Walid
    May 13, 2010, 11:51 am

    Richard, you are reinforcing my doubts. The American taxpayers are annually dishing out a billion to Israel and almost another billion to Jordan for having made peace with each other when they were never at a serious state of war. Jordan too has some restless natives of its own and maybe the king is powerless to stop the boycott. Over 70% of Jordanians have roots in Palestine and probably don’t give a damn about the deals with Israel.

    • Richard Witty
      May 13, 2010, 12:07 pm

      It depends on what you want, what your goal is.

      If your goal is political perfection to some single theme, then you’ll probably only consider BDS and only in the limited, undisciplined and unpleasant form that it still exists (even clarifying “institutions”, of course with exceptions for individuals noted in a further paragraph).

      If your goal is a single state, there is really no action that will make that happen in a couple decades (short of continuing Netanyahu stupidity, I guess that is something to work for?)

      If your goal is improvement in current and future Palestinian lives, then creating the conditions by which a successful negotiation can occur is pre-eminent. Any agitation, scapegoating, would be minimized, deferred if not renounced.

      If it takes appealing to the hundreds of millions of liberal (not radical) Europeans and the hundreds of millions of liberal (not radical) Americans and Canadians, including the majority of Jews that are liberal (not radical), then you’d have to pay attention to reaching that audience.

      To go after the converted, or to stick to stratospheric political consistency (consistent to one of a dozen valid narratives, comprising a non-dogmatic history), will delay Palestinian improvement.

      Again, there are very few policies that can only be addressed negatively. Such as settlement expansion. Even the blockade can be addressed through imaginative positive approaches AND language.

      Although it might serve the movement for a dozen Congress members to go down with a sinking ship, it would be a tragedy not worth the price. Sorry to be so tribal as to only refer to American Congress.

      • Walid
        May 13, 2010, 1:34 pm

        This isn’t Mondoweiss, this is the Twilight Zone.

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