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Israeli hasbara effort– ‘Justice for Jewish refugees from Arab countries’– gets pushback from Baghdadi Jews

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As the assault on Palestinian’s existence marches on, Israel’s foreign ministry is up to it’s ol’ tricks again. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon’s latest hasbara campaign is for ‘Justice for Jewish refugees from Arab countries‘.

Unsurprisingly the campaign is designed to “legitimately” absolve the Israeli government of responsibility for compensating Palestinian refugees, the reiteration of a plan that been around since before Israel’s founding, resuscitated in the 1970’s and again at the turn of the century.

Well here’s a fresh statement from the Ramat Gan Committee of Baghdadi Jews, utterly rejecting the effort.  

A) We most sincerely thank the Israeli government for confirming our status as refugees following a rapid, 62-year-long evaluation of our documents.

B) We request that Ashkenazi Jews are also recognized as refugees so that they won’t consider sending to our homes the courteous officers of the Oz immigration enforcement unit.

C) We are seeking to demand compensation for our lost property and assets from the Iraqi government – NOT from the Palestinian Authority – and we will not agree with the option that compensation for our property be offset by compensation for the lost property of others (meaning, Palestinian refugees) or that said compensation be transferred to bodies that do not represent us (meaning, the Israeli government).

D) We demand the establishment of an investigative committee to examine: 1) if and by what means negotiations were carried out in 1950 between Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri as-Said, and if Ben-Gurion informed as-Said that he is authorized to take possession of the property and assets of Iraqi Jewry if he agreed to send them to Israel; 2) who ordered the bombing of the Masouda Shem-Tov synagogue in Baghdad, and if the Israeli Mossad and/or its operatives were involved. If it is determined that Ben-Gurion did, in fact, carry out negotiations over the fate of Iraqi Jewish property and assets in 1950, and directed the Mossad to bomb the community’s synagogue in order to hasten our flight from Iraq, we will file a suit in an international court demanding half of the sum total of compensation for our refugee status from the Iraqi government and half from the Israeli government.

E) Blessings for a happy new year, a year of peace and prosperity, a year of tranquility and fertility.

~ The Ramat Gan Committee of Baghdadi Jews

These “Jewish refugees from Arab countries” are Mizrahi, Arab Jews who now compromise 50% of Israel’s population. Barak Ravid at Haaretz states the intent of the “refugees” campaign:

It is in Israel’s interest to create a connection between the issues of the Jewish and Palestinian refugees, the document said, so Israel should present them as a single issue in all negotiations. “It’s necessary to instill the duality of the term refugee into international discourse. Linking these issues will serve Israel in the negotiations.”

Specifically, it said, such linkage would deter excessive claims on behalf of the Palestinian refugees, or at least moderate them.

Lara Friedman’s Exploiting Jews from Arab Countries and Ben White’s A new hasbara campaign: Countering the ‘Arab Narrative’ both provide excellent overviews of the campaign. It began in earnest in 1975, with the founding of the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC)–“as a deterrent to block claims harbored by the Palestinian national movement”.

Yehouda Shenhav explains how the term “Jewish refugee”,  pertaining to Mizrahi Jews, first originated in an article titled, Hitching a ride on the magic carpet:

The WOJAC figure who came up with the idea of “Jewish refugees” was Yaakov Meron, head of the Justice Ministry’s Arab legal affairs department. Meron propounded the most radical thesis ever devised concerning the history of Jews in Arab lands. He claimed Jews were expelled from Arab countries under policies enacted in concert with Palestinian leaders – and he termed these policies “ethnic cleansing.” … Meron claimed that Zionism had relied on romantic, borrowed phrases (“Magic Carpet,” “Operation Ezra and Nehemiah”) in the description of Mizrahi immigration waves to conceal the “fact” that Jewish migration was the result of “Arab expulsion policy.” In a bid to complete the analogy drawn between Palestinians and Mizrahi Jews, WOJAC publicists claimed that the Mizrahi immigrants lived in refugee camps in Israel during the 1950s (i.e., ma’abarot or transit camps), just like the Palestinian refugees.

The organization’s claims infuriated many Mizrahi Israelis who defined themselves as Zionists. As early as 1975, at the time of WOJAC’s formation, Knesset speaker Yisrael Yeshayahu declared: “We are not refugees. [Some of us] came to this country before the state was born. We had messianic aspirations.”

The idea of exchanging Palestinian property claims for those of Mizrahi’s has been around since the founding of the state. In Yehouda Shenhav’s must read article  What do Palestinians and Arab-Jews Have in Common?, he writes:

Police Minister Behor Shitrit was the first, in March 1949, to raise the question of the “situation of Iraq’s Jews” in the cabinet.(8) Shitrit said he was worried about the situation of the Jews in Iraq after Zionism had been outlawed; at one stage, he proposed that the property of Israeli Arabs be held hostage for Jewish property in Iraq. This idea, however, was rejected out of hand by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. (Segev, 1984: 96) In September 1949, Shitrit again raised what he called “the problem of the Jews in the Arab lands” in the cabinet. He asked whether the Foreign Ministry had taken steps to assist them: “… I would like to know if there is any way to abet their rescue…if it is possible to arrive at some agreement on a ‘transfer’ [emphasis added] in terms of both property and people, and to take up the matter with the UN institutions and inform the world…”(9) In this discussion, Sharett for the first time spoke about Jewish property in the Arab countries. He cited the absence of a peace treaty with Iraq as the reason for his negative attitude toward possible cooperation with the government in Baghdad:

To address at this time the question of transferring the property of Jews to Israel – that would be naive. We are talking about an agreement, about establishing peace, and we are not budging – will we suddenly succeed in removing the question of the Jews from that framework and getting the Arab states to accept an agreement regarding the Jews who reside in those countries? I am not blessed with that kind of diplomatic skill! Such thinking is quixotic.(10)

For the sake of balance, Sharett did not forget to point out that hundreds of families had arrived in Israel from Egypt and were being provided with housing by the government. It was apparently not by chance that Sharett linked these new arrivals with Palestinian property in Israel: “I met one of these families which had already settled in one of the abandoned villages – people who had come from Egypt just a day or two before.” Sharett’s linkage of Jewish property and Arab property, here presented only associatively, would in time be developed into an ideological thesis and official practice of the Israeli government.

Quixotic indeed. Too bad it didn’t end with Shitrit’s 1949 statement.  This has been a relentless campaign from the get go. When Haaretz’s Ravid seeks to frame this as a recent initiative– “For decades, Israel has refrained from raising the issue of the Jewish refugees” –he defies history.

More Shenhav:

[A] raison d’état it enabled the Israeli government to “legitimately” absolve itself of responsibility for compensating the Palestinian refugees (4). Moreover, Israel’s nationalization of the identity and property of Iraq’s Jews in its relentless drive to articulate Jewish nationalism served as a bargaining policy with which to deny Palestinian nationality. This article confirms that the Jews of Iraq became an instrument in a decision-making process from which they were excluded and which rested on basic assumptions they did not necessarily share. Furthermore, I draw on another source of archival data in order to document how WOJAC (World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries) responded to the theory employed by the Israeli State. WOJAC strove to facilitate the linkage between the property of Iraqi Jews and the property of the Palestinian refugees. But, as it turned out, the organization’s non-Israeli members challenged these assumptions and developed a form of resistance against them.


Iraq was an important station in the land transfer of Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe, who had reached the Soviet-Iranian border. In order to secure their entry into Palestine, it was essential to have permanent assistance along a route on which Iraq and Iran were major stations (Meir, 1973). The Zionist movement in Europe therefore maintained that it was essential to establish a Zionist center in Iraq. A second reason for taking an interest in Iraqi Jewry presented itself when the leaders of the Yishuv grasped the scale of the Holocaust and realized that European Jewry was cut off: to improve the Jewish demographic balance in Palestine. (Meir, 1993) Like Jews from other Islamic countries, the Jews of Iraq were considered a key population reservoir that could tilt the demographic balance in Palestine in the Jews’ favor. The geographical proximity between Iraq and Palestine was considered an exploitable advantage: “It is easier [for us] to get there… and for them, too, it is easier to reach the Land of Israel.”(6)

The possibility that Iraq’s Jews could remain in their native land – the so-called “Iraqi option” (Qazzaz, 1991) – was rendered unfeasible

(Hat tip Omar Barghouti)

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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102 Responses

  1. Dexter
    September 16, 2012, 2:48 pm

    Very nice Annie.

    Avi Shlaim said that Arab Jewish immigration to Israel was largely the result of a systematic campaign by the Israeli state to increase its Jewish population, and took place over a 30 year span — i.e. there was not ethnic cleansing of Jews by Arab states.

    • tokyobk
      September 16, 2012, 9:21 pm

      Except for the Jews of Libya and Algeria who had their citizenship revoked in the 60’s etc… Some left the ME and North Africa for Zionism, some for opportunity, some to flee local violence, some expelled. The emptying of thousands of years old Jewish communities in this part of the world is a tragedy whomever you blame. You either think these types of things have a a wider context, are complicated, are brought on by the people themselves (sound familiar?) or you reject ethnic cleansing across the board. Tens of thousands were cleansed as a low estimate, even if Shlaim is right about most Iraqi Jews (and I don’t think he is).

      • Dexter
        September 17, 2012, 4:38 am

        Unlike Zionist hypocrites, I reject ethnic cleansing across the board. So if Arab Jews — who let’s remember were ARABS before Zionism stripped them of their Arab identity — have a grievance against their respective countries of origin, I support their right to take up that grievance legally. The Palestinian refugees have done so and have a legal (and moral) right of return to their homeland. I therefore support the right of Arab Jews in Israel to return to their countries of origin.

        But let’s be serious for a moment: we all know Israel’s true goal here is to offset the Palestinian refugee question by exploiting the Jewish refugee question.

  2. seafoid
    September 16, 2012, 2:51 pm

    Israel shouldn’t try to reopen 1948. When the light gets in it won’t be good for Zionism.
    If they really want compo,go after Poland.

    • pjdude
      September 17, 2012, 4:08 am

      so you won’t to blame a country that did regain total independence until the late 80’s? blame russia or germany as occupiers but not poland

      • seafoid
        September 17, 2012, 12:42 pm

        Kielce 1946
        Poland and its Jews is a very sad story.
        Blaming the Nazis doesn’t work for 1946
        Poland could have done with its Jews in the 90s but of course there were none left.

      • pjdude
        September 19, 2012, 7:29 pm

        poland wasn’t a free country in 46. and I wasn’t blaming the nazis. I was blaming the soviets you know who installed a puppet regime in poland.

        oh and mention the 46 pogrom only helps prove my point. hell their is a theory that the communist puppet government incited the riot to discredit the legitiamte government in exile.

  3. amigo
    September 16, 2012, 3:16 pm

    Will someone rid us of these monsters.

    • Mooser
      September 16, 2012, 3:58 pm

      “Will someone rid us of these monsters.”

      Careful, one guy said that about a turbulent priest, and never lived it down.

  4. ColinWright
    September 16, 2012, 3:16 pm

    So let them have it. The members of the Arab League can agree that any Jew who wants to return to an Arab country may do so if Palestinians are allowed to return to Palestine.

    They can even agree that Jews who fled Arab countries may reclaim their property — if Palestinians may reclaim their land within Palestine.

    I don’t see the problem. Call this hypocritical bluff.

    • Walid
      September 17, 2012, 4:39 am

      “The members of the Arab League can agree that any Jew who wants to return to an Arab country may do so if Palestinians are allowed to return to Palestine.”

      Colin, you’re saying the opposite of the Ramat Gan group. Jews that left Arab countries should each make a separate claim to that country. Of course, Israel doesn’t want them to take this route because they need the total Arab Jewish numbers to offset them against the total number of Palestinians that Israel evicted. This Zionist offsetting strategy was exposed in detail by Shenhav in Annie’s Magic Carpet link.

      A couple of years back, there was a controversy raised in Israel, again by Iraqi Jews, that said they had come to Israel not because they had been chased away by Iraq but because they had come voluntarily to make their aliyah and Israel by calling them refugees, was depriving them of the meritorious value of their aliyah.

      Getting back to claims by Iraqi Jews, shortly after the Americans occupied Iraq, a movement was started in NYC on the internet by Iraqi Jews to register individual claims against Iraq. It was hoped hoped that the Americans that controlled Iraq would help them in reclaiming their properties. At the time Israel raised an objection about this effort because it went against the grain of its master plan to offset claims of Palestinian refugees against those by Jewish refugees. The Arab Jews came from 5 or 6 Arab countries, so claims by Jews should be addressed to the country in question. What the group in Ramat Gan is now doing is reviving one of Israel’s worst nightmares and the worst of it, they are saying that if anything comes from their claims, they want the monies to go to them individually and not to the state of Israel, as what happened with the holocaust reparations and Swiss Banks money.

      It’s worth mentioning that most Arab Jews did not end up in Israel because they were chased out, but because they had voluntarily left for religious reasons or because they were tricked into leaving by Israel or by some shady Arab leaders like those of Iraq that colluded with the Zionists. Just about the only country that actually had mass evictions of Jews was Egypt; mostly everywhere else, they were yanked out by Israel as part of the plan to steal the land.

  5. Mooser
    September 16, 2012, 3:22 pm

    “The organization’s claims infuriated many Mizrahi Israelis who defined themselves as Zionists. As early as 1975, at the time of WOJAC’s formation, Knesset speaker Yisrael Yeshayahu declared: “We are not refugees. [Some of us] came to this country before the state was born. We had messianic aspirations.”

    Some people just never know when to stop the out-Jewing, do they? His attitude is pretty funny, if you ask me. What kind of mentality is in a hurry to declare they played a voluntarily, motivated part in the dispossession of Palestine when they were offered the role of innocent victim?

  6. Shmuel
    September 16, 2012, 4:20 pm

    In honour of the Ramat Gan Committee of Baghdadi Jews and the High Holidays, here’s a Yom Kippur piyyut (liturgical poem) in the tradition of the Jews of Iraq:
    Piyyut by Moshe Ibn Ezra (Abu Harun Musa bin Ya’acub ibn Ezra; Spain, 11th-12th century)
    Music: maqam (Arabic musical mode) siga

    And one for Rosh Hashanah:

    Piyyut by Shelomo Ibn Gabirol (Abu Ayyūb Suleiman ibn Yahya ibn Jabirūl; Spain, 11th century)
    Music: maqam bayat

  7. seafoid
    September 16, 2012, 4:42 pm

    Jewish Cookery by Leah H Leonard, 1949

    “The Yemenite woman may live in a primitive dwelling and fetch water from a neighborhood well but her kitchen is strictly kosher. Her dinner generally consists of an eggplant dish, green salad, olives and dark bread. Plenty of olive oil and garlic is used in the preparation of her meals which are not examples of elaborate cuisine as a rule. ”

    They had to be dehumanised in order to be controlled.

    But it all went wrong in the 1977 election.

  8. seafoid
    September 16, 2012, 4:48 pm

    Surely the “world organisation of Jews from Arab countries” includes all the Jews who live in Erez Israel which is just a temporary moniker for Palestine.

  9. Blake
    September 16, 2012, 5:11 pm

    Cheap political point scoring and nothing to do with the Palestinians whatsoever. Root cause of the Jews from Arab countries plight: Political zionism.

  10. yourstruly
    September 16, 2012, 6:42 pm

    the Lavon affair in Egypt and the bombing of Baghdad’s Masouda Shem Tav synagogue – two false flag operations that intimided arab jews into emigrating from their native lands to Israel.

    • Walid
      September 17, 2012, 3:35 am

      About Israel’s false-flag operations, don’t forget the 1982 Israeli navy shelling of the Magen Avraham Synagogue in Beirut to “prod” Lebanese Jews unwilling to leave on the Israeli ships in the same way the synagogue and Jewish marketplace were bombed in Baghdad in the early 50s to prod Iraqi Jews that had been unwilling to leave. The Beirut synagogue repairs are now mostly completed. Acording to the head of Beirut’s Jewish community, about 2000 Jews return to Lebanon to vacation each summer.

      Details about the rebuilding of the synagogue and photos:

      • kamanja
        September 19, 2012, 5:58 am

        The news on this mashallahnews link is not so new, Walid. We’re now in September 2012. The synagogue’s busy facebook page disappeared in July 2012. Now there’s no recent news about Beirut’s Maghen Abraham anywhere on the internet except for reports from a few recent visitors to Beirut who were turned away from it by armed guards and others including Beirut residents who were told their cameras would be confiscated when they tried to photograph it from the outside. What happened?

      • Annie Robbins
        September 19, 2012, 3:13 pm

        kamanja, do you have a link about this report?

        here’s their facebook page:

        here’s their twitter, they seem active.

      • kamanja
        September 19, 2012, 6:15 pm

        A link to their facebook page, which appears several times if googled, leads to my own page for some reason. It used to lead to a page I’d “like”d a good while back. I enjoyed and reciprocated its goodwill messages regularly. They came from all over the world, often just Shabat greetings, sometimes but increasingly rarely, about the Synagogue and sometimes touching personal stories. I noticed its recent silence the other day and looked for it but it had disappeared despite the fact that google still comes up with the dud links to it.
        The twitter page I was not aware of, it’s called Wadi Abu Jmil which I didn’t think to look for, thanks for that. I tried to link to the facebook page from there too but got this each time:
        “The page you requested was not found.
        You may have clicked an expired link or mistyped the address. Some web addresses are case sensitive.
        • Return home
        • Go back to the previous page”

        I’d be curious to know whether the facebook site works for other people.

        The Jews of Lebanon website you mention was originally started by an active, enthusiastic, non-Jewish Lebanese who was studying in the USA. Then, about three years ago, it was taken over by what was claimed to be Lebanon’s Jewish Community and revamped into the time-wasting, weighty site it is today. It is not, to my knowledge, updated.

        Glad to have the twitter page though even if its links to facebook don’t work for me. Thanks again.

      • Walid
        September 19, 2012, 6:42 pm

        Kamanja, the article is from 15 months back eventhough the history of the Jews in Lebanon is an old one. The busy FB page you are referring to was started by a Lebanese Jew in Brooklyn, I remember it but I don’t know what happened to it but there are still a few others around one of which by the small Jewish community in Lebanon such the one linked by Annie. The part about security guards turning people away is true, but the whole downtown that’s being developed and managed by a private real estate company has security agents posted at every 100 meters. A license is required to film anywhere downtown. The synagogue has the fortune or the misfortune of being located about 50 meters from the downtown residence of the former Prime Minister, so the area is super secure and super sensitive to people with cameras. The al-Akhbar link below shows the view from the rear of the synagogue taken a couple of years back; the outside shell of the synagogue is complete and the new red roof is up. Work is still underway on the fine detail work on the inside.

      • Walid
        September 19, 2012, 7:07 pm

        “Then, about three years ago, it was taken over by what was claimed to be Lebanon’s Jewish Community and revamped into the time-wasting, weighty site it is today.” (Kamanja)

        Kamanja, nothing bogus about Lebanon’s Jewish Community. You can even make a contribution to the synagogue’s rebuilding fund bank account in Beirut:

        Jewish Community Council:
        First National Bank (ALLENBY BRANCH)
        20126004 Allenby Street
        Beirut Central District P.O. BOX 110435
        Beirut, Lebanon
        Telephone: (01) 977 040
        Fax: (01) 973 140
        E-mail: [email protected]
        Swift Code: FINKLBBE
        Account Name: Conseil Communal Israélite du Liban
        Account Number: 0012-134159-008

      • kamanja
        September 20, 2012, 11:07 am

        I didn’t say it was bogus, I pointed out that their site was not updated, therefore it’s impossible to tell who is behind it. The only obvious name on the site is Arazi’s.

        Thanks for copying the donation address from the website.

      • kamanja
        September 20, 2012, 11:33 am

        The one linked by Annie doesn’t work although it still did a couple of months back. Haroun Aaron-Micael Beydoun, who started both the original website and the campaign to restore the synagogue is not Jewish. He claims to be a practising Muslim. Now that I’ve remembered his name I’ll contact him directly. Thanks.

      • Walid
        September 20, 2012, 12:14 pm

        Hi Kamanja, your term “claimed” may have thrown me off. You are right about the current site being flat; when the young Baydoun still had the Jews of Lebabon blog, it was full of current news, lots of history and old photos and chatter between Lebanese Jews from all over Europe and NA..

        For something a bit more recent from Beirut Magen Avraham Synagogue FB:

      • kamanja
        September 20, 2012, 1:22 pm

        As I told Annie (maybe the post didn’t go up?), who posted the same links as you did – they’re the same links I tried before mentioning it here – when I go to the link I get:

        “This content is currently unavailable
        The page you requested cannot be displayed right now. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page.
        Return home”

        Did you try it out? Were you able to see their facebook page? If you did/could and I couldn’t, there are conclusions to be drawn.

    • proudzionist777
      September 18, 2012, 4:09 am

      @Yours truly

      Ah yes. The Baghdad bombings. That old anit-Zionist ‘big lie’ that Iraqi Jewry was bombed into flight by Zionists operatives. Standard fare for anti-Zionists and, complete rubbish. This libel had long been demolished by Moshe Gat, in his authoritative book,’The Jewish Exodus From Iraq’ .
      Gat argued that there was little direct connection between the bombings and exodus. He demonstrated that the frantic and massive Jewish registration for denaturalisation and departure was driven by knowledge that the denaturalisation law was due to expire in March 1951. He also notes the influence of further pressures including the property-freezing law, and continued anti-Jewish disturbances which raised the fear of large-scale pogroms. It is highly unlikely the Israelis would have taken such measures to accelerate the Jewish evacuation given that they were already struggling to cope with the existing level of Jewish immigration. Gat also raises serious doubts about the guilt of the alleged Jewish bomb throwers. Firstly, a Christian officer in the Iraqi army known for his anti-Jewish views, was arrested, but apparently not charged, with the offenses. A number of explosive devices similar to those used in the attack on the Jewish synagogue were found in his home. In addition, there was a long history of anti-Jewish bomb-throwing incidents in Iraq. Secondly, the prosecution was not able to produce even one eyewitness who had seen the bombs thrown. Thirdly, the Jewish defendant Shalom Salah indicated in court that he had been severely tortured in order to procure a confession. It therefore remains an open question as to who was responsible for the bombings, although Gat suggests that the most likely perpetrators were members of the anti-Jewish Istiqlal Party.
      Many years later, the Zionist emissary Yehuda Tager stated that the main bombings were carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 18, 2012, 12:40 pm

        Gat argued that there was little direct connection between the bombings and exodus

        uh huh, little problem being those iraqi jews who were there and what they think. did you even bother to open my link?

        Let me begin with a telling story that took place in Israel in January 1952, about half a year after the official conclusion of the operation that brought Iraq’s Jews to Israel. During this year, two Zionist activists, Yosef Basri and Shalom Salah, were hanged in Baghdad. They had been charged with possession of explosive materials and throwing bombs in the city center. According to the account of Shlomo Hillel, a former Israeli cabinet minister and Zionist activist in Iraq, their last words, as they stood on the gallows, were “Long live the State of Israel.” (Hillel, 1985: 342) It would have only been natural for Iraqi Jews in Israel to react to the news of this hanging with outrage. On the contrary, however, the mourning assemblies organized by leaders of the community in various Israeli cities failed to arouse widespread solidarity with the two Iraqi Zionists. In fact, the opposite was true. A classified document from Moshe Sasson, of the Foreign Ministry’s Middle East Division, to then Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett maintained that many Iraqi immigrants, residents of the transit camps, greeted the hanging with the attitude: “That is God’s revenge on the movement that brought us to such depths” (2).

        It is highly unlikely the Israelis would have taken such measures to accelerate the Jewish evacuation given that they were already struggling to cope with the existing level of Jewish immigration.

        i’m not buying that for one second.

      • ColinWright
        September 19, 2012, 8:19 pm

        My suspicion is that both sides are right: the Iraqis were happy to hate the Iraqi Jews, and the Israelis were happy to make sure the solution to that was flight.

        …as so often, Zionism and anti-semitism enjoyed a splendidly symbiotic relationship. After all, the whole rationale for Israel is not merely that Jews should live in Israel, but that they can’t live elsewhere.

      • Sumud
        September 18, 2012, 9:57 pm

        Hi Annie ~ proudzionist777’s “comment” is directly lifted from a 2010 book review on Amazon, starting from “Gat argued that there was little direct connection…”:

        Look for the long review by “J. Evans”.

        Funny this occurs on an article titled “Israeli hasbara effort”.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 18, 2012, 11:33 pm

        people are supposed to cite when they are quoting. pz is either a brash propagandist/plagiarist or ‘j evans’.

      • Mooser
        September 18, 2012, 11:49 pm

        “people are supposed to cite when they are quoting. pz is either a brash propagandist/plagiarist or ‘j evans’.”

        Annie, are you saying that a man with his feet planted on the wreck where Moses stood could prevaricate? It is simply not possible.

        Okay, clicked over and read the “J Evans” review (apparently his only one) and there are series of comments on the review to which this “J Evans” replies. Let’s just say that the circumstances (comments and replies) are very similar to the ones here. My oh my, you should see the Hasbara boilerplate “J Evans” lays down! It sure does look familiar. This “J Evans” seems to be a very proud Zionist.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 19, 2012, 12:58 am

        omg mooser, we (possibly/probably)have our very own amazon hasbarist right in our midst!

      • Mooser
        September 19, 2012, 1:31 am

        “omg mooser, we (possibly/probably)have our very own amazon hasbarist right in our midst!”

        And another one from ISTAR! And that one even gets to post articles!

        Take a look at what he writes when he’s not using Mondoweiss space, which requires a more subtle form of Hasbara:

        You got took. Or, more probably took yourselves.

  11. radii
    September 16, 2012, 7:55 pm

    vicious sarcasm is so darn tasty !!

  12. HHM
    September 16, 2012, 11:20 pm

    The “progressive-left” J-Street rabbi in our community promotes this sham – straight from the “Israel 101” handbook in a desperate attempt to neutralize advocacy for Palestinian refugee right of return and to induce “compassion” for the suffering on both sides.

    Please excuse me while I get my finger out of my mouth.

    • Mooser
      September 17, 2012, 12:36 pm

      “The “progressive-left” J-Street rabbi in our community promotes this sham”

      In for a penny, in for a pound, as the saying goes. And PEP pills are the gateway drug to a full-on ziocaine addiction.

  13. Walid
    September 17, 2012, 2:30 am

    Reflections by an Iraqi-Israeli Arab Jew, Ella Shohat:

    “I am an Arab Jew. Or, more specifically, an Iraqi Israeli woman living, writing and teaching in the U.S. Most members of my family were born and raised in Baghdad, and now live in Iraq, Israel, the U.S., England, and Holland.

    .. As an Arab Jew, I am often obliged to explain the “mysteries” of this oxymoronic entity. That we have spoken Arabic, not Yiddish; that for millennia our cultural creativity, secular and religious, had been largely articulated in Arabic (Maimonides being one of the few intellectuals to “make it” into the consciousness of the West); and that even the most religious of our communities in the Middle East and North Africa never expressed themselves in Yiddish-accented Hebrew prayers, nor did they practice liturgical-gestural norms and sartorial codes favoring the dark colors of centuries-ago Poland. Middle Eastern women similarly never wore wigs; their hair covers, if worn, consisted of different variations on regional clothing (and in the wake of British and French imperialism, many wore Western-style clothes). If you go to our synagogues, even in New York, Montreal, Paris or London, you’ll be amazed to hear the winding quarter tones of our music which the uninitiated might imagine to be coming from a mosque.

    … For our families, who have lived in Mesopotamia since at least the Babylonian exile, who have been Arabized for millennia, and who were abruptly dislodged to Israel 45 years ago, to be suddenly forced to assume a homogenous European Jewish identity based on experiences in Russia, Poland and Germany, was an exercise in self devastation. To be a European or American Jew has hardly been perceived as a contradiction, but to be an Arab Jew has been seen as a kind of logical paradox, even an ontological subversion. This binarism has led many Oriental Jews (our name in Israel referring to our common Asian and African countries of origin is Mizrahi or Mizrachi) to a profound and visceral schizophrenia, since for the first time in our history Arabness and Jewishness have been imposed as antonyms.

    … Our history simply cannot be discussed in European Jewish terminology. As Iraqi Jews, while retaining a communal identity, we were generally well integrated and indigenous to the country, forming an inseparable part of its social and cultural life. Thoroughly Arabized, we used Arabic even in hymns and religious ceremonies. The liberal and secular trends of the 20th century engendered an even stronger association of Iraqi Jews and Arab culture, which brought Jews into an extremely active arena in public and cultural life. Prominent Jewish writers, poets and scholars played a vital role in Arab culture, distinguishing themselves in Arabic speaking theater, in music, as singers, composers, and players of traditional instruments.

    In Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Tunisia, Jews became members of legislatures, of municipal councils, of the judiciary, and even occupied high economic positions. (The finance minister of Iraq in the ’40s was Ishak Sasson, and in Egypt, Jamas Sanua–higher positions, ironically, than those our community had generally achieved within the Jewish state until the 1990s!)

    • Annie Robbins
      September 17, 2012, 9:49 am

      thanks walid

      From the outside, there is little sense of our community, and even less sense of the diversity of our political perspectives. Oriental-Sephardic peace movements, from the Black Panthers of the ’70s to the new Keshet (a “Rainbow” coalition of Mizrahi groups in Israel) not only call for a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians, but also for the cultural, political, and economic integration of Israel/Palestine into the Middle East. And thus an end to the binarisms of war, an end to a simplistic charting of Middle Eastern identities.

    • seafoid
      September 18, 2012, 9:44 am

      Last days in Babylon about the end of the Jewish community in Baghdad

      I haven’t got around to reading it yet.
      So much richness lost and the Israeli consumers that the grandchildren turned into are no substitute.

  14. manfromatlan
    September 17, 2012, 9:57 am

    Funny how Iran’s Jews are quite OK with their status quo, and in no hurry to emigrate to Israel. Funny how that puts Ahmadinejad’s ‘antisemitic’ views in perspective.

  15. eljay
    September 17, 2012, 10:16 am

    >> thanks walid


    From the article linked to by Walid:
    >> The same historical process that dispossessed Palestinians of their property, lands and national-political rights, was linked to the dispossession of Middle Eastern and North African Jews of their property, lands, and rootedness in Muslim countries. As refugees, or mass immigrants (depending on one’s political perspective), we were forced to leave everything behind and give up our Iraqi passports.

    Both are wrongs which must be righted. We know that the evil Ay-rabs left the Palestinians to rot, but surely the “Jewish State” – the only democracy in the Middle East – took care of these Jewish refugees/immigrants…right?

    >> The same process also affected our uprootedness or ambiguous positioning within Israel itself, where we have been systematically discriminated against by institutions that deployed their energies and material to the consistent advantage of European Jews and to the consistent disadvantage of Oriental Jews. Even our physiognomies betray us, leading to internalized colonialism or physical misperception. Sephardic Oriental women often dye their dark hair blond, while the men have more than once been arrested or beaten when mistaken for Palestinians. What for Ashkenazi immigrants from Russian and Poland was a social aliya (literally “ascent”) was for Oriental Sephardic Jews a yerida (“descent”).

    Hmmm…looks like the “Jewish State” fell short of its obligations to its people.

    >> Oriental-Sephardic peace movements … not only call for a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians, but also for the cultural, political, and economic integration of Israel/Palestine into the Middle East.

    Sounds very moral and just. Thanks to Zio-supremacists like Bibi – the “leader of the Jews” – it’ll never fly.

    • Mooser
      September 17, 2012, 12:38 pm

      “Hmmm…looks like the “Jewish State” fell short of its obligations to its people.”

      It’s a tough neighborhood.

      • eljay
        September 17, 2012, 1:45 pm

        >> It’s a tough neighborhood.

        This is what I keep reading. Thankfully, Israel’s clever “aggressor-victim” strategy makes the “Jewish State” the safest place in the world for Jews and their leader, Bibi! :-)

  16. Erasmus
    September 17, 2012, 10:44 am

    Hanan Ashrawi’s article in the ME Monitor of 5th September2012…..

    … a very fitting clarification on this “Jewish refugee from Arab countries” issue.
    Little more needs to added to her article.

    Please see:

    • Walid
      September 17, 2012, 12:47 pm

      Erasmus to add to Ashrawi’s comments about Jews being invited to return in some countries:

      “…On January 29, 1979 Radio Baghdad, in a Hebrew-language broadcast, called on all Jews of Iraqi origin “to return home,” promising that they would be able to live as citizens with equal rights in Iraq. The broadcast claimed that people of Iraqi origin suffered discrimination in Israel at the hands of the Ashkenazim and that this injustice would be rectified when they returned to Iraq. (Shenhav from the McGill link)

      • Walid
        September 18, 2012, 2:38 am

        Erasmus, again about Ashrawi’s article, it should be noted that as far as the Palestinians’ RoR is concerned, she and the rest of the PA have been negligent for decades while Israel has been laying the groundwork for the final showdown that appears to be to be coming soon and what’s to expect from Israel at the UN this week (Sept 21st). Ayalon is out to try to get the UN to scrap UNGA Resolution 194 on the Palestinians’ RoR/ compensation. In Ashrawi’s words from your linked article:

        “… The Israeli occupation government is now seeking to get the UN to issue a resolution that calls for compensating Jews from Arab countries who moved to the state of Israel. The move will take place on September 21 at the United Nations in New York, in conjunction with the General Assembly session.

        The Israelis are preparing a major international campaign, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, to recognise the rights of Jews who emigrated from Arab countries after the 1948 catastrophe (Nakba). These Jews, claims Israel, should be acknowledged as “refugees” prior to negotiation with some of the Arab countries to get compensation for the property which Jews left behind when they moved to Israel.”

        Israel’s groundwork has been in preparation for decades and adequately described by Shenhav’s essay on WOJEC. Israel will be relying on another cornerstone laid in 2008 by the House Of Rep. Resolution 185 that in a nutshell, concludes:

        ” Resolved, That–

        (1) for any comprehensive Middle East peace agreement to be credible and enduring, the agreement must address and resolve all outstanding issues relating to the legitimate rights of all refugees, including Jews, Christians, and other populations, displaced from countries in the Middle East; and

        (2) the President should instruct the United States Representative to the United Nations and all United States representatives in bilateral and multilateral fora to–

        (A) use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to ensure that any resolutions relating to the issue of Middle East refugees, and which include a reference to the required resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue, must also include a similarly explicit reference to the resolution of the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries; and

        (B) make clear that the United States Government supports the position that, as an integral part of any comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, the issue of refugees from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf must be resolved in a manner that includes recognition of the legitimate rights of and losses incurred by all refugees displaced from Arab countries, including Jews, Christians, and other groups.

        Full text of Res.185

        Discussions and debates on defining Palestinian and Jewish refugees should take another 20 or 30 years, long enough for the few remaining Nakba survivors to die off.

  17. proudzionist777
    September 17, 2012, 10:49 am

    Exactly how many Israeli citizens does the The Ramat Gan Committee of Baghdadi Jews represent?

    Just curious.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 17, 2012, 10:58 am

      pz, ali abunimah has an interview up today of writer Almog Behar from Ramat Gan Committee of Baghdadi Jews

      The committee includes young and old, men and women, from Baghdad (and from Mosul and Basra), as well as some who were born in this country, in the first, second, and third generations, and those with mixed Kurdish and Moroccan ancestry.


      How widespread are the sentiments which the statement expresses?

      We believe that those sentiments are very widespread among Iraqi Jews – of course more among the older generation, that is less affected by Israeli propoganda, and remembers more the Iraqi past – and knows that our property in Iraq is something between us and Iraq, and not between us and the Palestinians, and remembers also that most of Palestinian property from 1948 was taken by the Ashkenazim and the state, and not by Jews of the Arab world.

      We believe that there should be a direct dialoge between Jews of the Arab world and the Arab states, and we hope that after a peace agreement the question of our property will be solved.

      But the way the Israeli establishment uses our history from the 1950s, is not in order to give us our rights back, but in order to get rid of the rights of the Palestinians, and avoiding a peace agreement with them.

      • FreddyV
        September 17, 2012, 2:48 pm


        Looks like blood is thicker than scripture!

        Nice one Anne!

      • proudzionist777
        September 18, 2012, 1:47 am

        Will they also seek reparations for the ‘farhud’, the 1941 nazi-inspired pogrom that resulted in the murder of 1,000 Baghdad Jews?

      • Annie Robbins
        September 18, 2012, 9:40 am

        nazi-inspired pogrom? do you ever give it a rest pz. it was iraq’s british colonial masters throwing iraqi jews under a bus. maybe you should open ali’s link and read Naiem Giladi’s accounting of that riot. too lazy, here:

        The Riots of 1941
        If, as I have said, my family in Iraq was not persecuted personally and I knew no deprivation as a member of the Jewish minority, what led me to the steps of the gallows as a member of the Zionist underground? To answer that question, it is necessary to establish the context of the massacre that occurred in Baghdad on June 1, 1941, when several hundred Iraqi Jews were killed in riots involving junior officers of the Iraqi army. I was 12 years of age and many of those killed were my friends. I was angry, and very confused.

        What I didn’t know at the time was that the riots most likely were stirred up by the British, in collusion with a pro-British Iraqi leadership.

        With the breakup of the Ottoman Empire following WW I, Iraq came under British “tutelage.” Amir Faisal, son of Sharif Hussein who had led the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman sultan, was brought in from Mecca by the British to become King of Iraq in 1921. Many Jews were appointed to key administrative posts, including that of economics minister. Britain retained final authority over domestic and external affairs.

        Britain’s pro-Zionist attitude in Palestine, however, triggered a growing anti-Zionist backlash in Iraq, as it did in all Arab countries. Writing at the end of 1934, Sir Francis Humphreys, Britain’s Ambassador in Baghdad, noted that, while before WW I Iraqi Jews had enjoyed a more favorable position than any other minority in the country, since then “Zionism has sown dissension between Jews and Arabs, and a bitterness has grown up between the two peoples which did not previously exist.”3

        King Faisal died in 1933. He was succeeded by his son Ghazi, who died in a motor car accident in 1939. The crown then passed to Ghazi’s 4-year-old son, Faisal II, whose uncle, Abd al-Ilah, was named regent. Abd al-Ilah selected Nouri el-Said as prime minister. El-Said supported the British and, as hatred of the British grew, he was forced from office in March 1940 by four senior army officers who advocated Iraq’s independence from Britain. Calling themselves the Golden Square, the officers compelled the regent to name as prime minister Rashid Ali al-Kilani, leader of the National Brotherhood party.

        The time was 1940 and Britain was reeling from a strong German offensive. Al-Kilani and the Golden Square saw this as their opportunity to rid themselves of the British once and for all. Cautiously they began to negotiate for German support, which led the pro-British regent Abd al-Ilah to dismiss al-Kilani in January 1941. By April, however, the Golden Square officers had reinstated the prime minister.

        This provoked the British to send a military force into Basra on April 12, 1941. Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, had a Jewish population of 30,000. Most of these Jews made their livings from import/export, money changing, retailing, as workers in the airports, railways, and ports, or as senior government employees.

        On the same day, April 12, supporters of the pro- British regent notified the Jewish leaders that the regent wanted to meet with them. As was their custom, the leaders brought flowers for the regent. Contrary to custom, however, the cars that drove them to the meeting place dropped them off at the site where the British soldiers were concentrated.

        Photographs of the Jews appeared in the following day’s newspapers with the banner “Basra Jews Receive British Troops with Flowers.” That same day, April 13, groups of angry Arab youths set about to take revenge against the Jews. Several Muslim notables in Basra heard of the plan and calmed things down. Later, it was learned that the regent was not in Basra at all and that the matter was a provocation by his pro-British supporters to bring about an ethnic war in order to give the British army a pretext to intervene.
        The British continued to land more forces in and around Basra. On May 7, 1941, their Gurkha unit, composed of Indian soldiers from that ethnic group, occupied Basra’s el-Oshar quarter, a neighborhood with a large Jewish population. The soldiers, led by British officers, began looting. Many shops in the commercial district were plundered. Private homes were broken into. Cases of attempted rape were reported. Local residents, Jews and Muslims, responded with pistols and old rifles, but their bullets were no match for the soldiers’ Tommy Guns.

        Afterwards, it was learned that the soldiers acted with the acquiescence, if not the blessing, of their British commanders. (It should be remembered that the Indian soldiers, especially those of the Gurkha unit, were known for their discipline, and it is highly unlikely they would have acted so riotously without orders.) The British goal clearly was to create chaos and to blacken the image of the pro-nationalist regime in Baghdad, thereby giving the British forces reason to proceed to the capital and to overthrow the al-Kilani government.

        Baghdad fell on May 30. Al-Kilani fled to Iran, along with the Golden Square officers. Radio stations run by the British reported that Regent Abd al-Ilah would be returning to the city and that thousands of Jews and others were planning to welcome him. What inflamed young Iraqis against the Jews most, however, was the radio announcer Yunas Bahri on the German station “Berlin,” who reported in Arabic that Jews from Palestine were fighting alongside the British against Iraqi soldiers near the city of Faluja. The report was false.

        On Sunday, June 1, unarmed fighting broke out in Baghdad between Jews who were still celebrating their Shabuoth holiday and young Iraqis who thought the Jews were celebrating the return of the pro-British regent. That evening, a group of Iraqis stopped a bus, removed the Jewish passengers, murdered one and fatally wounded a second.

        About 8:30 the following morning, some 30 individuals in military and police uniforms opened fire along el-Amin street, a small downtown street whose jewelry, tailor and grocery shops were Jewish-owned. By 11 a.m., mobs of Iraqis with knives, switchblades and clubs were attacking Jewish homes in the area.

        The riots continued throughout Monday, June 2. During this time, many Muslims rose to defend their Jewish neighbors, while some Jews successfully defended themselves. There were 124 killed and 400 injured, according to a report written by a Jewish Agency messenger who was in Iraq at the time. Other estimates, possibly less reliable, put the death toll higher, as many as 500, with from 650 to 2,000 injured. From 500 to 1,300 stores and more than 1,000 homes and apartments were looted.

        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.4

        also, don’t think you can revise history and double the outside figure of how many jews died. tsk tsk. the jewish agency only reported 124 at the time.

      • proudzionist777
        September 18, 2012, 2:32 pm

        Yes. I’ve heard the rumors about H.M.G. and the Farhud, but Edwin Black lays the blame on Nazis, the Mufti and Iraqi Nazis.

        “Infants were viciously bashed to death against the pavement and then thrown lifeless into the Tigris. Jewish women—hundreds of them—were mercilessly and openly raped in front of their husbands, in front of their parents, in front of their children, and in front of the wild Muslim mobs. If the woman was pregnant, sometimes she was first raped, and then sliced open to destroy the unborn baby; only then was she killed. Men who defended their women and children were killed and their homes plundered. Commonly, after murdering the defenseless Jewish men and women with hatchets, axes, and swords, the chanting throngs hacked their inanimate bodies to pieces, thus further defiling the infidels and—temporarily—sating the mob’s blood lust.”

      • Annie Robbins
        September 18, 2012, 8:24 pm

        the same edwin black posting on this hasbara site from day one?

        sorry pz, he’s no longer credible.

      • ColinWright
        September 19, 2012, 12:47 am

        The fatality figures I’ve read usually run around two hundred* — but be that as it may. The rioting had nothing to do with the Nazis, and the British — who had just forced the flight of Rashid Ali with a small column — were in no position to do anything about the rioting either. In fact, such a move would have been close to suicidal. The Iraqi rebellion was far from over, and converting it into a popular uprising would not have been a good move for the British, who at the moment (May 1941) had worries like Rommel driving on Egypt, Greece and Crete falling, etc — not to mention a perfectly intact Iraqi army of uncertain temperament that outnumbered them on the ground several times over. They were on the verge of losing World War Two — and apparently they were to first start and then combat an insurrection in Iraq.

        I can see it now. ‘We’re just going to have to forget about holding the Suez Canal. Thing to do is to disarm the Iraqi army, put Iraq under colonial rule, and then make sure Baghdad is properly policed.’

        *Here we go. Not the best possible source, but Robert Lyman, Iraq 1941 puts the toll at 120 killed and 850 injured. The decision had been made to not occupy Baghdad with British troops ‘…in order to disguise the weakness of Kingstone’s force…Instead, the Regent was to be restored without having to admit by public demonstration that this had been brought about by British force of arms.’

        Eventually, the Iraqi police were prevailed upon to start shooting down the rioters, and that put an end to that.

      • Walid
        September 19, 2012, 3:07 am

        More on what really happened in the farhud from reflections by Iraqi-Jew, Violette Shamash; while she repeats how well the Jews were living in Baghdad, she also points the finger at the British for the farhud massacres:

        “… Britain was on the back foot in World War II. It was losing to Germany in Greece and North Africa, suffering horrendous casualties in the Blitz and both men and material in U-boat attacks on shipping in the North Atlantic. Rashid Ali seized the moment to take sides with Berlin and deny the British the oil supplies that were vital to her war effort (the navy depended on them totally in the Mediterranean). He dispatched a force to threaten the RAF desert airbase at Habbaniya, west of Baghdad, and laid seige to the British Embassy in whose grounds some 300 terrified expatriates (among them the distinguished writer, Freya Stark) took shelter for a month. An air war raged, with cadet pilots bravely flying sortie after sortie in ancient biplanes against Iraqis in modern aircraft. It would later be hailed as the Second Battle of Britain, though their bravery has gone unrecognised.

        Furious, Churchill ordered an immediate invasion to effect regime change, even though it probably meant having to engage Hitler’s forces in yet another theatre of war. Luckily, however, Berlin was slow to respond to Baghdad’s calls for assistance. The RAF fought and won a brilliant battle that has been virtually forgotten by military historians, and the invading troops crossed 600 miles of desert with orders to enter and recapture Baghdad. After a historic march a forward column led by Brigadier Joe Kingstone arrived at the city gates — and halted.

        revealed: the truth behind the killings

        It was a stunning achievement against great odds. But three miles from their objective, their orders had unexpectedly changed. Although victory was theirs, for they had created a stranglehold on the city and the tyrant had fled, the triumph was deliberately muffled. Extraordinarily, one man, British Ambassador Sir Kinahan Cornwallis, had been granted the right of final decision over military as well as diplomatic matters — and the steps that he took meant no British soldier set foot in the city while the Jews were being killed in their hundreds over the two days of mayhem.

        The troops, led by the Household Cavalry, were obliged to camp on the right bank of the Tigris, well outside the city, while the left bank erupted in violence. Cornwallis — safe in his embassy on the right bank, facing the riot zone in the Old City across the river — refused pleas by his own senior staff to call them in, and they were powerless to act. Frustrated, they remained at ease in their bivouac beneath the palm trees. The senior commander, Major-General George Clark, entered the city as the ambassador’s guest only once the rioting was over — quelled by Iraqi soldiers.

        The events of 1 and 2 June had apocalyptic implications for the descendants of Abraham: nothing short of the termination of 2,600 years of Jewish settlement in the land of Babylon. Yet strangely, the shameful role played by the British has never been properly investigated or explained and has forever remained an enigma, perplexing Iraqi Jews the world over…”

      • ColinWright
        September 19, 2012, 8:23 pm

        Walid says: “Rashid Ali seized the moment to take sides with Berlin and deny the British the oil supplies that were vital to her war effort “

        Your source is wrong. Iraq was a relatively minor oil producer at the time.

        …the larger claim — that the British voluntarily colluded in a pogrom — is unsubstantiated, unfair, and disregards both the material and political position of the British in Iraq at the time.

      • proudzionist777
        September 18, 2012, 1:57 am

        Oh. That’s the ‘newly formed’ Committee of Baghdadi Jews in Ramat-Gan, of which Behar is a founding member.

        Got it.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 18, 2012, 12:17 pm

        pz, not sure but i think it is possible the Committee of Baghdadi Jews in Ramat-Gan , if newly formed, is in response to the ‘new’ hasbara campaign. it’s a tad repulsive for the state to continue thwarting the history of their own citizens to offset palestinian claims.

      • Shmuel
        September 18, 2012, 6:45 am

        Almog Behar won the Haaretz short story competition in 2005, with the wonderful story “Ana min al yahoud – I’m one of the Jews”:

        At that time, my tongue twisted itself around and with the arrival of the month of Tammuz the Arabic accent got stuck in my mouth, deep in my throat. Just like that: as I was walking down the street, the Arabic accent of Grandfather Anwar, of blessed memory, came back to me, and no matter how hard I tried to extract it and throw it in one of the public trash cans, I did not manage. I tried and tried to soften the glottal ayyin, the way my mother did in her childhood—because of the teacher and the looks from the other children—but strangers passing by just rooted me to the spot. I tried to soften the het and pronounce it gutturally, I tried to make the tsaddi sound less like an “s” and to get rid of the Iraqi quf and pronounce it like “k”, but in vain. On the streets of Jerusalem, policemen started to come towards me aggressively, pointing to me and my black beard with a threatening finger, whispering in their cars, stopping and asking me for my name and identity. And for every policeman who passed me by, I wanted to stop walking, pull out my identity card, point to the ‘nationality’ line and say in Arabic, as if I were revealing a secret that would absolve me of enormous guilt: “Ana min al yahoud—I’m a Jew.”

        The full story can be read at:


        Behar’s website is also worth a visit:

      • Annie Robbins
        September 18, 2012, 9:17 am

        Behar’s website is also worth a visit

        shmuel, i linked to it in the main post. thanks for linking again. his poetry…truly..

      • Shmuel
        September 18, 2012, 9:27 am

        i linked to it in the main post

        I meant beyond the Committee statement, and more specifically the poetry and short stories.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 18, 2012, 9:55 am

        yes, thanked you again. i had originally just poked around a little bit and for some reason completely missed the language options and instead translated some stuff from hebrew using google translate. your link is much much better.

      • proudzionist777
        September 18, 2012, 2:45 pm
      • Blake
        September 18, 2012, 8:37 pm

        Annie, you may be interested in this article written in 2005:
        Post-Zionism and the Sephardi Question

        by Meyrav Wurmser
        Middle East Quarterly
        Spring 2005, pp. 21-30

        A growing group of Jewish Israeli professors is challenging the legitimacy of the Israeli state from within. Many are Mizrahim, as the Sephardi Jews from the Middle East and North Africa are increasingly called, and do so from a distinctly Mizrahi outlook. In July 2004, for example, a poem appeared online entitled, “I Am an Arab Refugee”:

        When I hear Fayruz[1] singing,
        “I shall never forget thee, Palestine,”
        I swear to you with my right hand
        that at once I am a Palestinian.
        All of a sudden I know:
        I am an Arab refugee
        and, if not,
        let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.[2]

        The author is not a Palestinian refugee but rather an Israeli Jew. His name is Sami Shalom Chetrit, a Mizrahi professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem who, along with Mizrahi academics like Ella Shohat, Eli Avraham, Oren Yiftachel, Yehouda Shenhav, Pnina Motzafi-Haller and others has developed a radical critique of ethnic relations in Israel. True to post-Zionism, an intellectual movement that believes that Zionism lacks moral validity, post-Zionist Mizrahi writers believe that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state. According to Mizrahi post-Zionism, the Mizrahim, about half of Israel’s Jewish population, are “Arab-Jews,” who like the Palestinians are victims of Zionism. While this new school of intellectual radicalism remains so far contained within the halls of academia and without broad support among the broader Mizrahi population, it, nevertheless, represents a new and worrisome twist on the post-Zionist phenomenon that continues to dominate Israel’s academia and media.

        The Mizrahi Rejection of Zionism

        At the center of the radical, post-Zionist Mizrahi critique is a deep feeling of victimization. The post-Zionist Mizrahi writers continue to live their parents’ insults and humiliations at the hands of the European Ashkenazi Jewish establishment that absorbed them in Israel after immigration. Discriminatory policies created a continuing social and economic gap between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim. These academics promote the view held by many young Mizrahim that discrimination did not end with their parents’ generation. The children—who, in large part, were born in Israel—continue to face discrimination and cope with social and economic handicaps.

        The radical Mizrahim who turned to post-Zionism tap into anger beyond the well-known complaints of past ill-treatment, including the maabarot, the squalid tent cities into which Mizrahim were placed upon arrival in Israel; the humiliation of Moroccan and other Mizrahi Jews when Israeli immigration authorities shaved their heads and sprayed their bodies with the pesticide DDT[3]; the socialist elite’s enforced secularization; the destruction of traditional family structure, and the reduced status of the patriarch by years of poverty and sporadic unemployment. These Mizrahi intellectuals’ fury extends beyond even the state-sponsored kidnapping of Yemeni infants for adoption by Ashkenazi families who lost their children in the Holocaust.[4] The real anger Sephardim feel nowadays, and upon which these Mizrahi post-Zionists seize, comes from the extent to which, in their view, the Zionist narrative denied, erased, and excluded their historical identity.

        Some of the adherents of this new Israeli school of thought now equate Mizrahi grievances with those of Palestinians. In an article, “Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Jewish Victims,” a takeoff on Edward Said’s famous “Zionism from the Standpoint of its [Palestinian] Victims,”[5] Ella Habiba-Shohat, an Iraqi-Israeli woman and one of the principal Mizrahi post-Zionist leaders, claims that, alongside the Palestinians, Mizrahi Jews are Zionism’s “other” victims.[6] According to Shohat, Zionism is a white, Ashkenazi phenomenon, based on the denial of the Orient and the rights of both Mizrahi Jews and the Palestinians. Indeed, she argues, the conflict of East versus West, Arab versus Jew, and Palestinian versus Israeli exists not only between Israelis and Arabs but also within Israel between Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews.

        This view contradicts the mainstream Zionist narrative, which maintains that Zionism saved Mizrahi Jews.[7] According to this view, the Mizrahi Jews were devout Zionists who deeply wished to leave the Diaspora and return to Zion.[8] Zionism saved these Mizrahim when persecution in their Arab and Iranian homelands intensified after Israel’s independence. It also rescued them from the backwardness of Arab society and introduced them to the technology and culture of the civilized world. Zionism helped them to overcome the disadvantages of the illiterate, despotic societies from which they came.

        In contrast, post-Zionist Mizrahi writers believe that this official Zionist account is false and needs to be de-constructed. They maintain that the Mizrahim did not come from backward or primitive societies. Cities like Alexandria, Baghdad, and Istanbul were great metropolises of wealth and culture. Most Mizrahim had been exposed to Western culture and ideas since they came from countries once subject to British or French rule. The Mizrahim were also largely literate, if not highly educated. Most men and even some women could read the Torah.

        The post-Zionist writers also attack the claim that the Mizrahi Jews longed to immigrate to Israel. In reality, they argue, as loyal residents of the Arab world, Zionism played a relatively minor role in the Mizrahi world-view. Despite the role that the longing for Zion played in their religious lives, they did not share the European-Zionist desire to leave the Diaspora. Even after the Holocaust, post-Zionist writers maintain, Mizrahi Jews remained largely opposed to Zionism and lived peacefully with their Arab neighbors. Yehouda Shenhav, professor of sociology and anthropology at Tel Aviv University, writes in his study of the Jews of Iraq that the Mizrahim were never really Zionists. Instead, he argues that the Ashkenazi establishment encouraged their immigration less to protect the Mizrahim and more to address its own need for cheap labor.[9] Instead of saving the Mizrahi Jews, Zionism only ruthlessly displaced an entire community, Shenhav maintains, and removed its members’ right to determine their own future. Pursuing this logic to its end, he argues that Zionism cannot be considered a liberation movement for all Jews. It liberated European Jews but enslaved the Mizrahim who, like the Palestinians, are an abused Third World people suffering under the yoke of first world Ashkenazi oppressors.

        One of the main complaints of this radical intellectual school is the belief that Zionism destroyed the Mizrahi sense of community and culture by forcing the adoption of new “Zionist” and “Israeli” identities so as to eradicate any threat of a Mizrahi-Arab alliance. This action not only destroyed the natural Arab-Jewish identity of the Mizrahim, these post-Zionists argue, but also sparked the Arab-Israeli conflict. Shiko Behar, a Mizrahi post-Zionist writer, asserts that identity in the Middle East today is shaped around post-colonial nationalism, not the religious division between Muslim and non-Muslim Arabs.[10]

        Before the rise of modern Jewish and Arab nationalism, Mizrahim and Arabs could coexist without conflict because they all shared an Arab identity and only differed in their religious beliefs.[11] In Zionist Israel, continues Behar, the Mizrahim could not be considered Arab-Jews even if their historical identity was more closely aligned with the Arab rather than Israeli identity. The Arab-Israeli conflict meant that the Mizrahim were forced to choose: either they were Jews, or they were Arabs. Mizrahim suffered communal schizophrenia because, for the first time since perhaps the time of the Caliph Harun ar-Rashid (763-809) when the Islamic caliph forced Jews to wear yellow patches, Arabism and Judaism were in conflict. Yet for this very reason, argues Behar, the Mizrahim—victimized by both Ashkenazi Zionism and the rise of Arab nationalism—are the key factor in solving the Arab-Israeli conflict. They alone can serve as the bridgehead into the Arab world since they, like the Palestinians, are refugees whose identity was destroyed.[12]


    • Mooser
      September 17, 2012, 12:44 pm

      “Exactly how many Israeli citizens does the The Ramat Gan Committee of Baghdadi Jews represent?”

      Gosh, Pitzionist, I would have thought you would be reporting on Israel for Mondoweiss by now! Did you make Alley-Ooops yet? Just think how nice it’ll be to send verified reports back from Israel that prove everything we know is wrong!
      And you’ll never be assaulted by a Christmas tree again in Israel! When are you leaving for the Holy Land?

      • proudzionist777
        September 18, 2012, 1:45 am

        I’m already been in Israel for a month, mostly getting my family settled in and dealing with the house and the bureaucracy.
        Let me know if you want to be on my generally lighthearted ‘Middle East Dispatch’ series which I email to my friends in the States every few days. My email address is [email protected].

        BTW. The house that I’m living in has an old, fruit bearing olive tree in the front yard. Provenance unknown.

      • Mooser
        September 18, 2012, 12:50 pm

        “BTW. The house that I’m living in has an old, fruit bearing olive tree in the front yard. Provenance unknown.”

        Oh gosh, remind to go everywhere with a pleasant chap like you. I bet you make friends wherever you go.

        Of course, you said “in Israel” and since Israel has no borders, that could be anywhere, couldn’t it? So which settlement did you settle at? Not that it matters that much, your money will go to the Ultra-Orthodox, and the settlers no matter where you live “in Israel”

        And you are lecturing others on the qualities as an American? Ziocaine amnesia!

      • Mooser
        September 18, 2012, 12:51 pm

        “generally lighthearted”

        So you think a few jokes will enable you to avoid all the issues? That’s how you use your +15?

      • proudzionist777
        September 18, 2012, 1:28 pm

        I’m not living in a settlement and I don’t know what a +15 is.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 18, 2012, 3:17 pm

        “I’m already been in Israel for a month, mostly getting my family settled in and dealing with the house and the bureaucracy.”

        Hopefully the rightful owners of the land will give you thieves a “welcome to Palestine” present. The sooner the better.

      • Mooser
        September 18, 2012, 9:02 pm

        “I’m not living in a settlement…”

        How nice! You send them your money to continue the dispossession (and worse, much worse) and they don’t even have to cook you a meal. Very generous of you.
        Will you be going out for any “price tag” attacks? Hey, a retired guy needs an evening’s fun every once in a while.
        So now you will have the ineffable privilege, years from now, whenever anyone mentions the destruction of the Palestinians, of puffing out your chest and saying “I helped with that”. Gee, that even be more fun than bragging about the stolen olive tree in your front yard.

        “I don’t know what a +15 is.”

        Well, heck, that’s been obvious since your first comment. But now you’re right on the spot, and can take personal pleasure in the dispossession of another people. Yes sir, that’s gonna add to Jewish renown. You must be so proud.

      • Mooser
        September 18, 2012, 9:04 pm

        “BTW. The house that I’m living in has an old, fruit bearing olive tree in the front yard. Provenance unknown.”

        Is that what you call a Jewish sense of humor? Sick.

      • traintosiberia
        September 18, 2012, 10:32 pm

        What did Israel do to get Jewish people out of Iraq?
        Answear-What they had in mind to get Jewish peopel out of Iran as recent as 2006- with promises of 20-40,000 dollars and free house . But the Iranain Jewish did not fall for it.

        On another vein -Did Isarel-neoocns drive Iraq war? Answear -Look at who are driving ethwars against Iran ( yes there is a war going on mounted by Israel ).It all started same way.

      • Blake
        September 19, 2012, 1:45 am

        “BTW. The house that I’m living in has an old, fruit bearing olive tree in the front yard. Provenance unknown.”

        How do you just ignore the real history of that tree, the origin of the land you are on….do you have no heart? What gives?

      • proudzionist777
        September 19, 2012, 5:44 am

        The Jews and the Arabs of Palestine were fighting each other in a civil war and the Arab States intervened. The Arabs lost that war and the State of Israel was founded. That’s the history I know.

        I really don’t have the time to go chasing after landscaping sub contractors in order to find out where one tree came from. I’m curing the olives and we will see in a few more weeks whether the fruit will be bitter or sweet.

        Patience is a virtue.

      • proudzionist777
        September 19, 2012, 10:38 am


        How did you lose your Jewish sense of humor? Intermarriage?

      • Walid
        September 19, 2012, 4:46 pm

        “That’s the history I know.
        I really don’t have the time to go chasing after landscaping sub contractors in order to find out where one tree came from. ”

        PZ777, your history of the conflict needs some polishing. As to the olive tree, to have come out with this uncalled-for “provenance unknown” snide remark, the little voice in you must have told you that there is something wrong with you eating the fruit from this tree. Hope you don’t choke
        on one of its olives.

      • Blake
        September 19, 2012, 6:32 pm

        @ proudzionist: The invading settlers call it a “civil war” and the unarmed Palestinians were not even protected by the complicit British mandate forces from the armed to the teeth invaders. The disturbed psyche of an occupier and oppressor. Let’s hope you find that time when the fortunes change and justice prevails.

      • proudzionist777
        September 20, 2012, 7:04 am


        The old olive tree is obviously transplanted and since there is frequent discussion on Mondoweiss on the provenance of old olive trees in Israel-Palestine I truthfully recorded what I’d found in my front yard. For this, I am wished ill.
        This animus has more to do with my recent aliyah than with arborology but you are much too dishonest to admit it.

      • seafoid
        September 20, 2012, 8:39 am

        “The old olive tree is obviously transplanted ”

        As are the vast majority of Jewish Israelis. How DID that Yiddish “r” sound end up in Hebrew? How come no other country in the region features potato dumplings as part of its national cuisine?

      • Walid
        September 20, 2012, 10:15 am

        “This animus has more to do with my recent aliyah than with arborology but you are much too dishonest to admit it.(pz777)

        Not wishing you any ill, pz777, there are already so many millions already there like you, so many millions of dispossessed Palestnians because of it, so many millions of trees uprooted or maliciously destroyed, that one more guy and one more stolen tree doesn’t bother me anymore. I only became irritated with the issue of the tree because I thought you were gloating about it as if proud that you have your very own stolen tree. If this wasn’t your intention, I apologize for my snide remark.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 20, 2012, 11:10 am

        why bring it up pz? salt on the wound. it’s cruel and distracting.

      • proudzionist777
        September 20, 2012, 2:55 pm


        I don’t know if the tree was stolen. You think it was. There lies the rub

        @ Annie

        Here’s another distraction.
        The British brought some Indian mynah birds to Mandatory Palestine as pets. Some birds escaped and now they are all over Israel destroying the habitat of the native birds.
        They are territorial and highly aggressive birds who compete with native fauna for food and habitat and displace native wildlife for habitat areas.

        What’s the solution?

      • proudzionist777
        September 20, 2012, 3:04 pm


        I’ve never seen, much less eaten, a potato dumpling in Israel, although I have eaten lots of Moroccan fish, shawarma, shish kabobs and bourekas.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 20, 2012, 3:45 pm

        they are all over Israel destroying the habitat of the native..s.
        They are territorial and highly aggressive… who compete with native fauna for food and habitat and displace native wildlife for habitat areas. What’s the solution?

        re education? a constitution that offers equal rights?

      • Walid
        September 20, 2012, 4:09 pm


        I don’t know if the tree was stolen. You think it was. There lies the rub”

        pz777, I don’t know if the tree is stolen but going by Israel’s past record of theft, I have to assume that it’s stolen until proven otherwise.

        This June, settlers in Hebron set fire to a 1000-year olive tree.

  18. DICKERSON3870
    September 18, 2012, 1:07 am

    RE: “We demand the establishment of an investigative committee to examine . . . who ordered the bombing of the Masouda Shem-Tov synagogue in Baghdad, and if the Israeli Mossad and/or its operatives were involved.” ~The Ramat Gan Committee of Baghdadi Jews

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Lavon Affair]:

    [EXCERPTS] The Lavon Affair refers to a failed Israeli covert operation, code named Operation Susannah, conducted in Egypt in the Summer of 1954. As part of the false flag operation,[1] a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence for plans to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American and British-owned targets. The attacks were to be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, “unspecified malcontents” or “local nationalists” with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to retain its occupying troops in Egypt’s Suez Canal zone.[2] The operation caused no casualties, except for those members of the cell who committed suicide after being captured. . .

    . . . The operation ultimately became known as the Lavon Affair after the Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon was forced to resign as a consequence of the incident. Before Lavon’s resignation, the incident had been euphemistically referred to in Israel as the “Unfortunate Affair” or “The Bad Business” (Hebrew: עסק הביש‎, Esek HaBish). After Israel publicly denied any involvement in the incident for 51 years, the surviving agents were officially honored in 2005 by being awarded certificates of appreciation by Israeli President Moshe Katzav.[3]After being denied for 51 years, the surviving agents were in 2005 officially honored with a certificate of appreciation by the Israeli President Moshe Katzav.[3] . . .

    SOURCE –

  19. Walid
    September 18, 2012, 2:49 pm

    Annie, if you want numbers to give you an idea of what is involved in a settlelement that Israel is aiming for, a study was conducted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (a Zionist outfit) that concluded that 740,000 Palestinians fled in 1948 but some eventually returned leaving a total of 550,000 stranded outside Israel. To that, was added the 1967 refugees of 300,000, some of which returned or were already accounted for in the 1948 numbers leaving 100,000 (1967) refugees outside Israel for a grand total of 650,000 Palestinian refugees. The JCPA is saying there there were about 650,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries. As to the amounts Israel is estimating to use for a settlement, based on what the Palestinians left behind in 1948 and 1967 including bank accounts seized by Israel, the total was $450 million which in 2012 dollars translates to $4.4 billion; as to claims by Jews, the JCPA says the 1948 amount was $700 million, which in 2012 dollars translates to $6.7 billion.

    Of course, all these Israeli numbers in favour of the Jewish refugees are super-inflated, especially that in 1948 the massive Jewish inflow into Israel hadn’t yet started. But for whatever they are worth, these are the numbers that Israel will be carrying to the UN in a couple of days.

    The JCPA report from which these numbers were taken:

  20. ColinWright
    September 19, 2012, 1:13 am

    Walid says: “…As to the amounts Israel is estimating to use for a settlement, based on what the Palestinians left behind in 1948 and 1967 including bank accounts seized by Israel, the total was $450 million which in 2012 dollars translates to $4.4 billion; as to claims by Jews, the JCPA says the 1948 amount was $700 million, which in 2012 dollars translates to $6.7 billion…”

    The irony is that huge and problematical as those numbers are, they are peanuts compared to what we give Israel every decade plus what we pay her neighbors to put up with her.

    So pay off everybody, let the Arab Jews go back to their countries of origin if they like, and let the Palestinians go back to Palestine if they like.

    Of course, Israel would never agree to this if it were actually offered — but we all already knew that, didn’t we?

  21. Walid
    September 19, 2012, 4:03 am

    “Of course, Israel would never agree to this if it were actually offered — but we all already knew that, didn’t we?”

    Yes, Colin, we knew that. If it was just a matter of $4.4 billion, Saudi Arabia or Qatar would have cut a cheque in that amount in a flash, but as you astutely noted, this exercise is not at all about money but it’s simply calculated to be used by Israel in a stunt to offset Palestinian claims and against Jewish ones so the whole issue would fizz out. Considering that there are over 3 million stateless Palestinian refugees, $4.4 billion is a joke.

    About 15 years ago, Lebanon, for socio-political reasons, refused $10 billion offered by the US to have it absorb the 400,000 Palestinian refugees. Today it would cost more than twice that amount to build the necessary infrastructures to absorb these refugees, so you can see that the number of $4.4 billion that Israel came up with for ten times that number of refugees is absurd.

  22. kamanja
    September 19, 2012, 7:21 am

    There is a book out by Yehouda Shenhav, who like other Mizrahi intellectuals of the older generation has moved beyond discussion of Ashkenazi discrimination against Mizrahim (the secular Zionist movement that founded the state of Israel did not limit its discriminations to Mizrahim alone, its intra-Ashkenazi and other less obvious discriminations will hopefully be examined one day too), to the question of what to do now. Shenhav envisages a return of Palestinians that would to a degree both de-mine and redefine the question of damages and reparations.

    This is Dimi Reider on the book, which he recently translated into English:
    “Tel Aviv sociologist Yehouda Shenhav – in a surprising move for an academic long identified in the public eye as far to the left – forcefully argues the case for expanding the conversation to include Jewish rights in his new book, Beyond the two state solution: A Jewish Political Essay.
    Originally published as Trapped by the Green Line and due for publication this month with my translation, the book caused quite a stir in Israel, demolishing virtually every aspect of the Green Line’s image as a progressive artifact and, again, remarkably for an author identified strongly with the radical left, coming out in force against the eviction of settlements from a moral as well as a pragmatic perspective.
    The book has drawn considerable criticism and consternation on the centre-left but was welcomed by many on the further left – and right – of the Israeli public sphere, including figures in the settler movement as prominent as Uri Elitzur, Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff and the deputy editor of the main settler paper, Makor Rishon.
    Shenhav points out that the question of Jewish rights as part of the overall, interdependent political framework of the Middle East has a long pedigree in the Zionist movement. He quotes Martin Buber at the Zionist Congress of 1921: “Just as Arab rights should not be reduced under any circumstances, so should the right of the Jews be recognised to develop uninterruptedly in their ancient homeland, according to their national selfhood/independence, and to share that development with as many of their brothers as possible.””

    The idea of one set of reparations canceling out the other has been cooking for many, many years. Now that more are talking openly about Palestinian return, the government has made a public pronouncement on the issue to reassure its electorate which, like it or lump it, comprises many hardline Mizrahi Jews not in the least inclined to share country or identity with either Palestinian or other exiles.

    • Walid
      September 19, 2012, 4:31 pm

      Kamanja, the difference I see in the new Shenhav is that he no longer makes a distinction between the Mizrahim and the non-Mizrahim when it comes to which of the two having full rights to movement and settlement in what was once Palestine. In addition to asking for equal rights of settlement and movement for Palestinians all over Israel and the West Bank, he is now saying that this right should be extended to the non-Mizrahi Jews and that they could therefore stay put in their current settlements. In short, he simply took the Ashkenazi out of the dog house and said that as a Jew the Ashkenazi has a right to all of it too, just like the Palestinian.

      • kamanja
        September 20, 2012, 10:40 am

        There is no new Shenhav. Are you suggesting that he ever proposed that Ashkenazim lose their right of movement and settlement?

      • Walid
        September 20, 2012, 1:18 pm

        No he never proposed any such thing but I remember reading somewhere his explanation that the eastern Jews had a natural right to mostly everywhere in the Middle East and that there was nothing alien about their presence whether in Palestine or in the Arab countries. Something to do with there being no physical borders in the distant past and the natural people movement back and forth all over the region. I don’t remember him making such a generality about the Ashkenazi. Now he saying that “all” settlement Jews should stay put in the settlements and to me this is new.

  23. hophmi
    September 19, 2012, 3:22 pm

    Is there any evidence whatsoever that this statement represents anyone besides Almog Behar?

    • Annie Robbins
      September 19, 2012, 3:33 pm

      Is there any evidence whatsoever that this statement only represents Almog Behar?

      • hophmi
        September 19, 2012, 3:37 pm

        “Is there any evidence whatsoever that this statement only represents Almog Behar?”

        Well, you first. Your link to the statement is to Behar’s own website.

  24. kamanja
    September 19, 2012, 7:13 pm

    This clarification appeared on the Committee’s facebook page earlier today:

    “it is important for us to clarify this point:
    we do not try to idealize our past as Jews in Baghdad, or generally in the Arab world, we do want to see our past life and history and culture in it’s complexity, with the good and the bad,
    in that sense, we do not accept the way that is common is Israel, Europe and America, to see our life in the past as only a continuous persecution, with words taken from the christian European experience of old antisemitism and new scientific racism and pogroms leading to the Holocaust,
    the only event from our history taught in israel’s schools is the Farhud, and even in the center of Babilonian Jewry in Or-Yehuda this becomes the central event of our history,
    in that sense, without idealizing, in the majority of times until the 20th century we were under less persecutions than Jews in the christian world,
    in the 20th century, with colonialism, arab nationalism and zionism, things have changed a lot,
    we were a minority fighting for it’s rights in iraq, and if we would have stayed there – we would have continued fighting for our rights.
    we need to fight for our rights also in Israel (although as jews of the arab world we are not exactly a minority) – against racism and Oppression, and against being used economically, and against the making of our culture into a ridicule.”

    • Walid
      September 20, 2012, 12:23 pm

      Kamanja, this clarification is all about a proud people claiming back their dignity that was stolen from them by Israel for no other reason than the economics of snuffing out the Palestinians rightful claims to restitutions by Israel. Whether Muslims, Christians or Jews, Iraqis have a very rich cultural history and these Jews of Ramat Gan are reminding everyone about it.

      • kamanja
        September 20, 2012, 4:48 pm

        “this clarification is all about a proud people”
        “Layla Mourad was born in Al Zaher in Abbasia, Cairo in February 1917 to a Jewish Iraqi father, Ibrahim Zaki Mordachi, a famous singer and musician in the twenties, and to a Jewish Polish mother, Gamilah Salmon who gave birth to Mourad, Ibrahim, Malak, Mounir and Samihah.”

        To add to Shmuel’s, Zaki Mourad, an Egyptian of Iraqi extraction, sings a seasonal piyyut with his Polish-born wife and their daughter who in her heyday was considered a rival to Umm Kulthum.

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