Ethnic Cleansing

December 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm (anti-semitism, Rosie B, Uncategorized)

Further to Jim’s post on antisemitism in the Middle East this programme,  The Last Jews of Iraq, should be heard (only available for another day).  It’s a story of ethnic cleansing, very moving and frightening.  It’s presented by Alan Yentob, the BBC grandee and himself the son of Iraqi Jews.

The Jewish population of Iraq had existed by the waters of Babylon since 597BC and in 1917 made up one third of the population of Baghdad.

They had their golden years in the 1920s and 1930s, living a comfortable and integrated life among their Arab neighbours.   When the state of Iraq was created, they regarded themselves as both Iraqis and Jews.

In 1936 Hitler’s Mein Kampf was translated into Arabic and published in Baghdad.   Ideological hatreds began to arise and with growing Zionism in the Middle East Jews began to be regarded as aliens and were  attacked in the streets.

Bookdisplayaleppo2
Mein Kampf – the Arab translation on sale in Syria

In June 1941, a Nazi sympathiser, General Rashid Ali al-Kailani seized power in a military coup.   A plan to exterminate the Jewish population of Iraq was formed.  The mayor of Baghdad (a Muslim) intervened,  General Rashid Ali fled the city, but there was a 2 day pogrom.  180 Jews were killed.

After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, 98% of the Iraqi Jews left.  Those who remained behind lived under suspicion and official persecution, culminating in public hangings which the government celebrated with a national holiday.

Any of these stories – Bosnia,  Rwanda, the Sunni-Shi-ite conflict in Iraq – will tell how different communities who had co-existed well enough turned into hostile tribes.  Suddenly your fellow citizens in all their different shadings become one kind of person or another – the person who denounces, pursues, even murders or the person who shelters and protects.

In 1947 there were 118,000 Jews in Baghdad.  There are now only seven left.

8 Comments

  1. Jim Denham said,

    Assange and his Wikileaks outfit knowingly (or, at the very least culpably negligently) put the few remaining Iraqi Jews at mortal risk:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/11/28/iraq-jews-in-baghdad-live-in-fear_n_1115965.html

  2. SteveH said,

    Still, on balance, Wikileaks is a most fantastic thing.

  3. Jim Denham said,

    “Wikileaks is a most fantastic thing”: unless you happen to be a Jew in Baghdad, an Iranian opponent of the Taliban, or a Russian opponent of the security apperatus or the semi-fascist security apperatus, with which Wikileaks’s correspondent there, Israel Shamir (also a holocaust denier) is closely associated.

    Check this out: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/dec/17/wikileaks-israel-shamir-russia-scandinavia

  4. SteveH said,

    Jimbo,

    On *balance* I said, on *balance*.

    Actually it is a most wonderful thing!

    Freedom of information now! Don’t fall for ruling class excuses about protecting the greater interest!

    • Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

      stupid dozy cuernt

  5. Jim Denham said,

    “Don’t fall for ruling class excuses about protecting the greater interest!”

    What about protecting human beings from the asshole Assange and his fascistic friends?

    PS: its good to see the cult has hit the buffers:

    “But what I found most astounding and compelling, was the portrayal, by Guardian journalist Nick Davies and New York Times former editor Bill Keller, of Assange as a complaining, hostile but, more importantly, dishonest man. ‘I think most people who know him go through this process: you start off trusting and liking him, then suddenly this kind of monster appears from behind the scenes and you kind of think – where on earth did that come from,’ Davies said. ‘You suddenly discover this extraordinarily dishonest man. I don’t know that I’ve ever met a human being as dishonest as Julian.'”

    see http://jenniferhros.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/secrets-and-lies-is-the-cult-of-assange-coming-to-an-end/

    • Rosie said,

      its good to see the cult has hit the buffers:

      I think John Pilger still remains faithful.

      I really would like someone to come up with the definitive answer of what good/evil Wikileaks has done. Eg “Key figures in the Arab world, according to the cables, repeatedly encouraged the United States to be more aggressive in its dealing with Iran. King Abudullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia made several impassioned pleas to U.S. officials to reduce the threat of Iran, at one point asking the United States to “cut off the head of the snake.”” – has having this public knowledge forced on them made Iran more twitchy and more likely to seek nuclear weapons for instance.

      There was one cable where American diplomats were cringing at the “special relationship” reassurances UK governments seek like a needy girlfriend. I thought that we might never have to hear that embarrassing crap ever again after that was made public. But no, the special relationship keeps on coming up like the needy girlfriend thinking she could just send one more text.

  6. Rosie said,

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