“Have you noticed how Arab nationalism can never be held solely responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Middle East’s minorities”?, asks Point of No Return, a blog about Jewish refugees from Arab countries.
Indeed, as we’ve documented on numerous occasions, the Guardian continually whitewashes the ethnic cleansing of over 800,000 Jews from Arab countries between 1948 and 1972. Here are a few recent examples.
- On May 12, 2014, the Guardian’s Middle East editor Ian Black argued that the flight of hundreds of thousands Jews from Arab countries was “encouraged and facilitated” by Israel in the 1950s, and failed to so assign any blame whatsoever on Arab governments whose antisemitic policies were specifically designed to ‘facilitate” the expulsion of their Jewish citizens.
- A July 25th, 2013, edition of the Guardian’s Data Blog, edited by Mona Chalabi, titled ‘What happened to history’s refugees?, purported to document the major refugee populations through history, yet completely omitted any mention of the 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries.
- Harriet Sherwood published a report on July 27, 2013, at The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian), which noted in passing the demise of the Jewish community in east Jerusalem after 1948, yet didn’t explain why, and completely erased their (well-documented) expulsion by the Jordan Legion after Jordan took control of that half of the city during the 1948 War.
More broadly, argues Point of No Return, blame for the flight of Jews from Arab countries is typically cast on the “bêtes noires of trendy western elites” – colonialism and Zionism.
The most recent example of this politically correct habit of assigning blame for the ethnic cleansing of Jews either on Jews themselves or amorphous abstractions – rather than on antisemitic Arab leaders – can be found in a Guardian review by Christophe de Bellaigue of Justin Marozzi’s book Baghdad.
De Bellaigue writes:
“There were 80,000 Jews in Baghdad before the first world war, and they sat in the Istanbul parliament – halcyon days before the combined effects of British colonisation, Zionism and Arab nationalism ended the Jewish presence for good. When Marozzi arrived in Baghdad in 2004, the community was seven-strong.”
Point of No Return responds:
It is inaccurate to blame British colonialism for the end of the Jewish community. Quite the contrary: the 1920s under British mandate were the real halcyon days for the Jews – a time of great prosperity, when Jews staffed the civil service and provided the backbone to Iraq’s economy. The country’s first finance minister, Sasson Heskel, was a Jew.
Nor is it accurate to blame Zionism. The Jews were largely non-Zionist. Zionism was not the cause of their departure, but it provided a solution to their precarious plight following the savage 1941 Farhud pogrom in which at least 180 Jews were murdered. After 1948, the Jews, even the Communists among them, had somewhere to flee to – the new state of Israel.
Even if Israel had not been established it is plausible that the Jews would have been driven out of Iraq, in the same way as the Assyrians, Chaldeans and Mandeans.
Virulent Arab nationalism must therefore take the lion’s share of the blame for the demise of the Jewish community, as well as the persecution and exclusion of the other non-Muslim minorities.
That wave of nationalism has now been replaced by xenophobic [and violent] Jihadist Islamism.
We are now seeing the catastrophic consequences for Iraq’s ancient Christian heartlands, whose inhabitants are fleeing in droves.
Moreover, yet again, a Guardian contributor has attempted to expunge from the public record an indisputable saga regarding the ethnic cleansing of Jews – hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of Arab malevolence who, decades later, reluctantly assume the role of history’s forgotten refugees.