Guardian

Guardian puts politically correct spin on the demise of Iraq’s Jewish community


“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.

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Violence in 1941 before the Farhud

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.

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.

13 replies »

  1. The latest is a scurrilous tissue of lies by someone called Sami Ramadani. This dribbling idiot claims Iraq was a paradise of harmony before the invasion, and airbrushed out their record of antisemitism and massacres of minorities.

    Thankfully Ramadani was kicked to death by a number of commenters, but the Guardian’s decision to publish his load of filth demonstrates their shameless brown-nosing of Muslim racists.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/16/sectarian-myth-of-iraq

  2. But this analysis is at least as biased as those it accuses.

    For starters, not all of the 800,000 Jews who left ME countries did so under duress.

    ‘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.

    That’s plain dishonest. Said report did not “purported to document THE major refugee populations through history”. The byline referred to “some” of the largest human movements in history. It also – rightly – included both the ancient Israelites’ expulsion as well as the Russian pogroms, btw.

  3. For quite some time Israel’s detractors at the Guardian put aside the exodus of Jews from Arab lands due largely to Arab persecution because they had no answer for it. It was only a matter of time that they have started to re- visit the history to re-write the story to fit a narrative that suits their agenda, and to find some justification for the persecution, often using techniques of praising with faint damns the “other side’s” story. The Guardian’s involvement of giving platforms to points of view that on the whole are so intolerant and bigoted is to suggest that there is virtually no objective reporting on the most issues that concern Jews.

    • The Guardian’s involvement of giving platforms to points of view that on the whole are so intolerant and bigoted is to suggest that there is virtually no objective reporting on the most issues that concern Jews.

      What exactly does “issues that concern Jews” mean there?

  4. Ramadani doesn’t need evidence for the reasons he gives for the Jewish exodus from Iraq. In the Guardian he can make such assertions with relative impunity because he goes by the rule “four legs good, two legs bad”. The Guardian loves such stuff, they lap it up with alacrity. This way you can explain that anything nasty that happens to Jews is caused by the “two legs bad” Zionists. This will doubtless include the public hanging in January 1969 of several Baghdad Jews found guilty of espionage for Israel on trumped up charges. If it hadn’t have been for Zionists there would have been no need for the progressive and liberal Iraqi regime to have taken such unusual actions.

  5. I’m so sick of the reporting of in the Guardian. It appears to me that they decide on a subject, and then make up the story. They don’t fact-check their material because it is fiction to begin with. They have two bottom lines; one is hatred and the other is to keep controversy alive and well. What a purpose in life!