T O P I C
EXPULSION OF JEWS AND CHRISTIANS
REDUCTION IN THE POPULATION
OF JEWS AND CHRISTIANS
IN ARAB COUNTRIES
The number of Jews in Arab countries was reduced from
1,600,000 (app) in 1948 to 4,315 (est) in 2012.
Other non-Muslim religions have and are still suffering,
Israel is the only non-Muslim country in the Middle East.
Since 1948 Palestinian refugees have been used as a tool
by Arab countries to convert this area to Islam.
OVERVIEW - THE JEWISH EXODUS FROM ARAB COUNTRIES
The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries or Jewish exodus from Arab countries (Hebrew: יציאת יהודים ממדינות ערב, Yetziat yehudim mi-medinot Arav; Arabic: هجرة اليهود من الدول العربية والإسلامية hijrat al-yahūd min ad-duwal al-ʻArabīyah wal-Islāmīyah) was the departure, flight, migration and expulsion of approximately 1,600,000 Jews by Arab countries. Of these about 600,000 came to Israel.
A small-scale exodus had begun in many countries in the early decades of the 20th century, although the only substantial aliyah came from Yemen and Syria. The first large-scale exoduses took place in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, primarily in Iraq, Yemen and Libya, with up to 90% of these communities leaving within a few years. The peak of the exodus from Egypt occurred in 1956. The exodus in the Maghreb countries peaked in the 1960’s. Lebanon was the only Arab country to see a temporary increase in its Jewish population during this period, due to an influx of refugees from other Arab countries, although by the mid-1970’s the Jewish community of Lebanon had also dwindled. In the aftermath of the exodus wave from Arab states, an additional migration of Iranian Jews peaked in the 1980’s when around 80% of Iranian Jews left the country.
260,000 Jews from Arab countries had immigrated to Israel between 1948 and 1951 and amounted for 56% of the total immigration to the newly founded State of Israel. 600,000 Jews from Arab and Muslim countries had reached Israel by 1972.
The reasons for the exodus included push factors, such as persecution, antisemitism, political instability, poverty and expulsion; together with pull factors, such as the desire to fulfil Zionist yearnings or find a better economic status and a secure home in Europe or the Americas. The history of the exodus is politicized, given its proposed relevance to a final settlement in the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. When presenting the history, those who view the Jewish exodus as equivalent to the 1948 Palestinian exodus, such as the Israeli government and NGOs such as JJAC and JIMENA, emphasize push factors such as cases of anti-Jewish violence and forced expulsions, and refer to those affected as "refugees". Those who argue that the exodus does not equate to the Palestinian exodus emphasize pull factors such as the actions of local Zionist agents aiming to fulfil the One Million Plan, highlight good relations between the Jewish communities and their country's governments, emphasize the impact of other push factors such as the decolonization in the Maghreb and the Lavon Affair and Suez War in Egypt, and argue that many or all of those who left were not refugees.
See also Point of No Return: Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries
The Huffington Post, June 19 2014, by Ron Prosor, Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations.
This month the United Nations marks World Refugee Day, a star-studded, multimedia campaign to raise awareness about the plight of refugees. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie have cut video spots that will be broadcast on television and spread on social media. Millions will participate in events spanning five continents, from concerts in London to a film festival in Beirut to a bike race in Ecuador. Yet mention of one group of refugees will be noticeably absent from any of these activities: the 850,000 Jews expelled from Arab countries during the past six decades. Their history remains one of the 20th century's greatest untold stories.
At the end of World War II, 850,000 Jews lived in Arab countries. Just 8,500 remain today. Their departure was no accident. After Arab leaders failed to annihilate Israel militarily in 1948, they launched a war of terror, incitement, and expulsion to decimate their own ancient Jewish communities.
In Iraq Jewish businessman Shafiq Adas, then the country's wealthiest citizen, was immediately arrested on trumped-up charges and publicly lynched. This was followed by bombings targeting Jewish institutions, arbitrary arrests of Jewish leaders, and massive government seizures of property. Within years virtually all of Iraq's 2,500-year-old Jewish community had fled, emptying the country of many of its greatest artists, musicians, and businessmen.
Similar scenes played out across the region, from Egypt to Syria to Libya to Yemen. State-sanctioned pogroms descended on Jewish neighbourhoods, killing innocents and destroying ancient synagogues and Jewish cemeteries. New, draconian laws prevented Jews from public worship, forced them to carry Jewish identity cards, and seized billions of dollars in their property and assets. The total area of land confiscated from Jews in Arab countries amounts to nearly 40,000 square miles -- about five times the size of Israel's entire land mass.
The vast majority of these Jewish refugees came to Israel, nearly doubling its population. Most entered the Land of Milk and Honey with no milk, no honey, and no money. They were embraced with full citizenship rights and ambitious programs for integration, rising to the highest levels of society.
The years have passed, but the injustice inflicted upon these Jewish refugees continues. Many around the world have remained silent and complicit as Arab governments have sought to erase all memory of their stories.
Nowhere is this revisionist history clearer than in the halls of the United Nations. Year after year Palestinian refugees attract more attention and resources at the U.N. than Britney Spears at a paparazzi convention, yet not a single syllable about the Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries can be found in any of the 1,088 U.N. resolutions on the Middle East or the 172 U.N. resolutions dedicated to Palestinian refugees.
While Arab leaders have found a refuge from reality at the U.N., they have been unable to outrun the consequences of religious and sectarian persecution, incitement, and violence at home. In the rubble of Aleppo's former Jewish neighbourhoods, Assad's Allawite-led regime continues to brutally suppress Syria's Sunni-led uprising. In Egypt mobs burn Coptic Christian churches in the same way that they attacked synagogues years ago. In Baghdad, where Jews once constituted a third of the population, Sunnis and Shiites remain pitted against each other after years of bloodshed.
Forging a peaceful future in the Middle East will require Arab governments to finally learn the lessons of their pasts. They must build inclusive societies that protect minorities and offer everyone a seat at the decision-making table.
The first steps toward true pluralism will come when Arab countries acknowledge the history of persecution and intolerance in their own lands. They should start by unearthing the 850,000 untold stories of Jews ripped from their ancient homes.
The historic Jewish presence in the Arab World must be recognized. The grave injustices inflicted upon them must be acknowledged. The crimes committed against them must be rectified.
Ya'akov Meron holds a doctorate in law from the Faculté de Droit de Paris and is an authority on Islamic law and the law of Arab countries. He was a member of the Israeli delegation to negotiate the peace treaty with Egypt and to solve the Taba issue.
In a key address before the Political Committee of the U.N. General Assembly on November 14, 1947, just five days before that body voted on the partition plan for Palestine, Heykal Pasha, an Egyptian delegate, made the following key statement in connection with that plan:
The United Nations . . . should not lose sight of the fact that the proposed solution might endanger a million Jews living in the Moslem countries. Partition of Palestine might create in those countries an anti-Semitism even more difficult to root out than the anti-Semitism which the Allies were trying to eradicate in Germany. . . If the United Nations decides to partition Palestine, it might be responsible for the massacre of a large number of Jews.
Heykal Pasha then elaborated on his threat:
A million Jews live in peace in Egypt [and other Muslim countries] and enjoy all rights of citizenship. They have no desire to emigrate to Palestine. However, if a Jewish State were established, nobody could prevent disorders. Riots would break out in Palestine, would spread through all the Arab states and might lead to a war between two races.
Heykal Pasha's thinly veiled threats of "grave disorders," "massacre," "riots," and "war between two races" did not at the time go unnoticed by Jews; for them, it had the same ring as the proposition made six years earlier by the Palestinian leader Hajj Amin al-Husayni to Hitler of a "final solution" for the Jews of Arab countries, including Palestine. But the statement appears to have made no lasting impression, to the point that a historian of the Jews in Egypt has described Heykal Pasha as "a well-known liberal."
Particularly noteworthy is that although Heykal Pasha spoke at the United Nations in his capacity as a representative of Egypt, he continuously mentioned the Jews "in other Muslim countries" and "all the Arab states," suggesting a level of coordination among the Arab governments. Indeed, four days after his statement, Iraq's Foreign Minister Fadil Jamali declared at the United Nations that "interreligious prejudice and hatred" would bring about a great deterioration in the Arab-Jewish relationship in Iraq and in the Arab world at large, thereby reinforcing the impression that Heykal Pasha was talking not just on behalf of Egypt but for all the independent Arab states. Further confirmation came several days later, after the General Assembly had decided in favor of partitioning Palestine, when, "following orders issued by the Arab League," Muslims engaged in outrages against Jews living in Aden and Aleppo.6
Another indication that Arab rulers coordinated the expulsion of Jews from their terrorites comes from a Beirut meeting one and a half years later of senior diplomats from all the Arab States. By this time, March 1949, the Arab states had already lost the first Arab-Israeli war; they now used this defeat to justify an expulsion that had been officially proclaimed before the war even began. As reported in a Syrian newspaper, "If Israel should oppose the return of the Arab refugees to their homes, the Arab governments will expel the Jews living in their countries."
According to Walid Khalidi, perhaps the leading Palestinian nationalist historian and a highly reputable source, "The Arabs held their ground throughout the period from November 1947 to March 1948. Up to March 1, not one single Arab village had been vacated by its inhabitants, and the number of people leaving the mixed towns was insignificant." The mass departure from Palestine of 590,000 Arabs began only in April 1948; yet , Heykal Pasha had publicly and very formally announced a program to expel Jews from Arab countries fully five months earlier.
To understand how and when the expulsion of Jews from the Arab countries was actually carried out, we look at the Iraqi case in some detail, then others more briefly.
As mentioned above, the Iraqi authorities openly and formally identified themselves with Heykal Pasha's threats just four days after he uttered them. Foreign Minister Jamali addressed the United Nations in this manner:
The masses in the Arab world cannot be restrained. The Arab-Jewish relationship in the Arab world will greatly deteriorate. . . . Harmony prevails among Muslems, Christians and Jews [in Iraq]. But any injustice imposed upon the Arabs of Palestine will disturb the harmony among Jews and non-Jews in Iraq; it will breed interreligious prejudice and hatred.
By "the masses in the Arab world," Jamali in fact meant his own government, which soon took a series of steps, including anti-Semitic legislation, against its Jewish population. This began with a 1948 amendment to the Penal Code of Baghdad, adding Zionism to other ideologies and behavior (communism, anarchism, and immorality) whose propagation constituted a punishable offense. Laws in 1950 and 1951 the deprived Jews of their Iraqi nationality and their property in Iraq, respectively.
At times, Iraqi politicians candidly acknowledged that they wanted to expel their Jewish population for reasons of their own, having nothing to do with retaliation for the Palestinian exodus. Perhaps the most interesting incident took place at the tail end of the Israeli war of independence, in late January or early February 1949, when Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Sa'id described a plan to expel Jews from Iraq to Alec Kirkbride, then the British ambassador at Amman, and Samir El-Rifa'i, head of the Jordanian government. Kirkbride recounts that Nuri
Came out with the astounding proposition that a convoy of Iraqi Jews should be brought over in army lorries escorted by armoured cars, taken to the Jordanian-Israeli frontier, and forced to cross the line. Quite apart from the certainty that the Israelis would not consent to receive deportees in that manner, the passage of Jews through Jordan would almost certainly have touched off serious trouble amongst the very disgruntled Arab refugees who were crowded into the country. Either the Iraqi guards would have had to shoot other Arabs to protect the lives of their charges. . .
Samir and I were flabbergasted and our faces must have shown our feelings. . . .
I replied, at once, that the matter at issue was no concern of His Majesty's Government. Samir refused his assent as politely as possible but Nuri lost his temper at being rebuffed and he said: "So, you do not want to do it, do you?" Samir snapped back: "Of course I do not want to be party to such a crime." Nuri thereupon exploded with rage and I began to wonder what the head of the diplomatic mission would do if two Prime Ministers came to blows in his study. We then broke up in disorder, but I got them out of the house whilst preserving a minimum of propriety.
Nuri probably chose the British embassy in Amman as the site at which to disclose his plan to the head of the Jordanian government because high-ranking British officials had often spoken of the need to exchange Palestinian Arab and Arab Jewish populations, and he most likely expected British understanding of, it not support for, his scheme.
Similarly, when Nuri visited Jerusalem on January 13, 1951, he met 'Arif al-'Arif, the Palestinian leader who served as Jordan's district commissioner for Jerusalem. 'Arif asked Nuri to hold up the departure of Jews from Iraq "until the problem of Palestine and of the refugees had been solved," or at least "for one or two years." Nuri refused to do so. Revealingly, his reasons bore only on considerations of internal Iraqi policy:
The Jews have always been a source of evil and harm to Iraq. They are spies. They have sold their property in Iraq, they have no land among us that they can cultivate. How therefore can they live? What will they do if they stay in Iraq? No, no my friend, it is better for us to be rid of them as long as we are able to do so.
Nuri candidly acknowledges here that he wanted the Jews out of Iraq, and never mind what consequences their exodus might have for the future of the Palestinian Arabs.
In conversation with foreign diplomats, however, Nuri presented the expulsion of Iraq's Jews in a very different light-as an exchange of population. On no less than six occasions in 1949, he made this point with foreigners.
In talks with the U.N. Reconciliation Commission in Baghdad on February 18, 1949 (in other words, even before the Beirut meeting of Arab diplomats in March 1949, when the Arab states coordinated their stand on the matter), he threatened harm to the Jews: "Iraq has thus far been able to protect its 160,000 Jews but . . . unless conditions improve and unless Jews now demonstrated their good faith with deeds not words Iraq might be helpless to prevent spontaneous action by its people."
To an American diplomat in Baghdad on May 8, 1949, Nuri mentioned his idea of a "voluntary exchange on pro rata basis of Iraqi Jews for Pal[estinian] Arabs," adding the threat that "firebrand Iraqis might take matters into [their] own hands and cause untold misery to thousands [of] innocent persons."
(3) On August 8, 1949, he raised with an official of the British Foreign Office the idea of "an exchange of population."
(4) On September 29, 1949, a member of the British embassy in Baghdad reported Nuri's wish "to force an exchange of population under U.N. supervision and the transfer of 100,000 Jews beyond Iraq in exchange for the Arab refugees who had already left the territory in Israeli hands."
(5) On October 14, 1949, Nuri spoke with U.N. officials about the exchange of "100,000 Baghdad Jews and 80,000 other Jews in Iraq for [an] equivalent number [of] urban Arab Palestinian refugees."
(6) To the Clapp Mission in 1949,19 Nuri presented the Jewish expulsion from Iraq as part of a population exchange.20
This (and other evidence) leads to the conclusion that while the Iraqi government sought to present the expulsion of Jews as a crowd-driven retaliatory act for the exodus of the Arab refugees from Palestine, it in fact had a full-fledged plan in place before the Arab refugee problem even came into existence.
This interpretation resolves a number of historical questions. It explains the origins of the otherwise mysterious legislation in 1950 depriving Jews of their Iraqi nationality. For example, Shlomo Hillel cannot understand how this complete reversal of the Iraqi attitudes happened, and suggests that Nuri Sa'id did not really intend immediately to apply the law. This author respectfully disagrees: take into account the U.N. declarations, the anti-Jewish legislation, and the government persecution of Jews, and it becomes clear that the deprivation of Iraqi nationality was but another step in a plan of expulsion.
The Iraqi plan of expulsion also explains the bombing of the Mas'uda Shem Tob Synagogue in Baghdad on January 14, 1951, as Jews were registering there to emigrate to Israel. Zionists have been accused of causing the violence in the hopes of spurring the Jews to leave Iraq, an accusation whose truth so eminent an authority as Elie Kedourie has said "must remain an open question." But knowing of the authorities' expulsion plan suggests that not Zionists but Muslim Iraqis were behind the incident . That an Iraqi army officer arrested for throwing the bomb belonged to the opposition Istiqlal Party points to that faction's responsibility.
Similar patterns of Jewish exodus existed in other Arabic-speaking countries, including Yemen, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Algeria and Jordan.
YEMEN. Yemeni persecution of Jews prompted a trickle of Jewish emigration to Palestine from the third quarter of the nineteenth century on. Heykal Pasha's speech merely added momentum to the longstanding Yemeni policy of discrimination against and degradation of Jews, based on a particularly pedantic interpretation of the Islamic law. A bribe from the American Joint Distribution Committee to Yemen's ruler, Imam Ahmad ibn Yahya, led to his agreeing to the mass exodus of Jews to Israel in 1949-50 by airplane via Aden, an operation known as "On Eagle's Wings" (or, in journalistic lore, "Magic Carpet"). The Jews of Yemen, relying on their own means, suffering losses of life and deprivations, traversed the desert to Aden by foot and on donkeys. There, the Jewish Agency lodged them in camps and eventually boarded them onto planes that took them to Israel. In this way, some 50,000 Yemeni Jews reached Israel during the two-year period.
We lack information about the Yemeni government's decision-making process. But this case provides the clearest example of Jews' being persecuted and expelled for reasons having to do with Islamic law.
LIBYA. In Libya, as in Yemen, the exodus of the Jews began even before Heykal Pahsa's declaration at the United Nations. Attacks on Jewish quarters in Tripoli and other cities occurred in 1945, leading to a death toll the British put at 130 Jews.24 In other words, Jews began leaving Libya three years before the establishment of Israel and seven years before Libya gained independence. Their departure turned into a mass exodus as soon as Israel gained independence and the gates opened to Libyan Jewry. As in Iraq, internal policy appears to be the reason both for the Jews' expulsion and for later rhetoric inviting them back.
SYRIA. In Syria, too, the majority of Jews departed before independence in 1946, and long before Heykal Pasha's statement and the establishment of Israel. As in Yemen and Libya, crude pressure on the Jews of Syria-such as the 1947 pogrom in Aleppo and the rape and murder of four Jewish girls who allegedly tried to smuggle themselves out of Syria-caused a substantial emigration.
While Syria is distinguished from other Arab countries by the fact that its legislation does not manifest discrimination against Jews, Heykal Pasha's policy was indeed applied there, too. The government seized control of Jewish property in Syria on the basis of emergency legislation and gave it to Arab refugees. Thus, Palestinians were settled in Damascus's Jewish ghetto, while the Alliance Israélite Universelle School, finished 1n 1939, became a school for Palestinian children. A diplomat at the French embassy in Damascus intervened with the Syrian authorities about this school and was told that the Syrian Jews had to provide room for the Arab refugees, the latter having been expelled by their Palestinian co-religionists.25
EGYPT. In some cases, the execution of the Arab plan of expulsion extended over a period much longer than that of the military hostilities. In Egypt, the expulsion reached its climax only after the overthrow of the monarchy by disgruntled army officers back from the Palestinian battlefield. In Algeria, which did not attain independence until 1962, the expulsion took place later yet.
Jews in Egypt faced acute problems in the 1940s but these did not set their mass departure in motion. Rioting against Jews occurred in November1945, then resumed in June-November 1948,26 the latter time inspired by the war with Israel. An amendment to the Egyptian Companies Law dated July 29, 1947, required that 40 percent of a company's directors and 75 percent of its employees be Egyptian nationals, causing the dismissal and livelihood of many Jews, 85 percent of whom did not possess Egyptian nationality.27 A letter to the editor of Akhir Sa'a in 1948 offers some insight into the predicament of Egyptian Jews:
It would seem that most people in Egypt are unaware of the fact that among Egyptian Muslisms there are some who have white skin. Every time I board a tram I hear people pointing at me with a finger and saying "Jew," "Jew." I have been beaten more than once because of this. For that reason I humbly beg that my picture (enclosed) be published with the explanation that I am not Jewish and that my name is Adham Mustafa Galeb.28
This testimony rather directly refutes the fine rhetoric of Heykal Pasha about Jews' enjoying "all rights of citizenship."
Cairo was slow in carrying out the plan proclaimed by its own diplomat, Heykal Pasha; only during and after the Suez Crisis of 1956 did Egyptian Jews leave in substantial numbers. At that time, the Egyptian Nationality Law was amended to prohibit "Zionists" from holding Egyptian nationality,29 Army Order no. 4 then confiscated property of individuals and associations;30 and supervision, imprisonment, or expulsion followed. The amendment to the Nationality Law of 1956 defined the term Zionism as "not a religion but the spiritual and material bond between those defined as Zionists and Israel."31 A furthur ministerial decree in 1958 indicates that all Jews between the ages of ten and sixty-five leaving Egypt would be added to the list of persons prohibited from reentering the country.32 Clearly, these decrees had little to do with the Arab refugees of a decade earlier.
ALGERIA. In Algeria, no significant Jewish emigration occurred until the summer of 1961, and then nearly the entire population was gone within the year.33 Algeria's independence from France was the key event here; Jews were no longer welcome after the French depature. The Algerian Nationality Code of 1963 made this clear by granting Algerian nationality as a right only to those inhabitants whose fathers and paternal grandfathers had Muslim personal status in Algeria.34 In other words, although the National Liberation Front in Algeria was known for its slogan "A Democratic Secular State," it adhered to strictly religious criteria in granting nationality.
JORDAN. No Jews lived in Transjordan in 1946 (when it became an independent state), as a result of Winston Churchill's 1921 decision in favor of "preserving [the] Arab character" of Transjordan35 and the resulting British policy forbidding Jews from settling there. Legislation passed in 1954 declared that only non-Jews coming from the former British Mandate of Palestine were entitled to Jordanian citizenship.36 What is so striking about Jordan is that although it lacked a Jewish population, it still shared in the general Arab trend of excluding Jews. Further, it actively discriminated against Lebanese and Syrian Jews.
A strange silence prevails over the expulsion of the Jews from Arab countries. Out of fifteen books (mainly autobiographies) written by Iraqi politicians and other public figures, only two make any reference to the farhud, the Iraqi pogrom of 1941 that first shook feelings among the Jews for the land of their very ancient residence and was the first step in their leaving the country. In his memoirs, Tawfiq as-Suwaydi, head of the Iraqi government and the man with whom the agreement to transport Jews from Baghdad to Israel by air was reached, "does not recall, if only by way of a mere hint, the actual departure of the Jewish communities from his country."
On the Israeli side, the establishment did little to break the silence about the dire circumstances of the Jewish exodus from Arab countries. Quite the contrary, the romantic "magic carpet" image for the migration from Yemen and the "Ezra and Nehemiah Operation" name attached to the Iraqi migration stress the positive, glossing over the unhappy circumstances of the Arab expulsions. Jean-Peirre Péroncel-Hugoz, a Frence orientalist and journalist at Le Monde, notes with surprise "that Israel only very rarely emphasizes the fact that a part if its population left property and space it legitimately owned in the Arab countries of its origin."
Palestinians are the only Arabs vocally to denounce the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries. This began in January 1951 with a telegram from 'Aarif to the Arab Legue after he failed in his efforts to persuade Nuri to stop the exit of Jews from Iraq. "Were every area of Arab land where Jews reside to retain the Jews and their property as a pledge, two problems would easily be solved, that of Palestine generally and that of the refugees in particular." Along these lines, the Palestinian National Covenant calls for sending the Jews back to their lands of origin. Nabil Hga'th, Yasir Arafat's advisor, twenty years ago drew attention to the invitation that the Sudan and Libya sent to "their" Jews to return, and called upon the Arab states to legislate a kind of "Law of Return" for Jews of Arab origins.
Remarkably, some Palestinians have come to see Jewish sovereignty in Israel in terms of a population exchange, and as the necessary price to be paid for the Arab expulsions. 'Isam as-Sirtawi, who participated in some well-known terrorist operations but later excelled in seeking contact with the Israelis, told Ha-'Olam Ha-zé editor Uri Avneir that he gave up terrorism against Israel and instead began promoting negotiations when he realized that Israel serves as the asylum for Jews expelled from Arab countries; and that there is no going back along that path.44 Sabri Jiryis, director of the Institute of Palestine Studies in Beirut, enumerated in 1975 the factors leading to the establishment of the State of Israel. The Arab states had much to do with this, for they expelled the Jews "in a most ugly fashion, and after confiscating their possessions or taking control thereof at the lowest price." These Jews then
Participated in the reinforcement of Israel, its strengthening and fortification to the degree we see it as present. . . . There is no need to say that the problem of those Jews and their passage to Israel is not merely theoretical, at least from the viewpoint of the Palestinian problem. Clearly, Israel will raise the question in all serious negotiation that may in time be conducted over the rights of the Palestinians. . . . Israel's arguments take approximately the following form: "It is true that we Israelis brought about the exodus of the Arabs from their land in the war of 1948 . . . and that we took control of their property. In return however you Arabs caused the expulsion of a like number of Jews from Arab countries since 1948 until today. Most of these went to Israel after you seized control of their property in one way or another. What happened, therefore, is merely a kind of 'population and property transfer,' the consequences of which both sides have to bear. Thus Israel gathers in the Jews from Arab countries and the Arab countries are obliged in turn to settle the Palestinians within their own borders and work towards a solution of the problem". Israel will undoubtedly advance these claims in the first real debate over the Palestinian problem.
In brief, 'Arif, Sirtawi, and Jiryis recognize that the expulsion of a million Jews from the Arab countries renders the return of Arab refugees infeasible. This realization is compounded by the fact that almost half a century has elapsed since the beginning of the refugee problem, both Arab and Jewish, within the Arab-Israeli conflict. Those individuals to be involved in any future rehabilitation program will mostly be heirs, and even grandchildren, of the original refugees.
Accounts of the late 1940s widely assume that the Arab exodus occurred first, followed by the Jewish expulsion. Kirkbride refers to "a decision of the Iraqi government to retaliate for the expulsion of Arab refugees from Palestine by forcing the majority of the Jewish population of Iraq to go to Israel."46 In Libya, too, there is a similar tendency to associate the uprooting of the Jewish community with the establishment of the State of Israel. "Jews," John Wright argues, "were forced out of Libya as a result of events leading up and following the foundation of the State of Israel in May 1948."
But these accounts oversimplify the actual sequence of events: as we have seen, in a good many cases, Jews were forced out well before the Palestinian exodus. As 'Arif, Sirtawi, and Jiryis acknowledge, the Arab states contributed substantially to the Palestinians' present predicament. A recognition of the full wrong done to the Jews of the Arab countries should put to rest Palestinian claims for restitution by Israel. As Péroncel-Hugoz correctly points out, the Jews "left property and space [they] legitimately owned" in the Middle East. In coming to Israel, then these Jews brought with them certain rights.
This information not only straightens out the sequence of events fifty years ago but it refutes exorbitant claims made in the name of Palestinians. A recognition of the true nature of those events represents the best chance for a swift resolution of the Palestinian refugee question today. With so many issues that will have a lasting effect on the future of their populations awaiting the attention of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, this is one case where the two sides would do well to let history stand and call it even.
A mass exodus of Christians is currently underway. Millions of Christians are being displaced from one end of the Islamic world to the other.
We are reliving the true history of how the Islamic world, much of which prior to the Islamic conquests was almost entirely Christian, came into being.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently said: “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.” In our lifetime alone “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.”
Ongoing reports from the Islamic world certainly support this conclusion: Iraq was the earliest indicator of the fate awaiting Christians once Islamic forces are liberated from the grip of dictators.
The 2010 Baghdad church attack, which saw nearly 60 Christian worshippers slaughtered, is the tip of a decade-long iceberg.
In 2003, Iraq’s Christian population was at least one million. Today fewer than 400,000 remain—the result of an anti-Christian campaign that began with the U.S. occupation of Iraq, when countless Christian churches were bombed and countless Christians killed, including by crucifixion and beheading.
The 2010 Baghdad church attack, which saw nearly 60 Christian worshippers slaughtered, is the tip of a decade-long iceberg.
Now, as the U.S. supports the jihad on Syria’s secular president Assad, the same pattern has come to Syria: entire regions and towns where Christians lived for centuries before Islam came into being have now been emptied, as the opposition targets Christians for kidnapping, plundering, and beheadings, all in compliance with mosque calls telling the populace that it’s a “sacred duty” to drive Christians away.
In October 2012 the last Christian in the city of Homs—which had a Christian population of some 80,000 before jihadis came—was murdered. One teenage Syrian girl said: “We left because they were trying to kill us… because we were Christians…. Those who were our neighbors turned against us. At the end, when we ran away, we went through balconies. We did not even dare go out on the street in front of our house.”
In Egypt, some 100,000 Christian Copts have fled their homeland soon after the “Arab Spring.” In September 2012, the Sinai’s small Christian community was attacked and evicted by Al Qaeda linked Muslims, Reuters reported. But even before that, the Coptic Orthodox Church lamented the “repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat.
Displacements began in Ameriya [62 Christian families evicted], then they stretched to Dahshur [120 Christian families evicted], and today terror and threats have reached the hearts and souls of our Coptic children in Sinai.”
Iraq, Syria, and Egypt are part of the Arab world. But even in “black” African and “white” European nations with Muslim majorities, Christians are fleeing.
In Mali, after a 2012 Islamic coup, as many as 200,000 Christians fled. According to reports, “the church in Mali faces being eradicated,” especially in the north “where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out… there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, churches and other Christian property have been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.” At least one pastor was beheaded.
Even in European Bosnia, Christians are leaving en mass “amid mounting discrimination and Islamization.” Only 440,000 Catholics remain in the Balkan nation, half the prewar figure.
Problems cited are typical: “while dozens of mosques were built in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, no building permissions [permits] were given for Christian churches.” “Time is running out as there is a worrisome rise in radicalism,” said one authority, who further added that the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina were “persecuted for centuries” after European powers “failed to support them in their struggle against the Ottoman Empire.”
And so history repeats itself.
One can go on and on:
In Ethiopia, after a Christian was accused of desecrating a Koran, thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes when “Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes.”
In the Ivory Coast—where Christians have literally been crucified—Islamic rebels “massacred hundreds and displaced tens of thousands” of Christians.
In Libya, Islamic rebels forced several Christian religious orders, serving the sick and needy in the country since 1921, to flee.
To anyone following the plight of Christians under Islamic persecution, none of this is surprising. As I document in my new book, “Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians,” all around the Islamic world—in nations that do not share the same race, language, culture, or economics, in nations that share only Islam—Christians are being persecuted into extinction. Such is the true face of extremist Islamic resurgence.
The end of Christianity in the Middle East could mean the demise of Arab secularism
William Dalrymple, The Guardian 23 July 2014
Disappearing Christians in the Middle East by Daniel Pipes Middle East Quarterly
They had everything in their hands; fire, axes, knives, swords... They were banging, trying to break the doors and they set the curtains on fire. Doris Keren-Gill, a Jew from Libya, well remembers the dark days of June 1967 when rioters destroyed her home and nearby synagogue. She escaped with her life. Today not a single Jew is left in Libya.
While the media focus on the events leading to Israel’s lightning Six Day War victory, the impact on the few thousand Jews remaining in Arab countries is forgotten.
In 1967, all these communities were shadows of their former selves. Ninety percent of their Jews had already fled: sprne 76,000 remained out of a1948 population of 900,000. Almost all had been deprived of civil rights but could still quietly pursue their education, run businesses and' enjoy a social life. The vindictive Arab reaction to Israel’s victory changed all that
IN SYRIA AND IRAQ, JEWS WERE KEPT HOSTAGE;
Jews fled Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia Jews in Libya, taunted by enraged mobs, and Aden, where the Jewishschool was burnt down, were evacuated for their own safety. In almost all Arab countries, there were demonstrations and anti-Jewish riots. Some governments actively persecuted their Jews as if they were Israelis.
Already Jews in Iraq had to carry yellow identity cards and were unable to leave. But Arab rage led to property seizures, beatings and arrests. Jews were sacked, telephones were cut off. On 27 January 1969 nine Jewish 'spies’ were executed and their bodies strungup in Baghdad’s Liberation Square. A million Iraqis came to celebrate. The arrests continued until 1972: some 50 Jews disappeared. Not permitted to leave, almost 2,000 Jews escaped Iraq with the help of Kurdish smugglers, leaving their homes and possessions behind.
JEWISH MIGRATION FROM LEBANON,
which accelerated in 1964, reached epidemic levels after the 1967war due to fears of impending riots. The mass exodus was followed by the abduction and murderofindividualJews.
Some of the ftercest riots broke out in Tunisia on 5 June 1967. The Great Synagogue in Tunis was set on fire. Panicking Jews abandoned their homes. Within five years, only about 7,000 remained.
a massive security deployment prevented loss of life during mass demonstrations. When the propaganda of an Arab victory turned out to be false, two Jews were murdered. An economic boycott against Jewish businesses was declared. Some 10,000 Jews left, mostly to France and North America.
curfews were imposed. Jews were housebound hostages, deprived of telephones and radios. Some 2,300 were smuggled to Israel from Syria, but it would be another 25 years before the rest would be allowed to emigrate.
the authorities arrested 400 Jewish males up to the age of 60 as ‘Israeli PoWs’.
They were interned for up to three years. The prisoners were abused and fed dirty bread containing cigarette butts and nails. The Rabbi of Alexandria was beaten senseless.
THE SIX DAY WAR
thus marked the irrevocable and silent demise, within a few years, of Jewish communities which had pre-dated Islam by 1,000 years.
Although they played no part in Israel’s victory and despite representations by Jewish groups and foreign governments, Jews in Arab countries paid a terrible price. In their determination to wreak revenge, Arab regimes committed serious human rights abuses.
They have never been held to account.
♦ Harif Is the UK Association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa.
Lyn^s book Uprooted: How 3OOO years of Jewish civilisation In the Arab world vanished almost overnight’ (Vallentlne Mitchell) will be out this year
Google Directory - Israel Palestine Conflict (review subcategories)
of the Human Rights Violations of Iraqi Jews Carole Basri
Middle East News: Israel, Palestine, Iraq, War & Terrorism
(by Charles Lipson of the University of Chicago, provides access to a wide variety of news sources)
Middle East Research and Information Project
(an excellent neutral site for background and detailed information)
http://en.sino-israel.org/ (comprehensive site about Israel in English and Chinese)
STORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
MASS CHRISTIAN EXODUS FROM PAKISTAN & MIDDLE EAST!
IS THIS THE END OF CHRISTIANITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST? -
The New York Times
22 July 2015
MOST PERSECUTED MINORITY: CHRISTIANS
PragerU 2014 (4.51)