Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Iraqi Jews embrace activism to tell their story
In this 70th anniversary year of the Farhud pogrom, Iraqi Jews in the USA are planning to demonstrate outside the UN headquarters in New York in order to draw attention to the unknown history of human rights abuse suffered by Jews from Arab countries, now largely resettled in Israel.
The demonstration will take place at 11 am on 21 September and will coincide with Durban lll, The UN World Conference against Racism, expected to become another thinly-disguised attempt to condemn Israel as an Apartheid regime.
The head of the AA Association, the Iraqi-Jewish community in the US - lawyer and film-maker Carole Basri (pictured) - is circulating a letter to her community asking for support. Here are some extracts:
"As Iraqi Jews living in the US, the time has come when it is imperative for us to bring to the attention of the world the factual history of the Jews from Arab countries.
"This subject has received very little attention. In fact, this history of ours is not even known to most Jews, and it is time this untold truth be told:
"The FARHUD in 1941 was an uprising against the Iraqi Jews which killed almost 200 Jews in Baghdad. This tragedy occurred at the same time as the Holocaust, and well before the state of Israel came into existence.(June 1 & 2, 2011 was the 70th anniversary of the FARHUD.)
"900,000 Jews lived in Arab countries in 1948: They were forced to leave the countries they had lived in for over two thousand years due to Human Rights violations!
"These 900,000 Jews and their descendants make up over half the Jews in Israel today.
"These three simple facts are critical to understanding the current history of the Jews in the Middle East. It becomes crystal clear that the State of Israel is not just the result of the Holocaust but also the refuge and home of the dispersed Jews from Arab countries who left their homes and country due to the extreme Human Rights violations.
"The UNTOLD important Jewish history: This must be expressed by all means possible to educate those who know little or nothing about it. It is absolutely our moral responsibility, as Iraqi Jews in the United States, to make these facts known to our fellow Americans, as well as the World Community at large."
The executive committee of the World Organisation of Jews from Iraq (WOJI) is holding elections on 4 September. Any Jew over 18 born in Iraq or of Iraqi ancestry is eligible to vote. More details from firstname.lastname@example.org.