One-stop blog on Jews from Arab and Muslim Countries and the Middle East's forgotten Jewish refugees, updated daily
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Show some sympathy for Yazidis
Gina Waldman The year 2014 will be remembered as the year that a genocidal group overran large parts of Iraq and Syria, destroying age -old minorities. Gina Waldman of JIMENA , writing in the Times of Israel, calls for sympathy with, and support for, beleaguered Yazidis: In 1941, during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, Iraq’s pro-Nazi government led by Rashid Ali al-Kailani encouraged mobs to pillage the Jewish quarter of Baghdad and to kill and rape innocent men, women, children, and babies. This pogrom or Farhud left 120 dead, dozens wounded and the Jewish quarter destroyed. In 1952, 120,000 Iraqi Jews were stripped of their nationality and fled with only the clothes on their backs. Today the Jewish community of Iraq is extinct.
Similar events are currently taking place in Iraq and again, violence is directed at minority communities who have been part of the fabric and the history of Iraq, and the Middle East, nearly 1,000 years before the advent of Islam. Violent attacks by ISIS targeting Yezidis, Shabaks, Assyrian Christians, and other groups have escalated to ethnic cleansing and genocide. The Middle East, which used to be one of the most diverse regions of the world, is sadly becoming one of the most homogenous.
In just 50 years, almost a million Jews, whose communities stretch back up to 3,000 years, have been 'ethnically cleansed' from 10 Arab countries. These refugees outnumber the Palestinian refugees two to one, but their narrative has all but been ignored. Unlike Palestinian refugees, they fled not war, but systematic persecution. Seen in this light, Israel, where some 50 percent of the Jewish population descend from these refugees and are now full citizens, is the legitimate expression of the self-determination of an oppressed indigenous, Middle Eastern people. This website is dedicated to preserving the memory of the near-extinct Jewish communities, which can never return to what and where they once were - even if they wanted to. It will attempt to pass on the stories of the Jewish refugees and their current struggle for recognition and restitution. Awareness of the injustice done to these Jews can only advance the cause of peace and reconciliation. (Iran: once an ally of Israel, the Islamic Republic of Iran is now an implacable enemy and numbers of Iranian Jews have fallen drastically from 80,000 to 20,000 since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Their plight - and that of all other communities threatened by Islamism - does therefore fall within the scope of this blog.)