Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Iraqi nationality policy condemned as antisemitic

In L'Humanite, one of the few western newspapers to comment on the implications for Jews of the latest draft of the Iraqi constitution, Paul Falzon accuses the new leadership of Iraq of playing the antisemitic card in order to paper over their factional differences.

As the story posted immediately below explains, most of the drafting committee has decided that Iraqi exiles are only eligible for nationality if they left the country after 1963, the year when the Ba'ath party staged its first coup d'etat. This means that tens of thousands of persecuted Jews - the population went from 134,000 in 1948 to 11,000 in 1952 - are being denied this right.

" While it would have been perfectly possible not to fix a cut-off date and to restore their nationality to all Iraqi exiles, irrespective of their religion and the reason for their leaving," Falzon writes," the new Iraq seems to be repeating the worst behaviour of the Arab nationalist regimes which spawned Saddam: discrimination on religious grounds and the systematic repression of Jews through state antisemitism.

"Let's hope that Parliament, which has the last word on the constitution, annuls the clause."

Article (in French) here.

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