Sunday, July 16, 2006

Jews blamed for 1948 trouble in Libya

A letter written by a Libyan Jewish leader in November 1948 has come to light which strongly criticises the British administration in Tripoli for their handling of civil disturbances. (With thanks: Aldo)

The letter, by the vice-president of the Jewish community, Giuseppe Habib, protests that police efforts to find the perpetrators of an explosion on a Friday night had focused exclusively on the Jews. A young Jew, Lillo Mahleff, had been arrested.

"The Jewish population of Tripoli lives in a constant state of fear which deprives them of that serenity nexcessary to pursue their daily work and occupations in peace", Habib wrote.

The letter, found at the UK Public Records Office in Kew, points out to the British administration that it was highly improbable that a Jew should have violated the Sabbath to cause trouble. The Jewish population had welcomed Montgomery's eighth army in 1943 as liberators. But they were now reproaching Britain, known for its democratic values, for 'conduct which denies all moral values.'

During three days in November 1945, 130 Jews were murdered in three Libyan cities and property looted and damaged. The police were curiously absent and the British army failed to intervene for 48 hours. There were more anti-Jewish disturbances in June 1948.

No comments: