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[casi] The Jews of Iraq

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With thanks to Dave Rolstone.
Bint Jbeil, Frontier of Our Soul,

The Jews of Iraq
by Naeim Giladi

The Link interviewed Naeim Giladi, a Jew from Iraq, for three hours on March
16, 1998, two days prior to his 69th birthday. For nearly two other
delightful hours, we were treated to a multicourse Arabic meal prepared by
his wife Rachael, who is also Iraqi. "It's our Arab culture," he said

In our previous Link, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe looked at the hundreds of
thousands of indigenous Palestinians whose lives were uprooted to make room
for foreigners who would come to populate confiscated land. Most were
Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe. But over half a million other Jews came
from Islamic lands. Zionist propagandists claim that Israel "rescued" these
Jews from their antiJewish, Muslim neighbors. One of those "rescued" Jews
Naeim Giladi  knows otherwise.

In his book, Ben Gurion's Scandals: How the Haganah & the Mossad Eliminated
Jews, Giladi discusses the crimes committed by Zionists in their frenzy to
import raw Jewish labor. Newlyvacated farmlands had to be plowed to provide
food for the immigrants and the military ranks had to be filled with
conscripts to defend the stolen lands. Mr. Giladi couldn't get his book
published in Israel, and even in the U.S. he discovered he could do so only
if he used his own money.

The Giladis, now U.S. citizens, live in New York City. By choice, they no
longer hold Israeli citizenship. "I am Iraqi," he told us, "born in Iraq, my
culture still Iraqi Arabic, my religion Jewish, my citizenship American."

John F. Mahoney
Executive Director, AMEU

The Jews of Iraq

By Naeim Giladi

I write this article for the same reason I wrote my book: to tell the
American people, and especially American Jews, that Jews from Islamic lands
did not emigrate willingly to Israel; that, to force them to leave, Jews
killed Jews; and that, to buy time to confiscate ever more Arab lands, Jews
on numerous occasions rejected genuine peace initiatives from their Arab
neighbors. I write about what the first prime minister of Israel called
"cruel Zionism." I write about it because I was part of it.

My Story

Of course I thought I knew it all back then. I was young, idealistic, and
more than willing to put my life at risk for my convictions. It was 1947 and
I wasn't quite 18 when the Iraqi authorities caught me for smuggling young
Iraqi Jews like myself out of Iraq, into Iran, and then on to the Promised
Land of the soontobe established Israel.

I was an Iraqi Jew in the Zionist underground. My Iraqi jailers did
everything they could to extract the names of my coconspirators. Fifty years
later, pain still throbs in my right toea reminder of the day my captors
used pliers to remove my toenails. On another occasion, they hauled me to
the flat roof of the prison, stripped me bare on a frigid January day, then
threw a bucket of cold water over me. I was left there, chained to the
railing, for hours. But I never once considered giving them the information
they wanted. I was a true believer.

My preoccupation during what I refer to as my "two years in hell" was with
survival and escape. I had no interest then in the broad sweep of Jewish
history in Iraq even though my family had been part of it right from the
beginning. We were originally Haroons, a large and important family of the
"Babylonian Diaspora." My ancestors had settled in Iraq more than 2,600
years ago600 years before Christianity, and 1,200 years before Islam. I am
descended from Jews who built the tomb of Yehezkel, a Jewish prophet of
prebiblical times. My town, where I was born in 1929, is Hillah, not far
from the ancient site of Babylon.

The original Jews found Babylon, with its nourishing Tigris and Euphrates
rivers, to be truly a land of milk, honey, abundanceand opportunity.
Although Jews, like other minorities in what became Iraq, experienced
periods of oppression and discrimination depending on the rulers of the
period, their general trajectory over two and onehalf millennia was upward.
Under the late Ottoman rule, for example, Jewish social and religious
institutions, schools, and medical facilities flourished without outside
interference, and Jews were prominent in government and business.

As I sat there in my cell, unaware that a death sentence soon would be
handed down against me, I could not have recounted any personal grievances
that my family members would have lodged against the government or the
Muslim majority. Our family had been treated well and had prospered, first
as farmers with some 50,000 acres devoted to rice, dates and Arab horses.
Then, with the Ottomans, we bought and purified gold that was shipped to
Istanbul and turned into coinage. The Turks were responsible in fact for
changing our name to reflect our occupationwe became Khalaschi, meaning
"Makers of Pure."

I did not volunteer the information to my father that I had joined the
Zionist underground. He found out several months before I was arrested when
he saw me writing Hebrew and using words and expressions unfamiliar to him.
He was even more surprised to learn that, yes, I had decided I would soon
move to Israel myself. He was scornful. "You'll come back with your tail
between your legs," he predicted.

About 125,000 Jews left Iraq for Israel in the late 1940s and into 1952,
most because they had been lied to and put into a panic by what I came to
learn were Zionist bombs. But my mother and father were among the 6,000 who
did not go to Israel. Although physically I never did return to Iraqthat
bridge had been burned in any eventmy heart has made the journey there many,
many times. My father had it right.

I was imprisoned at the military camp of AbuGreib, about 7 miles from
Baghdad. When the military court handed down my sentence of death by
hanging, I had nothing to lose by attempting the escape I had been planning
for many months.

It was a strange recipe for an escape: a dab of butter, an orange peel, and
some army clothing that I had asked a friend to buy for me at a flea market.
I deliberately ate as much bread as I could to put on fat in anticipation of
the day I became 18, when they could formally charge me with a crime and
attach the 50pound ball and chain that was standard prisoner issue.

Later, after my leg had been shackled, I went on a starvation diet that
often left me weakkneed. The pat of butter was to lubricate my leg in
preparation for extricating it from the metal band. The orange peel I
surreptitiously stuck into the lock on the night of my planned escape,
having studied how it could be placed in such a way as to keep the lock from

As the jailers turned to go after locking up, I put on the old army issue
that was indistinguishable from what they were wearinga long, green coat and
a stocking cap that I pulled down over much of my face (it was winter). Then
I just quietly opened the door and joined the departing group of soldiers as
they strode down the hall and outside, and I offered a "good night" to the
shift guard as I left. A friend with a car was waiting to speed me away.

Later I made my way to the new state of Israel, arriving in May, 1950. My
passport had my name in Arabic and English, but the English couldn't capture
the "kh" sound, so it was rendered simply as Klaski. At the border, the
immigration people applied the English version, which had an Eastern
European, Ashkenazi ring to it. In one way, this "mistake" was my key to
discovering very soon just how the Israeli caste system worked.

They asked me where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. I was the son of
a farmer; I knew all the problems of the farm, so I volunteered to go to
Dafnah, a farming kibbutz in the high Galilee. I only lasted a few weeks.
The new immigrants were given the worst of everything. The food was the
same, but that was the only thing that everyone had in common. For the
immigrants, bad cigarettes, even bad toothpaste. Everything. I left.

Then, through the Jewish Agency, I was advised to go to alMajdal (later
renamed Ashkelon), an Arab town about 9 miles from Gaza, very close to the
Mediterranean. The Israeli government planned to turn it into a farmers'
city, so my farm background would be an asset there.

When I reported to the Labor Office in alMajdal, they saw that I could read
and write Arabic and Hebrew and they said that I could find a goodpaying job
with the Military Governor's office. The Arabs were under the authority of
these Israeli Military Governors. A clerk handed me a bunch of forms in
Arabic and Hebrew. Now it dawned on me. Before Israel could establish its
farmers' city, it had to rid alMajdal of its indigenous Palestinians. The
forms were petitions to the United Nations Inspectors asking for transfer
out of Israel to Gaza, which was under Egyptian control.

I read over the petition. In signing, the Palestinian would be saying that
he was of sound mind and body and was making the request for transfer free
of pressure or duress. Of course, there was no way that they would leave
without being pressured to do so. These families had been there hundreds of
years, as farmers, primitive artisans, weavers. The Military Governor
prohibited them from pursuing their livelihoods, just penned them up until
they lost hope of resuming their normal lives. That's when they signed to

I was there and heard their grief. "Our hearts are in pain when we look at
the orange trees that we planted with our own hands. Please let us go, let
us give water to those trees. God will not be pleased with us if we leave
His trees untended." I asked the Military Governor to give them relief, but
he said, "No, we want them to leave."

I could no longer be part of this oppression and I left. Those Palestinians
who didn't sign up for transfers were taken by forcejust put in trucks and
dumped in Gaza. About four thousand people were driven from alMajdal in one
way or another. The few who remained were collaborators with the Israeli

Subsequently, I wrote letters trying to get a government job elsewhere and I
got many immediate responses asking me to come for an interview. Then they
would discover that my face didn't match my Polish/Ashkenazi name. They
would ask if I spoke Yiddish or Polish, and when I said I didn't, they would
ask where I came by a Polish name. Desperate for a good job, I would usually
say that I thought my greatgrandfather was from Poland. I was advised time
and again that "we'll give you a call."

Eventually, three to four years after coming to Israel, I changed my name to
Giladi, which is close to the code name, Gilad, that I had in the Zionist
underground. Klaski wasn't doing me any good anyway, and my Eastern friends
were always chiding me about the name they knew didn't go with my origins as
an Iraqi Jew.

I was disillusioned at what I found in the Promised Land, disillusioned
personally, disillusioned at the institutionalized racism, disillusioned at
what I was beginning to learn about Zionism's cruelties. The principal
interest Israel had in Jews from Islamic countries was as a supply of cheap
labor, especially for the farm work that was beneath the urbanized Eastern
European Jews. Ben Gurion needed the "Oriental" Jews to farm the thousands
of acres of land left by Palestinians who were driven out by Israeli forces
in 1948.

And I began to find out about the barbaric methods used to rid the fledgling
state of as many Palestinians as possible. The world recoils today at the
thought of bacteriological warfare, but Israel was probably the first to
actually use it in the Middle East. In the 1948 war, Jewish forces would
empty Arab villages of their populations, often by threats, sometimes by
just gunning down a halfdozen unarmed Arabs as examples to the rest. To make
sure the Arabs couldn't return to make a fresh life for themselves in these
villages, the Israelis put typhus and dysentery bacteria into the water

Uri Mileshtin, an official historian for the Israeli Defense Force, has
written and spoken about the use of bacteriological agents. According to
Mileshtin, Moshe Dayan, a division commander at the time, gave orders in
1948 to remove Arabs from their villages, bulldoze their homes, and render
water wells unusable with typhus and dysentery bacteria.

Acre was so situated that it could practically defend itself with one big
gun, so the Haganah put bacteria into the spring that fed the town. The
spring was called Capri and it ran from the north near a kibbutz. The
Haganah put typhus bacteria into the water going to Acre, the people got
sick, and the Jewish forces occupied Acre. This worked so well that they
sent a Haganah division dressed as Arabs into Gaza, where there were
Egyptian forces, and the Egyptians caught them putting two cans of bacteria,
typhus and dysentery, into the water supply in wanton disregard of the
civilian population. "In war, there is no sentiment," one of the captured
Haganah men was quoted as saying.

My activism in Israel began shortly after I received a letter from the
Socialist/Zionist Party asking me to help with their Arabic newspaper. When
I showed up at their offices at Central House in Tel Aviv, I asked around to
see just where I should report. I showed the letter to a couple of people
there and, without even looking at it, they would motion me away with the
words, "Room No. 8." When I saw that they weren't even reading the letter, I
inquired of several others. But the response was the same, "Room No. 8,"
with not a glance at the paper I put in front of them.

So I went to Room 8 and saw that it was the Department of Jews from Islamic
Countries. I was disgusted and angry. Either I am a member of the party or
I'm not. Do I have a different ideology or different politics because I am
an Arab Jew? It's segregation, I thought, just like a Negroes' Department. I
turned around and walked out. That was the start of my open protests. That
same year I organized a demonstration in Ashkelon against Ben Gurion's
racist policies and 10,000 people turned out.

There wasn't much opportunity for those of us who were second class citizens
to do much about it when Israel was on a war footing with outside enemies.
After the 1967 war, I was in the Army myself and served in the Sinai when
there was continued fighting along the Suez Canal. But the ceasefire with
Egypt in 1970 gave us our opening. We took to the streets and organized
politically to demand equal rights. If it's our country, if we were expected
to risk our lives in a border war, then we expected equal treatment.

We mounted the struggle so tenaciously and received so much publicity that
the Israeli government tried to discredit our movement by calling us
"Israel's Black Panthers." They were thinking in racist terms, really, in
assuming the Israeli public would reject an organization whose ideology was
being compared to that of radical blacks in the United States. But we saw
that what we were doing was no different than what blacks in the United
States were fighting againstsegregation, discrimination, unequal treatment.
Rather than reject the label, we adopted it proudly. I had posters of Martin
Luther King, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and other civil rights activists
plastered all over my office.

With the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the Israelicondoned Sabra and
Shatilla massacres, I had had enough of Israel. I became a United States
citizen and made certain to revoke my Israeli citizenship. I could never
have written and published my book in Israel, not with the censorship they
would impose.

Even in America, I had great difficulty finding a publisher because many are
subject to pressures of one kind or another from Israel and its friends. I
ended up paying $60,000 from my own pocket to publish Ben Gurion's Scandals:
How the Haganah & the Mossad Eliminated Jews, virtually the entire proceeds
from having sold my house in Israel.

I still was afraid that the printer would back out or that legal proceedings
would be initiated to stop its publication, like the Israeli government did
in an attempt to prevent former Mossad case officer Victor Ostrovsky from
publishing his first book. Ben Gurion's Scandals had to be translated into
English from two languages. I wrote in Hebrew when I was in Israel and hoped
to publish the book there, and I wrote in Arabic when I was completing the
book after coming to the U.S. But I was so worried that something would stop
publication that I told the printer not to wait for the translations to be
thoroughly checked and proofread. Now I realize that the publicity of a
lawsuit would just have created a controversial interest in the book.

I am using bank vault storage for the valuable documents that back up what I
have written. These documents, including some that I illegally copied from
the archives at Yad Vashem, confirm what I saw myself, what I was told by
other witnesses, and what reputable historians and others have written
concerning the Zionist bombings in Iraq, Arab peace overtures that were
rebuffed, and incidents of violence and death inflicted by Jews on Jews in
the cause of creating Israel.

The Riots of 1941

If, as I have said, my family in Iraq was not persecuted personally and I
knew no deprivation as a member of the Jewish minority, what led me to the
steps of the gallows as a member of the Zionist underground? To answer that
question, it is necessary to establish the context of the massacre that
occurred in Baghdad on June 1, 1941, when several hundred Iraqi Jews were
killed in riots involving junior officers of the Iraqi army. I was 12 years
of age and many of those killed were my friends. I was angry, and very

What I didn't know at the time was that the riots most likely were stirred
up by the British, in collusion with a proBritish Iraqi leadership.

With the breakup of the Ottoman Empire following WW I, Iraq came under
British "tutelage." Amir Faisal, son of Sharif Hussein who had led the Arab
Revolt against the Ottoman sultan, was brought in from Mecca by the British
to become King of Iraq in 1921. Many Jews were appointed to key
administrative posts, including that of economics minister. Britain retained
final authority over domestic and external affairs. Britain's proZionist
attitude in Palestine, however, triggered a growing antiZionist backlash in
Iraq, as it did in all Arab countries. Writing at the end of 1934, Sir
Francis Humphreys, Britain's Ambassador in Baghdad, noted that, while before
WW I Iraqi Jews had enjoyed a more favorable position than any other
minority in the country, since then "Zionism has sown dissension between
Jews and Arabs, and a bitterness has grown up between the two peoples which
did not previously exist."

King Faisal died in 1933. He was succeeded by his son Ghazi, who died in a
motor car accident in 1939. The crown then passed to Ghazi's 4yearold son,
Faisal II, whose uncle, Abd alIlah, was named regent. Abd alIlah selected
Nouri elSaid as prime minister. ElSaid supported the British and, as hatred
of the British grew, he was forced from office in March 1940 by four senior
army officers who advocated Iraq's independence from Britain. Calling
themselves the Golden Square, the officers compelled the regent to name as
prime minister Rashid Ali alKilani, leader of the National Brotherhood

The time was 1940 and Britain was reeling from a strong German offensive.
AlKilani and the Golden Square saw this as their opportunity to rid
themselves of the British once and for all. Cautiously they began to
negotiate for German support, which led the proBritish regent Abd alIlah to
dismiss alKilani in January 1941. By April, however, the Golden Square
officers had reinstated the prime minister.

This provoked the British to send a military force into Basra on April 12,
1941. Basra, Iraq's second largest city, had a Jewish population of 30,000.
Most of these Jews made their livings from import/export, money changing,
retailing, as workers in the airports, railways, and ports, or as senior
government employees.

On the same day, April 12, supporters of the proBritish regent notified the
Jewish leaders that the regent wanted to meet with them. As was their
custom, the leaders brought flowers for the regent. Contrary to custom,
however, the cars that drove them to the meeting place dropped them off at
the site where the British soldiers were concentrated.

Photographs of the Jews appeared in the following day's newspapers with the
banner "Basra Jews Receive British Troops with Flowers." That same day,
April 13, groups of angry Arab youths set about to take revenge against the
Jews. Several Muslim notables in Basra heard of the plan and calmed things
down. Later, it was learned that the regent was not in Basra at all and that
the matter was a provocation by his proBritish supporters to bring about an
ethnic war in order to give the British army a pretext to intervene.

The British continued to land more forces in and around Basra. On May 7,
1941, their Gurkha unit, composed of Indian soldiers from that ethnic group,
occupied Basra's elOshar quarter, a neighborhood with a large Jewish
population. The soldiers, led by British officers, began looting. Many shops
in the commercial district were plundered. Private homes were broken into.
Cases of attempted rape were reported. Local residents, Jews and Muslims,
responded with pistols and old rifles, but their bullets were no match for
the soldiers' Tommy Guns.

Afterwards, it was learned that the soldiers acted with the acquiescence, if
not the blessing, of their British commanders. (It should be remembered that
the Indian soldiers, especially those of the Gurkha unit, were known for
their discipline, and it is highly unlikely they would have acted so
riotously without orders.) The British goal clearly was to create chaos and
to blacken the image of the pronationalist regime in Baghdad, thereby giving
the British forces reason to proceed to the capital and to overthrow the
alKilani government.

Baghdad fell on May 30. AlKilani fled to Iran, along with the Golden Square
officers. Radio stations run by the British reported that Regent Abd alIlah
would be returning to the city and that thousands of Jews and others were
planning to welcome him. What inflamed young Iraqis against the Jews most,
however, was the radio announcer Yunas Bahri on the German station "Berlin,"
who reported in Arabic that Jews from Palestine were fighting alongside the
British against Iraqi soldiers near the city of Faluja. The report was

On Sunday, June 1, unarmed fighting broke out in Baghdad between Jews who
were still celebrating their Shabuoth holiday and young Iraqis who thought
the Jews were celebrating the return of the proBritish regent. That evening,
a group of Iraqis stopped a bus, removed the Jewish passengers, murdered one
and fatally wounded a second.

About 8:30 the following morning, some 30 individuals in military and police
uniforms opened fire along elAmin street, a small downtown street whose
jewelry, tailor and grocery shops were Jewishowned. By 11 a.m., mobs of
Iraqis with knives, switchblades and clubs were attacking Jewish homes in
the area.

The riots continued throughout Monday, June 2. During this time, many
Muslims rose to defend their Jewish neighbors, while some Jews successfully
defended themselves. There were 124 killed and 400 injured, according to a
report written by a Jewish Agency messenger who was in Iraq at the time.
Other estimates, possibly less reliable, put the death toll higher, as many
as 500, with from 650 to 2,000 injured. From 500 to 1,300 stores and more
than 1,000 homes and apartments were looted.

Who was behind the rioting in the Jewish quarter?

Yosef Meir, one of the most prominent activists in the Zionist underground
movement in Iraq, known then as Yehoshafat, claims it was the British. Meir,
who now works for the Israeli Defense Ministry, argues that, in order to
make it appear that the regent was returning as the savior who would
reestablish law and order, the British stirred up the riots against the most
vulnerable and visible segment in the city, the Jews. And, not surprisingly,
the riots ended as soon as the regent's loyal soldiers entered the capital.

My own investigations as a journalist lead me to believe Meir is correct.
Furthermore, I think his claims should be seen as based on documents in the
archives of the Israeli Defense Ministry, the agency that published his
book. Yet, even before his book came out, I had independent confirmation
from a man I met in Iran in the late Forties.

His name was Michael Timosian, an Iraqi Armenian. When I met him he was
working as a male nurse at the AngloIranian Oil Company in Abadan in the
south of Iran. On June 2, 1941, however, he was working at the Baghdad
hospital where many of the riot victims were brought. Most of these victims
were Jews.

Timosian said he was particularly interested in two patients whose conduct
did not follow local custom. One had been hit by a bullet in his shoulder,
the other by a bullet in his right knee. After the doctor removed the
bullets, the staff tried to change their bloodsoaked cloths. But the two men
fought off their efforts, pretending to be speechless, although tests showed
they could hear. To pacify them, the doctor injected them with anesthetics
and, as they were sleeping, Timosian changed their cloths. He discovered
that one of them had around his neck an identification tag of the type used
by British troops, while the other had tattoos with Indian script on his
right arm along with the familiar sword of the Gurkha.

The next day when Timosian showed up for work, he was told that a British
officer, his sergeant and two Indian Gurkha soldiers had come to the
hospital early that morning. Staff members overheard the Gurkha soldiers
talking with the wounded patients, who were not as dumb as they had
pretended. The patients saluted the visitors, covered themselves with sheets
and, without signing the required release forms, left the hospital with
their visitors.

Today there is no doubt in my mind that the antiJewish riots of 1941 were
orchestrated by the British for geopolitical ends. David Kimche is certainly
a man who was in a position to know the truth, and he has spoken publicly
about British culpability. Kimche had been with British Intelligence during
WW II and with the Mossad after the war. Later he became Director General of
Israel's Foreign Ministry, the position he held in 1982 when he addressed a
forum at the British Institute for International Affairs in London.

In responding to hostile questions about Israel's invasion of Lebanon and
the refugee camp massacres in Beirut, Kimche went on the attack, reminding
the audience that there was scant concern in the British Foreign Office when
British Gurkha units participated in the murder of 500 Jews in the streets
of Baghdad in 1941.

The Bombings of 19501951

The antiJewish riots of 1941 did more than create a pretext for the British
to enter Baghdad to reinstate the proBritish regent and his proBritish prime
minister, Nouri elSaid. They also gave the Zionists in Palestine a pretext
to set up a Zionist underground in Iraq, first in Baghdad, then in other
cities such as Basra, Amara, Hillah, Diwaneia, Abril and Karkouk.

Following WW II, a succession of governments held brief power in Iraq.
Zionist conquests in Palestine, particularly the massacre of Palestinians in
the village of Deir Yassin, emboldened the antiBritish movement in Iraq.
When the Iraqi government signed a new treaty of friendship with London in
January 1948, riots broke out all over the country. The treaty was quickly
abandoned and Baghdad demanded removal of the British military mission that
had run Iraq's army for 27 years.

Later in 1948, Baghdad sent an army detachment to Palestine to fight the
Zionists, and when Israel declared independence in May, Iraq closed the
pipeline that fed its oil to Haifa's refinery. Abd alIlah, however, was
still regent and the British quisling, Nouri elSaid, was back as prime
minister. I was in the AbuGreib prison in 1948, where I would remain until
my escape to Iran in September 1949.

Six months laterthe exact date was March 19, 1950a bomb went off at the
American Cultural Center and Library in Baghdad, causing property damage and
injuring a number of people. The center was a favorite meeting place for
young Jews.

The first bomb thrown directly at Jews occurred on April 8, 1950, at 9:15
p.m. A car with three young passengers hurled the grenade at Baghdad's ElDar
ElBida Café, where Jews were celebrating Passover. Four people were
seriously injured. That night leaflets were distributed calling on Jews to
leave Iraq immediately.

The next day, many Jews, most of them poor with nothing to lose, jammed
emigration offices to renounce their citizenship and to apply for permission
to leave for Israel. So many applied, in fact, that the police had to open
registration offices in Jewish schools and synagogues.

On May 10, at 3 a.m., a grenade was tossed in the direction of the display
window of the Jewishowned BeitLawi Automobile Company, destroying part of
the building. No casualties were reported.

On June 3, 1950, another grenade was tossed from a speeding car in the
ElBatawin area of Baghdad where most rich Jews and middle class Iraqis
lived. No one was hurt, but following the explosion Zionist activists sent
telegrams to Israel requesting that the quota for immigration from Iraq be

On June 5, at 2:30 a.m., a bomb exploded next to the Jewishowned Stanley
Shashua building on ElRashid street, resulting in property damage but no

On January 14, 1951, at 7 p.m., a grenade was thrown at a group of Jews
outside the Masouda ShemTov Synagogue. The explosive struck a highvoltage
cable, electrocuting three Jews, one a young boy, Itzhak Elmacher, and
wounding over 30 others. Following the attack, the exodus of Jews jumped to
between 600700 per day.

Zionist propagandists still maintain that the bombs in Iraq were set off by
antiJewish Iraqis who wanted Jews out of their country. The terrible truth
is that the grenades that killed and maimed Iraqi Jews and damaged their
property were thrown by Zionist Jews.

Among the most important documents in my book, I believe, are copies of two
leaflets published by the Zionist underground calling on Jews to leave Iraq.
One is dated March 16, 1950, the other April 8, 1950.

The difference between these two is critical. Both indicate the date of
publication, but only the April 8th leaflet notes the time of day: 4 p.m.
Why the time of day? Such a specification was unprecedented. Even the
investigating judge, Salaman ElBeit, found it suspicious. Did the 4 p.m.
writers want an alibi for a bombing they knew would occur five hours later?
If so, how did they know about the bombing? The judge concluded they knew
because a connection existed between the Zionist underground and the bomb

This, too, was the conclusion of Wilbur Crane Eveland, a former senior
officer in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), whom I had the opportunity
to meet in New York in 1988. In his book, Ropes of Sand, whose publication
the CIA opposed, Eveland writes:

In attempts to portray the Iraqis as antiAmerican and to terrorize the Jews,
the Zionists planted bombs in the U.S. Information Service library and in
synagogues. Soon leaflets began to appear urging Jews to flee to Israel. . .
. Although the Iraqi police later provided our embassy with evidence to show
that the synagogue and library bombings, as well as the antiJewish and
antiAmerican leaflet campaigns, had been the work of an underground Zionist
organization, most of the world believed reports that Arab terrorism had
motivated the flight of the Iraqi Jews whom the Zionists had "rescued"
really just in order to increase Israel's Jewish population."

Eveland doesn't detail the evidence linking the Zionists to the attacks, but
in my book I do. In 1955, for example, I organized in Israel a panel of
Jewish attorneys of Iraqi origin to handle claims of Iraqi Jews who still
had property in Iraq. One well known attorney, who asked that I not give his
name, confided in me that the laboratory tests in Iraq had confirmed that
the antiAmerican leaflets found at the American Cultural Center bombing were
typed on the same typewriter and duplicated on the same stenciling machine
as the leaflets distributed by the Zionist movement just before the April
8th bombing.

Tests also showed that the type of explosive used in the BeitLawi attack
matched traces of explosives found in the suitcase of an Iraqi Jew by the
name of Yosef Basri. Basri, a lawyer, together with Shalom Salih, a
shoemaker, would be put on trial for the attacks in December 1951 and
executed the following month. Both men were members of Hashura, the military
arm of the Zionist underground. Salih ultimately confessed that he, Basri
and a third man, Yosef Habaza, carried out the attacks.

By the time of the executions in January 1952, all but 6,000 of an estimated
125,000 Iraqi Jews had fled to Israel. Moreover, the proBritish, proZionist
puppet elSaid saw to it that all of their possessions were frozen, including
their cash assets. (There were ways of getting Iraqi dinars out, but when
the immigrants went to exchange them in Israel they found that the Israeli
government kept 50 percent of the value.) Even those Iraqi Jews who had not
registered to emigrate, but who happened to be abroad, faced loss of their
nationality if they didn't return within a specified time. An ancient,
cultured, prosperous community had been uprooted and its people transplanted
to a land dominated by East European Jews, whose culture was not only
foreign but entirely hateful to them.

The Ultimate Criminals

Zionist Leaders.

>From the start they knew that in order to establish a Jewish state they had
to expel the indigenous Palestinian population to the neighboring Islamic
states and import Jews from these same states.

Theodor Herzl, the architect of Zionism, thought it could be done by social
engineering. In his diary entry for 12 June 1885, he wrote that Zionist
settlers would have to "spirit the penniless population across the border by
procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any
employment in our own country."

Vladimir Jabotinsky, Prime Minister Netanyahu's ideological progenitor,
frankly admitted that such a transfer of populations could only be brought
about by force.

David Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, told a Zionist Conference
in 1937 that any proposed Jewish state would have to "transfer Arab
populations out of the area, if possible of their own free will, if not by
coercion." After 750,000 Palestinians were uprooted and their lands
confiscated in 194849, Ben Gurion had to look to the Islamic countries for
Jews who could fill the resultant cheap labor market. "Emissaries" were
smuggled into these countries to "convince" Jews to leave either by trickery
or fear.

In the case of Iraq, both methods were used: uneducated Jews were told of a
Messianic Israel in which the blind see, the lame walk, and onions grow as
big as melons; educated Jews had bombs thrown at them.

A few years after the bombings, in the early 1950s, a book was published in
Iraq, in Arabic, titled Venom of the Zionist Viper. The author was one of
the Iraqi investigators of the 195051 bombings and, in his book, he
implicates the Israelis, specifically one of the emissaries sent by Israel,
Mordechai BenPorat. As soon as the book came out, all copies just
disappeared, even from libraries. The word was that agents of the Israeli
Mossad, working through the U.S. Embassy, bought up all the books and
destroyed them. I tried on three different occasions to have one sent to me
in Israel, but each time Israeli censors in the post office intercepted it.

British Leaders.

Britain always acted in its best colonial interests. For that reason Foreign
Minister Arthur Balfour sent his famous 1917 letter to Lord Rothschild in
exchange for Zionist support in WW I. During WW II the British were
primarily concerned with keeping their client states in the Western camp,
while Zionists were most concerned with the immigration of European Jews to
Palestine, even if this meant cooperating with the Nazis. (In my book I
document numerous instances of such dealings by Ben Gurion and the Zionist

After WW II the international chessboard pitted communists against
capitalists. In many countries, including the United States and Iraq, Jews
represented a large part of the Communist party. In Iraq, hundreds of Jews
of the working intelligentsia occupied key positions in the hierarchy of the
Communist and Socialist parties. To keep their client countries in the
capitalist camp, Britain had to make sure these governments had proBritish
leaders. And if, as in Iraq, these leaders were overthrown, then an
antiJewish riot or two could prove a useful pretext to invade the capital
and reinstate the "right" leaders.

Moreover, if the possibility existed of removing the communist influence
from Iraq by transferring the whole Jewish community to Israel, well then,
why not? Particularly if the leaders of Israel and Iraq conspired in the

The Iraqi Leaders.

Both the regent Abd alIlah and his prime minister Nouri elSaid took
directions from London. Toward the end of 1948, elSaid, who had already met
with Israel's Prime Minister Ben Gurion in Vienna, began discussing with his
Iraqi and British associates the need for an exchange of populations. Iraq
would send the Jews in military trucks to Israel via Jordan, and Iraq would
take in some of the Palestinians Israel had been evicting. His proposal
included mutual confiscation of property. London nixed the idea as too

ElSaid then went to his backup plan and began to create the conditions that
would make the lives of Iraqi Jews so miserable they would leave for Israel.
Jewish government employees were fired from their jobs; Jewish merchants
were denied import/export licenses; police began to arrest Jews for trivial
reasons. Still the Jews did not leave in any great numbers.

In September 1949, Israel sent the spy Mordechai BenPorat, the one mentioned
in Venom of the Zionist Viper, to Iraq. One of the first things BenPorat did
was to approach elSaid and promise him financial incentives to have a law
enacted that would lift the citizenship of Iraqi Jews.

Soon after, Zionist and Iraqi representatives began formulating a rough
draft of the bill, according to the model dictated by Israel through its
agents in Baghdad. The bill was passed by the Iraqi parliament in March
1950. It empowered the government to issue onetime exit visas to Jews
wishing to leave the country. In March, the bombings began.

Sixteen years later, the Israeli magazine Haolam Hazeh, published by Uri
Avnery, then a Knesset member, accused BenPorat of the Baghdad bombings.
BenPorat, who would become a Knesset member himself, denied the charge, but
never sued the magazine for libel. And Iraqi Jews in Israel still call him
Morad Abu alKnabel, Mordechai of the Bombs.

As I said, all this went well beyond the comprehension of a teenager. I knew
Jews were being killed and an organization existed that could lead us to the
Promised Land. So I helped in the exodus to Israel. Later, on occasions, I
would bump into some of these Iraqi Jews in Israel. Not infrequently they'd
express the sentiment that they could kill me for what I had done.

Opportunities for Peace

After the Israeli attack on the Jordanian village of Qibya in October, 1953,
Ben Gurion went into voluntary exile at the Sedeh Boker kibbutz in the
Negev. The Labor party then used to organize many buses for people to go
visit him there, where they would see the former prime minister working with
sheep. But that was only for show. Really he was writing his diary and
continuing to be active behind the scenes. I went on such a tour.

We were told not to try to speak to Ben Gurion, but when I saw him, I asked
why, since Israel is a democracy with a parliament, does it not have a
constitution? Ben Gurion said, "Look, boy"I was 24 at the time"if we have a
constitution, we have to write in it the border of our country. And this is
not our border, my dear." I asked, "Then where is the border?" He said,
"Wherever the Sahal will come, this is the border." Sahal is the Israeli

Ben Gurion told the world that Israel accepted the partition and the Arabs
rejected it. Then Israel took half of the land that was promised to the Arab
state. And still he was saying it was not enough. Israel needed more land.
How can a country make peace with its neighbors if it wants to take their
land? How can a country demand to be secure if it won't say what borders it
will be satisfied with? For such a country, peace would be an inconvenience.

I know now that from the beginning many Arab leaders wanted to make peace
with Israel, but Israel always refused. Ben Gurion covered this up with
propaganda. He said that the Arabs wanted to drive Israel into the sea and
he called Gamal Abdel Nasser the Hitler of the Middle East whose foremost
intent was to destroy Israel. He wanted America and Great Britain to treat
Nasser like a pariah.

In 1954, it seemed that America was getting less critical of Nasser. Then
during a threeweek period in July, several terrorist bombs were set off: at
the United States Information Agency offices in Cairo and Alexandria, a
Britishowned theater, and the central post office in Cairo. An attempt to
firebomb a cinema in Alexandria failed when the bomb went off in the pocket
of one of the perpetrators. That led to the discovery that the terrorists
were not antiWestern Egyptians, but were instead Israeli spies bent on
souring the warming relationship between Egypt and the United States in what
came to be known as the Lavon Affair.

Ben Gurion was still living on his kibbutz. Moshe Sharett as prime minister
was in contact with Abdel Nasser through the offices of Lord Maurice Orbach
of Great Britain. Sharett asked Nasser to be lenient with the captured
spies, and Nasser did all that was in his power to prevent a deterioration
of the situation between the two countries.

Then Ben Gurion returned as Defense Minister in February, 1955. Later that
month Israeli troops attacked Egyptian military camps and Palestinian
refugees in Gaza, killing 54 and injuring many more. The very night of the
attack, Lord Orbach was on his way to deliver a message to Nasser, but was
unable to get through because of the military action. When Orbach
telephoned, Nasser's secretary told him that the attack proved that Israel
did not want peace and that he was wasting his time as a mediator.

In November, Ben Gurion announced in the Knesset that he was willing to meet
with Abdel Nasser anywhere and at any time for the sake of peace and
understanding. The next morning the Israeli military attacked an Egyptian
military camp in the Sabaha region.

Although Nasser felt pessimistic about achieving peace with Israel, he
continued to send other mediators to try. One was through the American
Friends Service Committee; another via the Prime Minister of Malta, Dom
Minthoff; and still another through Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia.

One that looked particularly promising was through Dennis Hamilton, editor
of The London Times. Nasser told Hamilton that if only he could sit and talk
with Ben Gurion for two or three hours, they would be able to settle the
conflict and end the state of war between the two countries. When word of
this reached Ben Gurion, he arranged to meet with Hamilton. They decided to
pursue the matter with the Israeli ambassador in London, Arthur Luria, as
liaison. On Hamilton's third trip to Egypt, Nasser met him with the text of
a Ben Gurion speech stating that Israel would not give up an inch of land
and would not take back a single refugee. Hamilton knew that Ben Gurion with
his mouth had undermined a peace mission and missed an opportunity to settle
the IsraeliArab conflict.

Nasser even sent his friend Ibrahim Izat of the Ruz El Yusuf weekly paper to
meet with Israeli leaders in order to explore the political atmosphere and
find out why the attacks were taking place if Israel really wanted peace.
One of the men Izat met with was Yigal Yadin, a former Chief of Staff of the
army who wrote this letter to me on 14 January 1982:

Dear Mr. Giladi:

Your letter reminded me of an event which I nearly forgot and of which I
remember only a few details.

Ibrahim Izat came to me if I am not mistaken under the request of the
Foreign Ministry or one of its branches; he stayed in my house and we spoke
for many hours. I do not remember him saying that he came on a mission from
Nasser, but I have no doubt that he let it be understood that this was with
his knowledge or acquiescence....

When Nasser decided to nationalize the Suez Canal in spite of opposition
from the British and the French, Radio Cairo announced in Hebrew:

If the Israeli government is not influenced by the British and the French
imperialists, it will eventually result in greater understanding between the
two states, and Egypt will reconsider Israel's request to have access to the
Suez Canal.

Israel responded that it had no designs on Egypt, but at that very moment
Israeli representatives were in France planning the threeway attack that was
to take place in October, 1956.

All the while, Ben Gurion continued to talk about the Hitler of the Middle
East. This brainwashing went on until late September, 1970, when Gamal Abdel
Nasser passed away. Then, miracle of miracles, David Ben Gurion told the

A week before he died I received an envoy from Abdel Nasser who asked to
meet with me urgently in order to solve the problems between Israel and the
Arab world.

The public was surprised because they didn't know that Abdel Nasser had
wanted this all along, but Israel sabotaged it.

Nasser was not the only Arab leader who wanted to make peace with Israel.
There were many others. Brigadier General Abdel Karim Qasem, before he
seized power in Iraq in July, 1958, headed an underground organization that
sent a delegation to Israel to make a secret agreement. Ben Gurion refused
even to see him. I learned about this when I was a journalist in Israel. But
whenever I tried to publish even a small part of it, the censor would stamp
it "Not Allowed."

Now, in Netanyahu, we are witnessing another attempt by an Israeli prime
minister to fake an interest in making peace. Netanyahu and the Likud are
setting Arafat up by demanding that he institute more and more repressive
measures in the interest of Israeli "security." Sooner or later I suspect
the Palestinians will have had enough of Arafat's strongarm methods as
Israel's quislingand he'll be killed. Then the Israeli government will say,
"See, we were ready to give him everything. You can't trust those Arabsthey
kill each other. Now there's no one to even talk to about peace."


Alexis de Tocqueville once observed that it is easier for the world to
accept a simple lie than a complex truth. Certainly it has been easier for
the world to accept the Zionist lie that Jews were evicted from Muslim lands
because of antiSemitism, and that Israelis, never the Arabs, were the
pursuers of peace. The truth is far more discerning: bigger players on the
world stage were pulling the strings.

These players, I believe, should be held accountable for their crimes,
particularly when they willfully terrorized, dispossessed and killed
innocent people on the altar of some ideological imperative.

I believe, too, that the descendants of these leaders have a moral
responsibility to compensate the victims and their descendants, and to do so
not just with reparations, but by setting the historical record straight.

That is why I established a panel of inquiry in Israel to seek reparations
for Iraqi Jews who had been forced to leave behind their property and
possessions in Iraq. That is why I joined the Black Panthers in confronting
the Israeli government with the grievances of the Jews in Israel who came
from Islamic lands. And that is why I have written my book and this article:
to set the historical record straight.

We Jews from Islamic lands did not leave our ancestral homes because of any
natural enmity between Jews and Muslims. And we ArabsI say Arab because that
is the language my wife and I still speak at homewe Arabs on numerous
occasions have sought peace with the State of the Jews. And finally, as a
U.S. citizen and taxpayer, let me say that we Americans need to stop
supporting racial discrimination in Israel and the cruel expropriation of
lands in the West Bank, Gaza, South Lebanon and the Golan Heights.


Mileshtin was quoted by the Israeli daily, Hadashot, in an article published
August 13, 1993. The writer, Sarah LaybobisDar, interviewed a number of
Israelis who had knowledge of the use of bacteriological weapons in the 1948
war. Mileshtin said bacteria was used to poison the wells of every village
emptied of its Arab inhabitants.

On Sept. 12, 1990, the New York State Supreme Court issued a restraining
order at the request of the Israeli government to prevent publication of
Ostrovsky's book, "By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad
Officer." The New York State Appeals Court lifted the ban the next day.

Marion Woolfson, "Prophets in Babylon: Jews in the Arab World," p. 129

Yosef Meir, "Road in the Desert," Israeli Defense Ministry, p. 36.

See my book, "Ben Gurion's Scandals," p. 105.

Wilbur Crane Eveland, "Ropes of Sand: America's Failure in the Middle East,"
NY; Norton, 1980, pp. 4849.

T. Herzl, "The Complete Diaries," NY: Herzl Press & Thomas Yoncloff, 1960,
vol. 1, p. 88.

Report of the Congress of the World Council of Paole Zion, Zurich, July
29August 7, 1937, pp. 7374.

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