Placing the Colonial Boot on the Arab Foot. By Lyn Julius. NJBR, September 11, 2013.
Most Americans, particularly those of us with liberal inclinations, think of Arab peoples as persecuted minorities who are struggling, to this day, to free themselves from the ongoing social and economic implications of western imperial and colonial aggression in the Middle East. For centuries white-Anglo westerners dominated that part of the world and, therefore, progressives who care about universal human rights are not surprised at the Arab push-back, including the Palestinian-Arab push-back against Israel.
But instead of recognizing the reality of rampant, deep-seated anti-Semitism in the Middle East & North Africa, “Zionism Unsettled” places blame on the State of Israel and presents a revisionist history of the Mizrahi refugee experience. Among many unfounded claims, the blooklet states that Mizrahis “share a history of largely harmonious integration and acculturation in their host countries. Sadly, this model of coexistence was destabilized by the regional penetration of Zionism beginning in the late 19th century.”
It staggers the imagination to realize the degree of hatred, ignorance and moral stupidity required of the Presbyterian Church for them to publish such toxic rubbish under their official seal. Whatever their reasonings or excuses or justifications or apologetics, this little “booklet” is nothing less than a true kick in the head to the Jewish people.
In his “Open letter to the Presbyterian Church USA from an Iraqi Jew,” Joseph Samuels describes the ongoing brutality which culminated in the Farhud, a Nazi-incited riot in 1941 that claimed the lives of 180 Jews, destroyed Baghdad's Jewish quarter, and forced the couuntry’s Jewish population to live in absolute fear.
“The cause of the Farhud wasn’t Zionism . . . [it was] purely an anti-Jewish act. At 14, I was chased by two Muslim youths with a knife for stopping them from molesting my neighbor’s teenage daughter in broad daylight. At 18, after graduation from Al A’Adadiah High School, I was refused an exist visa to leave Iraq to study in American because I was Jewish. My story is not unique. I am one of 150,000 Iraqi Jews who was discriminated against, oppressed, and forced to escape religious persecution because of my faith.” The fear of impending violence dictated and suppressed Iraqi Jewish life.
So much for “largely harmonious integration.”
Baghdad was a burning madhouse. It burned not just with ethnic hatred but with cries to murder and destroy the Jewish community who had lived peacably in the country for 2,600 years, since a millenium before the advent of Islam. The rampage would be forever seared uponn the collective Iraqi Jewish consciousness as the Farhud. In Arabized Kurdish, farhud means something beyond mere chaos, something more than a riot. Perhaps farhud is best translated as “violent dispossession.” Some translate it as “mass rape and killing.”
But the events of June 1 and 2, 1941, were not just the sudden frenzied carnage of local Arab hooligans against their neighbors. This was a well-planned Holocaust-era pogrom, organized by Arab Nazis in sympathy with, and under the direction of the Third Reich’s surrogates in Iraq, the Arab and Islamic world, as the ignition switch for an international Arab-Nazi alliance. This alliance, embraced by many ordinary Arabs, was led by Hajj Muhammmad Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem. The Mufti was acknowledged by Hitler himself as Berlin’s most important leader in the Arab nation.
(Black, Edwin, The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust, Dialog Press, pg. 4, 2010.)
Finally, Zionism did not “penetrate” anything at the end of the nineteenth-century since it had been around in that part of the world since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 AD. All “Zionism” means is the longing of the Jewish people to reestablish our home on the land that we come from and that longing has been part of the Jewish soul for thousands of years, now. This is so in part because, like all peoples, the Jewish people wish to have sovereignty on the primary land of their history, and because of the remarkable mistreatment of Jewish refugees by majority populations throughout the diaspora over the course of millennia, whether in the Middle East or in Europe.