‘The Zionists did it’

Folks, now the Arab Muslims in the Sunni neighborhood of Adamiyeh, Iraq, villify the Jews once again and claim “It was the Zionists and the foreign organizations that did it.”

They are referring to Wednesday’s murder of four and the mutilation of two American contractors in Fallujah.

Of course, blaming the murders on “Zionists” is part and parcel of the International Islamic Party Line; the claims are always absurd, especially considering in this case that the current population of Iraqi Jews is now approximately slightly under 100.

Here’s a short history of the brutality perpetrated upon Iraqi Jews by Iraqi Arabs. See, in June 1941, the Mufti-inspired, pro-Nazi coup of Rashid Ali sparked rioting and a pogrom in Baghdad. Armed Iraqi mobs, with the complicity of the police and the army, murdered 180 Jews and wounded almost 1,000. Additional outbreaks of anti-Jewish rioting occurred between 1946-49. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, Zionism became a capital crime.

In 1950, Iraqi Jews were permitted to leave the country within a year provided they forfeited their citizenship. A year later, however, the property of Jews who emigrated was frozen and economic restrictions were placed on Jews who chose to remain in the country. From 1949 to 1951, 104,000 Jews were evacuated from Iraq in Operations Ezra & Nechemia; another 20,000 were smuggled out through Iran.

In 1952, Iraq’s government barred Jews from emigrating and publicly hanged two Jews after falsely charging them with hurling a bomb at the Baghdad office of the U.S. Information Agency.

With the rise of competing Ba’ath factions in 1963, additional restrictions were placed on the remaining Iraqi Jews. The sale of property was forbidden and all Jews were forced to carry yellow identity cards.

Jewish bank accounts were frozen; Jews were dismissed from public posts; businesses were shut; trading permits were cancelled; telephones were disconnected. Jews were placed under house arrest for long periods of time or restricted to the cities.

Persecution was at its worst at the end of 1968. Scores were jailed upon the discovery of a local “spy ring” composed of Jewish businessmen. Fourteen men – eleven of them Jews – were sentenced to death in staged trials and hanged in the public squares of Baghdad; others died of torture. On January 27, 1969, Baghdad Radio called upon Iraqis to “come and enjoy the feast.” Some 500,000 men, women and children paraded and danced past the scaffolds where the bodies of the hanged Jews swung; the mob rhythmically chanted “Death to Israel” and “Death to all traitors.” This display brought a world-wide public outcry that Radio Baghdad dismissed by declaring: “We hanged spies, but the Jews crucified Christ.”

In response to international pressure, the Baghdad government quietly allowed most of the remaining Jews to emigrate in the early 1970’s, even while leaving other restrictions in force. Most of Iraq’s remaining Jews are now too old to leave. They have been pressured by the government to turn over title, without compensation, to more than $200 million worth of Jewish community property.

Saddam Hussein’s government engaged in anti-Semitic rhetoric. One statement issued by the government in 2000 referred to Jews as “descendents of monkeys and pigs, and worshippers of the infidel tyrant.”

The Iraqi government has refurbished the tombs of Ezekiel the Prophet and Ezra the Scribe, which are also considered sacred by Muslims. Jonah the Prophet’s tomb has also been renovated. Saddam Hussein also assigned guards to protect the holy places.

At one time, Baghdad was one-fifth Jewish; other communities were first established 2,500 years ago. Today, approximately 38 Jews live in Baghdad, and a handful more in the Kurdish-controlled northern parts of Iraq.

Returning to the present, with the atrocities in Fallujah, once again Iraqi Muslims invent their own mythology. Even with photographs showing who committed the barbaric acts committed by Muslim cowards in Fallujah, Muslims continue to lie and blame Jews. Yes, another oft-repeated myth about Islam: It’s a religion of peace.

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