The History of Iraqi Jews Is in Jeopardy

(Washington Post) Joseph Samuels - Iraqi Jewish artifacts discovered by the U.S. military in Saddam Hussein's intelligence headquarters during the Iraq War include 2,700 books, Torah scrolls and prayer books, and thousands of documents dating to the 1500s, representing the lost history of a once thriving, two-millennia-old Jewish community. Returning the trove to Iraq is tantamount to returning stolen treasure to a thief. I was born in 1930 in the Jewish quarter of the old city of Baghdad. Iraq was my country, but my sense of national identity was shattered when Muslim mobs looted and burned Jewish homes and businesses, murdering hundreds of Jewish men, women and children in the 1941 pogrom known as the Farhud. There was nowhere to run, and no country to take us in. After the failed Arab war against Israel in 1948, the Jews of Iraq and other Arab countries faced anti-Semitism and open hostility. We suffered arrest, torture, public execution, and confiscation of property. Later, the Baath Party, led by Saddam Hussein, looted the Iraqi Jewish artifacts. The hearts of the Iraqi Jewish community are filled with gratitude toward the heroic teams who rescued and restored this collection. Thanks to the United States, we have preserved these pieces of history for present and future generations. I implore the administration, on behalf of all Jews from Arab lands and our descendants, to keep our icons of history from being sent back to those who stole them from us.

2017-10-27 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive