Helen Thomas’ comments that Jews in Israel should go back to Poland and Germany perpetuated the falsehood that Israel is a European implant, which fits nicely into the narrative of the Islamist-Leftist anti-Israel coalition.
In fact, as I documented before, there was an exchange of populations at the time of and after Israel’s independence, with roughly equal numbers of Jews fleeing Muslim lands to Israel as there were non-Jews fleeing what now is Israel and the West Bank.
In following up on Thomas’ comments, I came upon the story of the expulsion of Jews from Iraq, which started with the Farhoud (sometimes called “Krystallnacht in Baghdad”).
I never heard of the Farhud specifically, although I was aware at a more general level of the attacks on Jews in Muslim lands prior to and after the creation of the State of Israel. This post was illuminating:
Few people in Iraq know what happened in Baghdad exactly 69 years ago.
But on June 1-2, 1941, something previously unthinkable in the city occurred. Mobs attacked the capital’s prosperous and influential Jewish community, killing more than 100 people and looting homes.
By the time the orgy of murder and pillaging was done, the Jewish community was so shaken that it would never recover. Within 10 years, the vast majority would leave the country, leaving behind just the handful of people who tend the capital’s empty synagogue today.
The two days of terror are known in Iraq as the Farhud, the Arabic word for pillaging or looting an enemy. Yet most Iraqis know very little about the event because Iraq’s history books rarely speak of them. Those writers who do mention those days simply explain the violence as the result of the Iraqi Jewish community’s “Zionist activities,” ithout detailing more.
But people who survived the attacks and remember the events tell another story — like Layer Abudia, who now lives in Israel, who was a child at the time of the pogrom.
An interesting discussion of the forced expulsion of the Iraqi Jewish community, much of which ended up in Israel, is in this clip of Iraqi Author Dr. Rashid Al-Khayounfrom which appeared on Al-Arabiya TV (transcript here). A key player in the expulsion of the Jews of Iraq to British Palestine (and eventually Israel) was the Nazi-supporting Grand Mufti of Jerusalem:
Interviewer: But many of the Jews moved to Israel.
Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: They were coerced to move.
Interviewer: Who forced them?
Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: The wave of pan-Arab nationalism within Iraq.
Interviewer: So they thought that Israel would be better for them than Iraq?
Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: They did not go [straight] to Israel. First, they went to European countries, to Iran… They tried to find an interim region from where they could later return to Iraq. You shouldn’t be surprised if I told you that the first to study [the possibility] of expelling the Jews from Iraq was the so-called Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Al-Husseini.
Interviewer: What, Amin Al-Husseini banished the Jews of Iraq to Palestine?
Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: Yes, Amin Al-Husseini played a significant role, along with German Nazism, in dragging the Jews out of Iraq.
The history of the Farhoud and the expulsion of the Iraqi Jewish community contradicts the picture often portrayed in Western media of Jews being an accepted minority in Arab states.
Are the Iraqi Jews and their descendants in Israel among the Jews who should go back to where they came from?
Somehow, I think Helen Thomas and her supporters would say “yes,” which tells you everything you need to know.