It is far from
the first instance of tampering with, exploiting, and deleting our history, but it is the straw that broke the camel's back, and so yesterday morning we formed the Committee of Baghdadi Jews in Ramat-Gan.
The committee includes young and old, men and women, from Baghdad (and from Mosul and Basra), as well as some who were born in this country, in the first, second, and third generations, and those with mixed Kurdish and Moroccan ancestry.
We began the committee in order to reclaim our history and our culture (and of course our property), and to prevent others, including Zionist movements and the State of Israel, from posessing it for themselves.
So, we wrote our statement on September 14th in response to the government, and we will continue to be vigilant on a daily basis in the act of claiming our history. We believe that as a multigenerational Iraqi-Jewish community, we can write the story of our past, present, and future in Iraq and in Israel.
Ramat-Gan, 15 September 2012 / 28 Elul 5772
Statement from the Ramat Gan Committee of Baghdadi Jews, 14 September, 2012 / 27 Elul, 5772
A) We most sincerely thank the Israeli government for confirming our status as refugees following a rapid, 62-year-long evaluation of our documents.
B) We request that Ashkenazi Jews are also recognized as refugees so that they won't consider sending to our homes the courteous officers of the Oz immigrati
on enforcement unit.
C) We are seeking to demand compensation for our lost property and assets from the Iraqi government – NOT from the Palestinian Authority – and we will not agree with the option that compensation for our property be offset by compensation for the lost property of others (meaning, Palestinian refugees) or that said compensation be transferred to bodies that do not represent us (meaning, the Israeli government).
D) We demand the establishment of an investigative committee to examine: 1) if and by what means negotiations were carried out in 1950 between Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri as-Said, and if Ben-Gurion informed as-Said that he is authorized to take possession of the property and assets of Iraqi Jewry if he agreed to send them to Israel; 2) who ordered the bombing of the Masouda Shem-Tov synagogue in Baghdad, and if the Israeli Mossad and/or its operatives were involved. If it is determined that Ben-Gurion did, in fact, carry out negotiations over the fate of Iraqi Jewish property and assets in 1950, and directed the Mossad to bomb the community's synagogue in order to hasten our flight from Iraq, we will file a suit in an international court demanding half of the sum total of compensation for our refugee status from the Iraqi government and half from the Israeli government.
E) Blessings for a happy new year, a year of peace and prosperity, a year of tranquility and fertility.
~ The Ramat Gan Committee of Baghdadi Jews
We believe that our sentiments are very widespread among Iraqi Jews – of course more among the older generation, that is less affected by Israeli propaganda, and remembers more the Iraqi past – and knows that our property in Iraq is something between us and Iraq, and not between us and the Palestinians, and remembers also that most of Palestinian property from 1948 was taken by the Ashkenazim and
the state, and not by Jews of the Arab world.
We believe that there should be a direct dialoge between Jews of the Arab world and the Arab states, and we hope that after a peace agreement the question of our property will be solved.
But the way the Israeli establishment uses our history from the 1950s, is not in order to give us our rights back, but in order to get rid of the rights of the Palestinians, and avoiding a peace agreement with them.
We do not want to be used, nor our history and personal stories to be used. We hope that the Arab world will understand that a dialouge with us, even before a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, is important to it too. We are a part of Arab memory and history and culture, and it is wrong of the Arab world to forget our part in it, exactly as it was wrong of Israel to ask us to erase our Arabness or forget our past and language.
what happened in Iraq in the 1950s is an open wound for us, and we wish an investigation about the connections between Nuri as-Said and Ben-Gurion.
it is important for us to clarify this point:
we do not try to idealize our past as Jews in Baghdad, or generally in the Arab world, we do want to see our past life and history and culture in it's complexity, with the good and the bad,
in that sense, we do not accept the way that is common is Israel, Europe and America, to see our life in the past as only a continuous persecution, with words taken
from the christian European experience of old antisemitism and new scientific racism and pogroms leading to the Holocaust,
the only event from our history taught in israel's schools is the Farhud, and even in the center of Babilonian Jewry in Or-Yehuda this becomes the central event of our history,
in that sense, without idealizing, in the majority of times until the 20th century we were under less persecutions than Jews in the christian world,
in the 20th century, with colonialism, arab nationalism and zionism, things have changed a lot,
we were a minority fighting for it's rights in iraq, and if we would have stayed there – we would have continued fighting for our rights.
we need to fight for our rights also in Israel (although as jews of the arab world we are not exactly a minority) – against racism and Oppression, and against being used economically, and against the making of our culture into a ridicule.
Thank you everyone for joining our page. Because of the importance of an inter-Israeli dialogue, inter-Arab dialogue, and the dialogue with the rest of the world, we want, and will make an effort, to upload all our posts in Hebrew, Arabic and English.
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