1950–51 Baghdad bombings

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1950–1951 Baghdad bombings
Location Baghdad, Kingdom of Iraq
Date April 1950 - June 1951
Target Iraqi Jews
Attack type
Bombings
Deaths 3-4 Iraqi Jews killed
Non-fatal injuries
dozens wounded
Perpetrators

Alleged:

  • Baathists or Arab extremists
  • Zionist agents
  • 28 Jews and 9 Arabs arrested by authorities; 2 Jews were executed.[citation needed]

1950–1951 Baghdad bombings refers to the bombing of Jewish targets in Baghdad, Iraq, between April 1950 and June 1951. In the wake of these incidents, Iraqi authorities arrested 28 Jews and 9 Arabs on charges of espionage and illegal arms possession.[citation needed]

The question of who was to blame for the attacks has drawn considerable disagreement. Some historians assign responsibility for the bombings to anti-Jewish Arab extremists[citation needed] while others charge a Zionist extremist underground movement of carrying out the attacks in order to encourage Iraqi Jews to immigrate to Israel.

Two suspected Iraqi Jews were found guilty by an Iraqi court for the bombing, and were sentenced to death. Another was sentenced to life imprisonment and seventeen more were given long prison sentences.[1]

Background[edit]

Before the exodus of Jews to Israel, there were about 140,000 Iraqi Jews. Most lived in Baghdad, of which Jews made up a sixth of the city's population. High Jewish populations also existed in the towns of Basra and Mosul.[2]

Iraqi Jews constitute one of the world's oldest and most historically significant Jewish communities. By 1936, there was an increased sense of insecurity among the Jews of Iraq. The rise of pan-Arab nationalism coincided with the second King Faisal's admiration of Nazism. In 1941 after the government of pro-Nazi Rashid Ali was defeated, his soldiers and policemen, aided by the Arab mob, started the Farhud ("violent dispossession").[3] A government commission later reported that at least 180 Jews had been killed and 240 wounded, 586 Jewish businesses pillaged, and 99 Jewish homes burned.[4] Jewish sources claimed much higher casualties.

In the summer of 1948, the Iraqi government declared Zionism a capital offense and fired Jews in government positions.[5] In his autobiography, Sasson Somekh, a Baghdadi Jew, wrote:

Emigration until 1946 or 1947 was infrequent, despite the growing feeling among Iraqi Jews that their days in the Land of the Two Rivers were numbered. By the time war broke out in Palestine in 1948, many civil servants had been dismissed from their governmental jobs. Commerce had declined considerably, and the memory of the Farhud, which had meanwhile faded, returned.[6]

At this time, he writes, "hundreds of Jews... were sentenced by military courts to long prison sentences for Zionist and Communist activity, both real and imagined. Some of the Baghdadi Jews who supported the Zionist movement began to steal across the border to Iran, from where they were flown to Israel."[7]

Elie Kedourie writes that after the 1948 show trial of Shafiq Ades, a respected Jewish businessman, who was publicly hanged in Basra,[7] Iraq Jews realized they were no longer under the protection of the law and there was little difference between the mob and Iraqi court justice.[8]

By 1949, the Iraqi Zionist underground was smuggling Iraqi Jews out of the country at the rate of 1,000 a month.[9] In March 1950, Iraq passed a law stripping Jews who emigrated of their Iraqi citizenship. The law was motivated by economic considerations (the property of departing Jews reverted to the state treasury) and a sense that Jews were a potentially troublesome minority that the country would be better off without. (p. 91) Israel was initially reluctant to absorb so many immigrants, (Hillel, 1987) but in March 1951 organized Operation Ezra and Nehemiah, an airlift to Israel, and sent in emissaries to encourage Jews to leave.

In April 1950, an activist of Mossad LeAliyah Bet, Shlomo Hillel, using the alias Richard Armstrong, flew from Amsterdam to Baghdad as a representative of the American charter company Near East Air Transport, to organize an airlift of Iraq Jews to Cyprus. In fact, Near East Air Transport was owned by the Jewish Agency and the Jews were taken to Israel, not Cyprus.[5] Earlier, Hillel had trained Zionist militants in Baghdad under the alias Fuad Salah. According to Adam Shatz, the Mossad had been promoting Jewish emigration since 1941 and used stories of Jewish mistreatment to encourage the Jews to leave.[5]

Bombing incidents[edit]

According to the Baghdad police who gave evidence at the trial, the weapon used was a British-made World War II hand grenade "No. 36".[10]

  • On 19 March 1950, a bomb exploded in the American Cultural Center and Library wounding some of the Jewish intellectuals using the facilities.[11]
  • In April, 1950, a bomb was thrown into El-Dar El-Bida Coffee shop in Baghdad. Four Jews were injured in the blast.[1]
  • On 10 May 1950, a grenade was thrown at Beit-Lawi Automobile company building, a company with Jewish ownership.[11]
  • On 3 June 1950, a grenade exploded in El-Batawin, then a Jewish area of Baghdad, with no casualties.[citation needed]
  • On 5 June 1950, a bomb went off next to the Jewish Stanley Sashua building on El Rasjid Street. Nobody was injured.[11]
  • On 14 January 1951, a grenade damaged a high-voltage cable outside Masouda Shem-Tov Synagogue. Three,[1] or four[12] Jews were killed, including a 12-year old boy, and ten were wounded.[12]
  • In March 1951, the US legation's information office was attacked.[1]
  • In May 1951, a Jewish home was attacked.[1]
  • In June 1951, a Jewish shop was attacked.[1]

Trial[edit]

The pro-Western Iraqi government of Faisal II and Nuri al-Said prosecuted the alleged Jewish perpetrators in court, in a trial which began in October 1951. Two confirmed activists in the Zionist underground, Shalom Salah Shalom, a 19-year-old weapons expert, and Yosef Ibrahim Basri, a lawyer active in collecting intelligence material, were executed after being convicted of the bombings. Whilst their involvement in the underground movement and holdings of weapons caches were not disputed, both denied involvement in the bombings.[13] Salah's testimony under torture indirectly allowed the Iraqi police to find large weapons caches of the Zionist underground in three synagogues (Mas'uda Shemtov, Hakham Haskal and Meir Tuweik) and in private homes, including 436 hand-grenades, 33 machine-guns, 97 machine-gun cartridges, 186 pistols.[14] Shlomo Hillel, also once a member of the Iraqi Zionist underground, noted that the last words of the executed defendants were "Long live the State of Israel".[15] The British Foreign Office noted in a file note "Trial of Jews at Baghdad, 20 December 1951" that they had “no reason to suppose that the trials were conducted in anything but a normal manner.”[16]

Baghdad police officers who gave evidence at the trial appear to have been convinced that the crimes were committed by Jewish agents, claiming that "anyone studying the affair closely will see that the perpetrator did not intend to cause loss of life among the Jews" and that each grenade was "thrown in non-central locations and there was no intention to kill or injure a certain person".[17][18]

Historian Esther Meir-Glitzenstein, in her book, Zionism in an Arab Country: Jews in Iraq in the 1940s states that the charges in the Iraqi trial were "groundless for several reasons," because many thousands of Iraqi Jews had already registered to leave by the time of the later bombings, and the charges related only to these later bombings.[19]

Responsibility for the bombings[edit]

There has been debate over whether the bombs were in fact planted by the Mossad in order to encourage Iraqi Jews to immigrate to the newly created state of Israel or whether they were the work of Arab anti-Jewish extremists in Iraq. The issue has been the subject of lawsuits and inquiries in Israel.[20] Historian Abbas Shiblak, Iraqi Jew Naeim Giladi and CIA agent Wilbur Crane Eveland[21] have argued that Jews were involved in the bombings.

Historian Moshe Gat believes that "Israeli emissaries not place the bombs at the locations cited in the Iraqi statement",[22] and a 1960 commission of inquiry by the Mossad "did not find any factual proof that the bombs were hurled by any Jewish organization or individual."[12]

Alleged Israeli involvement[edit]

According to Moshe Gat, as well as Meir-Glitzenstein,[23] Samuel Klausner,[24] Rayyan Al-Shawaf[25] and Yehouda Shenhav, there is "wide consensus among Iraqi Jews that the emissaries threw the bombs in order to hasten the Jews' departure from Iraq";[26] Shenhav noted an Israeli Foreign Ministry memo which stated that Iraqi Jews reacted to the hangings of Salah and Basri with the attitude: "That is God's revenge on the movement that brought us to such depths."[27]

The British Embassy in Baghdad assessed that the bombings were carried out by Zionist activists trying to highlight the danger to Iraqi Jews, in order influence the State of Israel to accelerate the pace of Jewish emigration. Another possible explanation offered by the embassy was that bombs were meant to change the minds of well-off Jews who wished to stay in Iraq.[12][28]

The Israeli government has denied any link to Baghdad bombings, and blamed Iraqi nationalists for the attacks on the Iraqi Jews. However, former Israeli acting Prime Minister Yigal Allon, commented that the Mossad false flag bombing tactics of the 1954 Lavon affair were "first tried in Iraq".[29] Allegedly, identical tactics were used later in 1954 by Israeli military intelligence in operation Suzanna,[21] when a group of Zionist Egyptian Jews attempted to plant bombs in an US Information Service library, and in a number of American targets Cairo and Alexandria. According to Teveth, they were hoping that the Muslim Brotherhood, the Communists, 'unspecified malcontents' or 'local nationalists' would be blamed for their actions[30] and this would undermine Western confidence in the existing Egyptian regime by generating public insecurity and actions to bring about arrests, demonstrations, and acts of revenge, while totally concealing the Israeli factor. The operation failed, the perpetrators were arrested by Egyptian police and brought to justice, two were sentenced to death, several to long term imprisonment.

Palestinian historian Abbas Shiblak believes that the attacks were committed by Zionist activists and that the attacks were the pre-eminent reason for the subsequent exodus of Iraqi Jews to Israel.[31] Shiblak also argues that the attacks were an attempt to sour Iraq-American relations, saying "The March 1951 attack on the US Information Centre was probably an attempt to portray the Iraqis as anti-American and to gain more support for the Zionist cause in the United States".[2]

The Iraqi Jewish anti-Zionist[32] author Naeim Giladi maintains that the bombings were "perpetrated by Zionist agents in order to cause fear amongst the Jews, and so promote their exodus to Israel."[33] This theory is shared by Uri Avnery,[34] who wrote in My friend, the enemy that "After the disclosure of the Lavon Affair... the Baghdad affair became more plausible".[35] and Marion Wolfsohn.[34] Giladi claims that it is also supported by Wilbur Crane Eveland, a former senior officer in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in his book Ropes of Sand.[21]

According to Eveland, whose information was presumably based on the Iraqi official investigation, which was shared with the US embassy,[1] "In an attempt to portray the Iraqis as anti-American and to terrorize the Jews, the Zionists planted bombs in the U.S. Information Service library and in the synagogues. Soon leaflets began to appear urging Jews to flee to Israel... most of the world believed reports that Arab terrorism had motivated the flight of the Iraqi Jews whom the Zionists had 'rescued' really just in order to increase Israel’s Jewish population."[21]

Arthur Neslen's 2006 book "Occupied Minds" contains an interview with the convicted bomber Yehuda Tajar, in which he recalls a conversation with the widow of Beit-Halahmi, a fellow Mossad agent. She implied that Beit-Halahmi, on his own initiative, and without orders from Israel, organized attacks after his colleagues were arrested in order to cast doubt on their guilt.[12]

Mordechai Ben Porat, founder and chair of the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center, who was coordinating Jewish emigration at the time, was accused of orchestrating a bombing campaign to speed up the Jewish exodus from Iraq by Israeli journalist Baruch Nadel in 1977. Porat sued the journalist for libel, ending in an out-of-court compromise and an apology by the journalist.[36][20]

Shimon Mendes wrote in Ha'aretz that: "Someone had to act, and he took the appropriate action at the right time. For only an act like the explosions would have brought them to Israel. Anyone who understood politics and developments in Israel was long aware of that. "[37]

Alternative theories[edit]

Israeli historian Moshe Gat believes that the attacks were the work of Arab extremists[citation needed][not in citation given] and sees little connection between the bombings and exodus.[2][38][39] Gat wrote that frantic Jewish registration for denaturalisation and departure was driven by knowledge that the denaturalisation law was due to expire in March 1951. He also noted the influence of further pressures including the property-freezing law and continued anti-Jewish disturbances, which raised the fear of large-scale pogroms. According to Gat it was highly unlikely[citation needed][not in citation given] the Israelis would have taken such measures to accelerate the Jewish evacuation given that they were already struggling to cope with the existing level of Jewish immigration.

Gat also raised serious doubts about the guilt of the alleged Jewish bomb throwers. An Iraqi army officer known for his anti-Jewish views was originally arrested for the offenses, but never charged, after explosive devices similar to those used in the attack on the Jewish synagogue were found in his home. The 1950–1951 bombings followed a long history of anti-Jewish incidents in Iraq and the prosecution was not able to produce a single eyewitness. Shalom Salah told the court that he had confessed after being severely tortured.[40] Gat believes the perpetrators were members of the anti-Jewish Istiqlal Party.[citation needed][not in citation given]

In his 1996 book "To Baghdad and Back," Ben-Porat published the full report of a 1960 investigation committee appointed by David Ben-Gurion, which found no proof that Jews were involved in the bombing.[41]

Yehuda Tajar, who spent ten years in Iraqi prison for his alleged involvement in the bombings, said they were carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood. According to Tajar, the widow of one of the Jewish activists, Yosef Beit-Halahmi, implied he had organized attacks after his colleagues were arrested for the Masuda Shemtov synagogue bombing, to prove that those on trial were not the perpetrators.[12]

Effects on Iraqi Jewish emigration[edit]

Displaced Iraqi Jews arrive in Israel, 1951

In March 1950 the government of Iraq passed the Denaturalisation Act that allowed Jews to emigrate if they renounced their Iraqi citizenship.[42] Iraqi prime minister Tawfiq al-Suwaidi expected that 7,000–10,000 Jews out of the Iraqi Jewish population of 125,000 would leave.[5] A few thousand Jews registered for the offer before the first bombing occurred.[2] The first bombing occurred on the last day of Passover, 8 April 1950. Panic in the Jewish community ensued and many more Jews registered to leave Iraq. The law expired in March 1951 but was extended after the Iraqi government froze the assets of departing Jews, including those who had already left. Between the first and last bombing almost the entire Jewish community bar a few thousand had registered to leave the country.[2][5] The emigration of Jews was also due to the deteriorating status of Jews in Iraq since the 1948 Arab-Israeli war as they were suspected of being disloyal to Iraq. They were treated with threats, suspicion and physical assaults and were portrayed by the media as a fifth column.[5] By 1953, nearly all Jews had left the country.[5] In his memoir of Jewish life in Baghdad, Sasson Somekh writes: "The pace of registration for the citizenship waiver was slow in the beginning, but it increased as tensions rose between Jews and their neighbors and after acts of terror were perpetrated against Jewish businesses and institutions – especially the Mas'uda Shem-Tov Synagogue...This was the place to which emigrating citizens were required to report with their luggage before leaving for Israel."[43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Black and Morris, 1992, p. 91
  2. ^ a b c d e Al-Shawaf.
  3. ^ The terror behind Iraq's Jewish exodus Julia Magnet (The Telegraph, 16 April 2003)
  4. ^ Black, Edwin (Winter 2004). "Dispossessed: How Iraq's 2,600-year-old Jewish community was decimated in one decade". Volume 23. Reform Judaism Online. Retrieved 10 April 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Shatz, Adam (6 November 2008), "Leaving Paradise", London Review of Books 30 (21), retrieved 5 April 2010 
  6. ^ Baghdad, Yesterday:The Making of an Arab Jew, Sasson Somekh, Ibis, 2003, p. 150
  7. ^ a b Baghdad, Yesterday:The Making of an Arab Jew, Sasson Somekh, Ibis, 2003, p. 152
  8. ^ The terror behind Iraq's Jewish exodus Julia Magnet (The Telegraph, 16 April 2003)
  9. ^ R. S. Simon, S. Reguer, M. Laskier, The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times (Columbia University Press, 2003), p. 365
  10. ^ Quoted in Gat, 1997, "it was clear that in each case a hand-grenade of high-explosive type No. 36 was used: these are available in Iraq only to the armed forces."
  11. ^ a b c Giladi, Naeim (1990). Discord in Zion: conflict between Ashkenazi & Sephardi Jews in Israel. Scorpion Publishing. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Segev, Tom (4 June 2006). "Now it can be told". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 4 May 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  13. ^ One of the defendants admitted responsibility under torture, although he rescinded this admission in court.
  14. ^ Gat 1997, p. 172: "Basri, a lawyer, was active in collecting intelligence material... Shalom Salah was a cobbler and a weapons expert. He was busy preparing arms caches... As a result [of Salah giving away details of the cache in Habaza's home], caches were uncovered in three synagogues - Mas'uda Shemtov, Hakham Haskal and Meir Tuweik and in several homes. The weapons found, according to police sources, included 436 hand-grenades, 33 machine-guns, 97 machine-gun cartridges, 186 pistols, and so on."
  15. ^ Shenhav 1999"According to the account of Shlomo Hillel, a former Israeli cabinet minister and Zionist activist in Iraq, their last words, as they stood on the gallows, were "Long live the State of Israel."'
  16. ^ Bejtullah Destani, ed. (2005), Minorities in the Middle East, Jewish Communities in Arab Countries 1841-1974, Cambridge University Press, p. 563 
  17. ^ Abdul Rahman al-Samrai, Baghdad police, evidence at the trial, quoted in "Gat, The Exodus from Iraq":"It was clear to me mat these crimes had been perpetrated against Jews, but anyone studying the affair closely will see that the perpetrator did not intend to cause loss of life among the Jews; we did not gain the impression that the perpetrator felt any resentment or hatred of the Jews. There were also signs that the crimes were to the advantage of the Jews or of their institutions in Palestine. Each incident sparked off rumours and a wave of propaganda, originated by the Jews, with the aim of demonstrating that the Iraqi government and people were persecuting the Jews and that the bombings were manifestations of hatred of the Jews. Rumours and propaganda were also spread, outside Iraq as well. in order to show that the Jews were being persecuted in Iraq . . ."'
  18. ^ Salem Jasem al-Kiryati, Baghdad police, evidence at the trial, quoted in "Gat, The Exodus from Iraq": "it was made clear to us from the outset in principle that the three explosions were carried out in places and times where Jews were present. Secondly, it was clear that in each case a hand-grenade of high-explosive type No. 36 was used: these are available in Iraq only to the armed forces. Thirdly, the crimes were perpetrated by similar methods the material was thrown in non-central locations and there was no intention to kill or injure a certain person. Fourthly, each incident caused commotion and panic among the Jews and a wave of propaganda conceding their persecution by the government and the Iraqi people. Fifthly, the events recurred after the enactment of the Denaturalization Law. From all this, we concluded that the crimes were committed by the same people and for the same purpose . . ."
  19. ^ Glitzenstein 2004, p. 208-209: "As the aliyah operation, officially named Operation Ezra and Nehemiah - drew to a close, several Hehalutz and Haganah activists, Israeli emissaries and Muslim Iraqis were put on trial in Iraq. The affair began in mid-May 1951, when the Iraqis managed to capture two Israeli emissaries - the aliyah emissary Mordechai Ben-Porat and the intelligence emissary Yehuda Tajer. Soon afterwards, dozens of Hehalutz and Haganah members and intelligence personnel were arrested. In a series of trials held in late 1951, two of the detainees, Yosef Basri, an attorney who headed an Israeli intelligence network in Iraq, and Saleh Shalom, who had been in charge of an arms cache for the Haganah, were charged with throwing the grenade at the Mas’uda Shemtov synagogue in January 1951 and several subsequent bombs at Jewish and other centres in order to sow panic and spur Jews to move to Israel. Basri and Shalom were executed in January 1952, Tajer was sentenced to life imprisonment, others were sentenced to various jail terms, but Ben-Porat managed to escape from jail. The charges were groundless for several reasons.
    Firstly, by 13 January 1951, close to 86,000 Jews had registered, and about 23,000 of them had left for Israel. Hence, neither the synagogue incident in January 1951 nor the other bombs in the course of 1951 were what hastened the Jews' departure. The acts of terrorism that were likely to influence large numbers of Jews to emigrate were those in April and June 1950.Throughout this period the British painstakingly monitored events in the Jewish street and reported on moods, but they did not mention the two bombs of April and June 1950 at all. It is hard to believe that the British would have neglected to mention these incidents if such a major impact on registration to leave Iraq had been ascribed to them.Also, the two bombs in April and June were not mentioned in the trials conducted by the Iraqi government either. The charges focused on the incident in the Mas'uda Shemtov synagogue."
  20. ^ a b Fischbach, Michael R. (Fall 2008). "Claiming Jewish Communal Property in Iraq". Middle East Report. Archived from the original on 14 July 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  21. ^ a b c d Eveland, Wilbur Crane (1980). Ropes of Sand, America's Failure in the Middle East. W W Norton & Co Inc. p. 48. "In an attempt to portray the Iraqis as anti-American and to terrorize the Jews, the Zionists planted bombs in the U.S. Information Service library and in the synagogues. Soon leaflets began to appear urging Jews to flee to Israel. The Iraqi police later provided our embassy with evidence to show that the synagogue and library bombings, as well as the anti-Jewish and anti-American leaflet campaigns, had been the work of an underground Zionist organization, most of the world believed reports that Arab terrorism had motivated the flight of the Iraqi Jews whom the Zionists had “rescued” really just in order to increase Israel’s Jewish population." 
  22. ^ [1]: "However in light of documents which have been made available by the National Archives in Washington, the British Public Record Office, the Haganah Archive, the Israel State Archive, and documents from the private records of Mordechai Ben-Porat, who was in charge of Jewish emigration in Iraq, we shall see that not only did Israeli emissaries not place the bombs at the locations cited in the Iraqi statement, but also that there was in fact no need to take such drastic action in order to urge the Jews to leave Iraq for Israel."
  23. ^ Meir-Glitzenstein 2004, p. 257: "Many Iraqi Jews, bitterly disappointed with the conditions that awaited them in Israel, found in the affair of the bombs an explanation for their aliyah and placed the responsibility, and perhaps even the blame, on the Israeli government and the Zionist activists."
  24. ^ Klausner, Samuel (1998), "The Jewish Exodus from Iraq 1948-1951", Contemporary Jewry 19 (1): 180–185, "Most of the 120,000 Iraqi Jews, transported to lsrael through Operation Ezra and Nemehiah in 1950-1, believed they had been stampeded into fl€eeing by the Israeli Mossad. Many still believe that when registration for emigration slowed, members of the Zionist underground tossed hand grenades into Jewish institutions. This suspicion has contributed to the alienation of Iraqi immigrants from successive Labor governments." 
  25. ^ Al-Shawaf, p. 72: "As mentioned, most Iraqi Jews believed that Zionist emissaries were behind the bombs. This belief is well-known and attested to by both Shiblak and Gat."
  26. ^ Gat, p177: "The belief that the bombs had been thrown by Zionist agents was shared by those Iraqi Jews who had just reached Israel. These Jews were convinced that the bombs had been thrown in order to expedite their departure. If the incidents had not occurred they would have been able to remain safe and sound in their comfortable homes in Baghdad. The difficulties they encountered in Israel early in 1952 were the direct consequence of this act. When the immigrants learned of the hanging of the two Jews sentenced for throwing the bombs, many reacted by saying that this was divine retribution against the underground movement which had brought them to Israel... (Footnote) There is wide consensus among Iraqi Jews that the emissaries threw the bombs in order to hasten the Jews' departure from Iraq"
  27. ^ Shenhav 1999, p. 605"It would have been only natural for Iraqi Jews in Israel to have reacted with outrage to news of the hanging. But on the contrary, the mourning assemblies organized by leaders of the community in various Israeli cities failed to arouse widespread solidarity with the two Iraqi Zionists. Just the opposite: a classified document from Moshe Sasson, of the Foreign Ministry's Middle East Division, to Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett maintained that many Iraqi immigrants, residents of the transit camps, greeted the hanging with the attitude: "That is God's revenge on the movement that brought us to such depths." The bitterness of that reaction attests to an acute degree of discontent among the newly arrived Iraqi Jews. It suggests that a good number of them did not view their immigration as the joyous return to Zion depicted by the community's Zionist activists. Rather, in addition to blaming the Iraqi government, they blamed the Zionist movement for bringing them to Israel for reasons that did not include the best interests of the immigrants themselves."
  28. ^ British Embassy in Baghdad, FO371, EQ1571, Baghdad to FO, 27 June 1951, "one theory which is more plausible than most is that certain Jews have endeavoured, by throwing bombs at certain buildings, to focus the attention of the Israel Government on the plight of the Jews in Iraq so that they would keep the airlift moving quickly, and, possibly as a second object, to induce those well-to-do Jews who had decided to remain in Iraq to change their mind and emigrate to Israel."
  29. ^ Cohen, Ben (1998), "Gat: The Jewish Exodus from Iraq, 1948-51, reviewed by Ben Cohen", Journal of Palestine Studies 27 (4): 111, "Gat lists a number of writers who have concluded that Israel was behind these attacks to terrorize the Jews into leaving. For Gat, however, it is 'unlikely that there will ever be' a definitive answer to the question of responsibility (p.187). But then he exonerates Israel in an example of the periodic inconsistencies that mar the text; he argues that the Zionist underground would not have adopted such a risky strategy at a time when the Iraqi police was closing in on them (p.186). Yet, he does not consider the possibility that leading Iraqis, whose pockets were being lined, turned a blind eye; nor does he take into account Yigal Allon's admission, in comments on the 'Lavon affair' of 1954, that such a method of operation – a bombing campaign – 'was first tried in Iraq' " 
  30. ^ S. Teveth, Ben-Gurion's spy: the story of the political scandal that shaped modern Israel. Columbia University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-231-10464-2, p. 81.
  31. ^ Shiblak, Abbas (July 1986). The Lure of Zion: The Case of the Iraqi Jews. Al Saqi. pp. 123–4 and 196. ISBN 978-0-86356-033-0. Retrieved 5 April 2010. "It is clear that the explosions came at a critical time, when other factors seem insufficient to ensure mass emigration . . . Whenever the fears abated, a new explosion shattered the sense of security, and the chances of remaining in Iraq appeared bleaker." 
  32. ^ "Anti-Zionist writer Naeim Giladi dies" Queens Chronicle. March 11, 2010.Zwire.com, Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  33. ^ Giladi, Naeim (April–May 1998), The Jews of Iraq, Americans for Middle East Understanding, retrieved 5 April 2010 
  34. ^ a b Gat 1997, p. 178
  35. ^ Avnery, Uri (1986), My Friend the Enemy, L. Hill, p. 135–6, ISBN 9780882082127, "'Then something mysterious happened. Bombs started exploding in synagogues and elsewhere at places frequented by Jews, Panic occurred, and the number of those seeking to leave grew overnight... After the disclosure of the Lavon Affair... the Baghdad affair became more plausible." 
  36. ^ Gat 1991, p. 187: "In April 1977 an interview with Baruch Nadel was published in the periodical Bama’arakha (a journal of the Sephardic community). In the interview, Nadel accused the Israeli emissaries of placing the bombs in order to hasten the departure of the Jews from Iraq. He was sued for libel by Ben-Porat. In the settlement between the parties, Nadel retracted all his accusations against the Israeli emissaries, and apologized for the injustice of the publication. Civilian file 8/63, 3.11.81, Magistrates' court, Herzlia."
  37. ^ The Immigration from Iraq and the Government of Israel", Ha'aretz , 22 May 1966, "Whether they did not know what to do or whether they did not wish to risk any initiative, the community leaders remained silent. Someone had to act, and he took the appropriate action at the right time. For only an act like the explosions would have brought them to Israel. Anyone who understood politics and developments in Israel was long aware of that. But not everyone sees it as a mishap, and those who called it this do injustice to David Ben-Gurion and to the memory of Shalom Salah and Yosef Basri, whose names should be remembered alongside those who gave their lives for the country."
  38. ^ Gat 1997, p. 224
  39. ^ Mendes, Philip. The Forgotten Refugees: the causes of the post-1948 Jewish Exodus from Arab Countries, Presented at the 14th Jewish Studies Conference Melbourne March 2002. Retrieved June 12, 2007. "Historian Moshe Gat argues that there was little direct connection between the bombings and exodus. He demonstrates that the frantic and massive Jewish registration for denaturalisation and departure was driven by knowledge that the denaturalisation law was due to expire in March 1951. He also notes the influence of further pressures including the property-freezing law, and continued anti-Jewish disturbances which raised the fear of large-scale pogroms. In addition, it is highly unlikely the Israelis would have taken such measures to accelerate the Jewish evacuation given that they were already struggling to cope with the existing level of Jewish immigration. Gat also raises serious doubts about the guilt of the alleged Jewish bomb throwers. Firstly, a Christian officer in the Iraqi army known for his anti-Jewish views was arrested, but apparently not charged, with the offenses. A number of explosive devices similar to those used in the attack on the Jewish synagogue were found in his home. In addition, there was a long history of anti-Jewish bomb-throwing incidents in Iraq. Secondly, the prosecution was not able to produce even one eyewitness who had seen the bombs thrown. Thirdly, the Jewish defendant Shalom Salah indicated in court that he had been severely tortured in order to procure a confession. It therefore remains an open question as to who was responsible for the bombings, although Gat suggests that the most likely perpetrators were members of the anti-Jewish Istiqlal Party. Certainly memories and interpretations of the events have further been influenced and distorted by the unfortunate discrimination which many Iraqi Jews experienced on their arrival in Israel."
  40. ^ The Quagmire, Emil Murad, p. 182-183
  41. ^ To Baghdad and Back
  42. ^ Howard Adelman; Elazar Barkan (13 August 2013). No Return, No Refuge: Rites and Rights in Minority Repatriation. Columbia University Press. pp. 237–. ISBN 978-0-231-52690-6. 
  43. ^ Baghdad, Yesterday:The Making of an Arab Jew, Sasson Somekh, Ibis, 2003, p. 153

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]