Stan Brin copied us the text of his complaint regarding a story about Jewish nostalgia for Iraq. He wrote:
The story “Israelis from Iraq remember Babylon” posted at:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6611667.stm [Israelis from Iraq remember Babylon] is essentially a hoax. It falsely disguises a mass expulsion and terror campaign as a “mass migration” as if they just chose to move, or perhaps there was a crop failure. In fact, there were mass riots and mass murder.
Perhaps your “journalist” found someone who remembers the Shiah Muharam holiday fondly but I never met anyone who wanted to return to Iraq. I am an expert in middle east history, and lived with Jews from Arab countries, and they were unanimous that they would never go back, even if they miss the food.
It should be noted that well over 99 percent of the Jews of Arab countries fled since 1948. Most Jewish communities (except in Morocco) are essentially extinct. Some of the Jews were forcibly deported (Egypt and Libya), others escaped by fleeing across borders (Iraq, Syria, Yemen). All lost everything they had, their propert stolen, their citizenship revoked. Many died as they fled.
Iraq, the subject of the story, was especially brutal. Of a quarter million Jews in 1940, perhaps a dozen remain today.
My Iraq-born roommate fled across mountains, avoiding Iraqi border police who would have had him tortured to death. He tells of an Iraqi border guard who kept a box filled with the finger nails of Jews whom he and his colleagues captures.
He has no nostalgia for Iraq.
What next from BBC? Auschwitz was a fun place to visit? Jews enjoy oppression?
I guess that all begs the questions, if the Jews enjoyed having their finger nails pulled out, would they want to go back to Iraq so the Palestinians could move in?
Some of the phrases used in the BBC article by Lipika Pelham are certainly masterpieces of euphemism.
“For the Jews of Middle Eastern origins, like their European co-religionists, coming to Israel was the culmination of a religious journey – it was the fulfilment of the centuries-old dream to live in the so-called Promised Land.”
Sounds like something from a success book. Follow your dream! Oh, sorry, should read “follow your so-called dream.” The impression is given that the mass movement of Iraqi Jews to Israel was primarily motivated by religious enthusiasm. I have no doubt that they did rejoice that next year would indeed be in Jerusalem. They also rejoiced to have escaped alive, if destitute. Ethnic cleansing is not usually described so pleasantly by the BBC.
“But many who came over to Israel as part of the mass migration that followed the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, look back with nostalgia and fondness for the life that they had left behind.”
Followed the creation of the Jewish state? “Followed by” is a phrase often used by BBC when it wishes to imply causality without having to assert it. It is certainly literally true that Operation Ezra and Nehemiah followed the creation of the Jewish state. However since it took place in 1950-52 the “following” was distant enough for other events to slip in between them, some of which might be worthy of mention. By omitting the violent persecution of Iraq’s Jews that took place in the meantime, the BBC implicitly shifts blame from the persecutors onto the Jewish state.
“…the descendants of the Iraqi and Kurdish Jewish immigrants.”
I assume that in the interests of consistency all references to “Palestinian refugee camps” such as this one will shortly be changed to “Palestinian immigrant camps.”
“Yakov recalls, with vivid, powerful details, the life that he had once led, a life that was changed overnight by the political realities of the time.”
At the idea of including in the same sentence praise for “vivid, powerful details” and the detail-free phrase “changed by the political realities of the time”, Sir Humphrey himself would blush for shame.
“Anti-Jewish sentiment flared up after the creation of Israel and the subsequent Arab-Israeli war in 1948-49.”
Any news on what form expression of that sentiment took? Any news on the riots and pogroms? Any news of the dismissal of Jews from government service? Any news of how Shafiq Ades was hanged on a trumped up charge, presumably by those malicious political realities? Not from the BBC.
“This led to the departure of most of Iraq’s ancient Jewish community. By 1952, 120,000 Jews had left Iraq for Israel.”
“Led to”. See comments on “Followed by” above.
UPDATE: According to News Sniffer the two sentences I quoted just above, referring anti-Jewish sentiment flaring up and how this “led to” the departure of most Iraqi Jews – two sentences that I thought inadequate and vague enough to criticise specifically – are actually an improvement. The original version of the article did not include them.