‘Iraqi Jews are nearly all Arabs’

Having nothing better to do on a train journey, Iraqi Muslim bloggerWafaa’ Al-Natheema decided to write a complaint to Nissim Rejwan about his book The last Jews in Baghdad, with its introduction by Joel Benin, published in 2004. (With thanks: Iraqijews)

Wafaa’ did not like the fact that Joel (who Wafaa’ thinks is a she) and Nissim (or ‘Naseem’ as she pointedly arabises the Iraqi-Jewish author’s name) insist on referring to Arabic-speaking Iraqi Jews, alienated by the pan-Arabism of the majority. Wafaa’s view is that ‘Iraqi Jews are nearly entirely Arabs’.

If the Iraqi Jews are Arabs of the Jewish religion, then Wafaa’ can take pride in their achievements as Iraqis. But as Arabs, they cannot belong to the ‘Jewish people’. Therefore they have no right, nor no need, to be Zionists. So many Arabs seem to take this line, but Wafaa’ is a well-educated Iraqi who has lived in the USA since 1980.

It gets worse. One realises how deeply Wafaa’ is in denial when she attempts to negate that Arab Sunnis are in a minority in Iraq.

And the world is flat.

See discussion here


  • You don’t need to answer my questions about your motives behind starting and/or maintaining the Iraq blogcount weblog http://iraqblogcount.blogspot.com/
    After reading your posting on
    ,I got the answer clearly about your interest/motive, which is to monitor Iraqis and correct or comment on what they say as if you know better! I have read tens of postings by Wafaa’ Al-Natheema and I find her writings and analyses are those of an intelligent, well knowlegeable person!

    Yours, on the other hand, was a laughable post to read!

  • It is not an issue of whether we consider ourselves Arabs or not. It is an issue of whether we are Arabs or not! The answer is yes, we are Arabs. Most Iraqi Jews (I am one) are Arabs (with very few Kurds and Turcmans)who lived in IRAQ for thousands of years and are related by blood to other Arabs (Moslems and Christians), that is if you believed in Abraham’s existance and the existance of his two sons Ismael and Jacob. Even if you didn’t believe in that religious story, there is great and more than enough historic evidence that Arabs can be Jews and that most of those living in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other Arab countries are Arabs.

    It is quite ignorant to write that Arab history began with Islam. Nonsense! If you don’t waste your time making Zionist remarks or bashing on someone who is clearly more knowledgeable than you and Yoav Ben Zakai (who posted the remark), your time could have been invested in the library to study and do a good homework about Jewish Arabs.

    What is an Australian Jew getting from starting and maintaining an Iraq Blogcounts weblog? To pretend that she cares about IRAQ and/or to monitor IRAQIS, their activities and what they are saying?

  • From reading your prior writings, I doubt that you will believe even census or previous speeches by American presidents (before the 2002) that indicated Sunnis are the majority in IRAQ. People in IRAQ know that only the South is a majority Shiite, but not the Middle or the North.

    You write arrogantly and you are very ignorant of the composition of IRAQ basing your knowledge on the propaganda of the media (the mouth of the government)

  • As an Israeli Jew of Iraqi descent i don’t consider myself an Arab, indeed most Jews from Arab countries and the Middle-East don’t see themselves as “Arabs” We have been living in the Middle-East thousands of years before the Arab-Islamic conquests and invasion of the region and some of us adopted Arabic as the language of the new conquerors. My mother’s family which is from North Iraq spoke and continue to speak a dialect of Aramaic, NOT Arabic. I speak Arabic fluently and my culture is thousands of years fusion of Hebrew, Aramaic, Persian and Arabic, but my origins are not Arab.

    Yoav Ben Zakai Ha-Baghdadi


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