The negative flak continues to fly against the BBC following a website story about Jewish nostalgia for Iraq (flagged on Point of no return and Honestreportingon 8 May). Although the BBC updated its original version to include two sentences about the uprooting of the community, the article still misleads.
Stan Brin copied Biased BBC the text of his complaint. He wrote:
The story [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 Eeast 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 property 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 (Sorry Stan, 150,000 is closer to the mark – Ed), 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 fingernails of Jews whom he and his colleagues captured.
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 question, if the Jews enjoyed having their fingernails pulled out, would they want to go back to Iraq so the Palestinians could move in?