November is the cruellest month

With thanks for his research to Eliyahu and acknowledgements to The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times by Norman Stillman

Charred and damaged remains of the Great synagogue in Aleppo, Syria, one of 18 synagogues attacked by rioters in late 1947, causing half the city’s Jewish community to flee.

It was in November 1945 that a series of anti-Jewish riots broke out in several Arab countries. In Egypt, anti-Zionist demonstrations were called by the Muslim Brotherhood, Misr al-Fatat and the Young Men’s Muslim Association. Mass demonstrations took place on Balfour Day (2 November) in Cairo, Alexandra and other cities. Jewish businesses in Cairo and in the Jewish Quarter were looted and the Ashkenazi synagogue ransacked. The disturbances soon spilled over into anti-dhimmi violence, with Coptic, Greek Orthodox and Catholic institutions also attacked. Of 500 businesses looted, 109 belonged to Jews. Amazingly only one policeman was killed in Cairo. Five Jews were among six killed in Alexandria.

Far worse was the pogrom in Libya which began on 4 November in Tripoli when thousands went on the rampage in the Jewish quarter and bazaar. Jewish homes and businesses had been marked out beforehand for exclusive attack. The violence spread to other towns. Over three days of rioting, the police stood by and British and US servicemen on the outskirts waited until three days later to impose a curfew. By then 130 Jews were dead including 36 children. Women were raped, some 4,000 Jews were left homeless and nine synagogues destroyed.

In Syria a mob broke into the great synagogue in Aleppo and beat up two elderly men. In Iraq, the government avoided a repeat of the 1941 Farhud by banning public demonstrations.

Arab-Jewish tensions reached new heights in the autumn of 1947 as the UN debated Palestine. Dr Muhammad Husein Heykal, chairman of the Egyptian delegation warned that one million Jews in Arab countries would be endangered by partition.

A new wave of violence spread following the vote in favour of Partition on 29 November 1947. Demonstrations were called for 2 – 5 December. It was only because the police prevented the mob from attacking the Cairo Jewish quarter that lives were spared.

In Bahrain, beginning on 5 December, crowds began looting Jewish homes and shops and destroyed the synagogue. Two elderly ladies were killed.

In Aleppo, Syria, the Jewish community was devastated by a mob led by the Muslim Brotherhood. At least 150 homes, 50 shops, all 18 synagogues, five schools, an orphanage and a youth club were destroyed. Many people were killed, but the exact figure is not known. Over half the city’s 10,000 Jews fled into Turkey, Lebanon and Palestine.

In Aden, the police could not contain the rioting. By the time order was restored on 4 December, 82 Jews had been killed. Of 170 Jewish-owned shops, 106 were destroyed. The synagogue and two schools were among the Jewish institutions burnt down.

In the Maghreb the French still kept tight control of the population. Morale was better there than among the Jews of the Middle East: these were desperate to leave but had nowhere to go. However, rioting in Morocco six months later was to claim 48 Jewish lives.

The Palestine Post ran an editorial entitled “Unwilling hostages” on 11 December 1947. It quoted an editorial in the Manchester Guardian the day before, entitled ‘Hostages’. This deplored inflammatory statements made by Arab leaders which could be interpreted as threats against the Jewish minorities. Both in Syria and Iraq “pressure has been put on the Jews to denounce Zionism and support the Arab cause. One cannot help wonder what threats have been made to bring this about.”

The riots of the previous week had been attributed by Arab governments to the ‘fury of the people’. The editorial charged that ” the governments concerned, if they do not activate or instigate them, look upon them with a benevolent eye.”

The Lebanese government issued orders of expulsion against Palestinian Jews in Lebanon. The Palestine Post of 22 December 1947 carried a report about harsh measures that the Arab League was considering taking against Jews in Arab lands. They would first be denaturalised, their property confiscated, their bank accounts frozen, and they would be treated as enemy aliens.

‘While there is no news of the acceptance of this resolution by the Arab League, it is significant and tragic that such a document should have been drafted,” the editorial lamented. “It is easy for them to play the bully and to keep a sword hanging over the heads of many hundreds of thousands of Jews who are at their mercy.”

Although it was not passed, aspects of the Arab League draft resolution were adopted by individual Arab governments. The human rights lawyers and ex-Canadian Justice minister Irwin Cotler has called them ‘Nuremberg-style measures.’

By the time Israel was established on 15 May 1948, the Jewish communities in Arab countries had been rocked to their very foundations. As Norman Stillman says, the Palestine issue was a major contributing factor, but it was not the only one – it was more of a catalyst. Arab and Islamic nationalism could find no room for ethnic and religious groups that deviated from the norm, and Jews found themselves alienated and isolated from society at large.


  • "Iraqis all (NOT Arab Muslims) this what happen Iraqis are mixed not just "Arab Muslims""

    And who is murdering Christians today? All Iraqis?
    Watch my words: one day they'll come for you too.

  • "There is also a mystery about the law that froze all assets of denationafised Jews. Who
    wrote that taw? Again on high authority, we know that the Iraqi government translated
    that law from English. Did the English draft come from Britain or, as is more likely, from

    Who wrote that law? The United Nations.
    The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons convened under General Assembly resolution 429 (V) of 14 December 1950.
    Which explains why Nuri Said was so frantic trying to get rid of the Jews between December 1950 to mid-1951 -before the Convention concluded in July 1951.

  • You either did not get my point or you keep pushing your view to argue here.

    First of all I did NOT said or mentioned any thing whatsoever that "the Iraqi Arab Muslims– had a right to attack the Jews", you put it here to mislead the readers, please stick to the right points that was clear in my comment.

    Iraqis all (NOT Arab Muslims) this what happen Iraqis are mixed not just "Arab Muslims" as your short view and misleading sentence you try to impose here upon our discussion.

    Although it was tragic and unacceptable acts in all means the status of all Iraqi during that time they hate the invader and occupier, what went wrong is just outrages and out of control, again we can compare that case with those Iraqi upraised after Kuwait withdraw in Basra and other southern Iraqi cities were frustration run high and the security/state power vanished or weekend.

    Secondly those criminals who done the killing/looting of Iraqi Jews were fought back by Iraqis who were neighbors and in same streets in Baghdad there were many stories you may asked your friends they defended by those Iraqi neighbors and friends from those criminals, in time the Invader and the state police were not coming to rescue their citizen who attacked.

    So in the end its not Muslim and Jew problem here please spare your words and your hard work in this view

    "There is also a mystery about the law that froze all assets of denationafised Jews. Who
    wrote that taw? Again on high authority, we know that the Iraqi government translated
    that law from English. Did the English draft come from Britain or, as is more likely, from
    Israel? Giladi believes such a law would not have been enacted without a recommendation from Israel to provide a set-off for frozen Arab assets in Israeli hands. In March 1951, Foreign Minister Musbe Sharett made it clear that in any future settlement of Palestinian
    frozen property, a set-off will be made of frozen Jewish assets in Iraq.
    Many books were written on that historic event, but that momentous period was not without its humorous incidents.

  • Let's agree that the UK was humiliating Iraq by keeping Percy Cox there who tried to rule the country wherever the British felt that their interests were involved. That does not explain why or by what right Iraqi Muslim Arabs went out to massacre Jews on the Jewish holiday of Shavu`ot. Because the UK was unjustly trying to control Iraq through Percy Cox, the Muslim Arabs there had the right to go out and murder 180 Jews? Is that your argument?

    In any case, by killing Jews, you were not bothering the London govt in the least. You know that the British army could have come in to Baghdad shortly after the pogrom started and put it down quickly by force of arms. But they did not do so. And that was at the orders of the Foreign Office, according to my information. So can you please explain why you think that you –the Iraqi Arab Muslims– had a right to attack the Jews in Baghdad because the UK was humiliating Iraq or otherwise unfair to Iraq??? How did the Jews become responsible for what the UK did in Iraq??

  • “The Jews suffered daily harassment, insults and mockery. A few days after the defeat of the Iraqi army
    attacks against the British military bases in Habbaniya and Sin al-Dhubban,"

    Baghdad revisited

  • So why did they murder Jews in 1941?

    Did you read my link in regards to those days of Iraq history?
    Looks you did not, so I put the link again so please go read each words in regards to those days when Iraq under Monarchy. This well documented thesis to institute of Islamic studies by very respectable university & book publisher McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
    Let me bring that bit of that thesis that stating the following:

    Under the provisions of the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1922, a British advisor was appointed to every Iraqi minister of state and to each official post in government.

    While they were supposed to serve only as advisors to the ministers, they were in fact the ones in charge by virtue of their power to approve or reject any law or provision against British interests. Faysal also had an advisor, Percy Cox, who heId the title of High Commissioner in Iraq.

    Consequently, the latter had Britain's full support allowing him to wield greater authority than Faysal since he had the backing of the military to secure his demands. Faysal was left in a rather weak position regarding his immediate influence over the political affairs of the country and found himself increasingly relegated to the role of mediator between Britain and Iraq's citizens. (Page 8&9)

    These advisers as same as what happen when Paul Bremer left behind 100 advisers after the handover in Iraq in 2004, the history rotated on Iraqis and Iraq. with same promises made Mud the British commander when he entered Baghdad in 1914.

    what happen in 1941 was a continuity of Iraqi frustrations and humiliation by invader with week state unsecured state just like the past more 7 years each day Iraqi killed every day. You blaming the victims (here the Iraqis) for the the killing and crimes that done on them for more than 7 years how funny that….

  • So, Anon2, how do you explain the 1941 Farhud that murdered about 180 Jews in Baghdad? There was no State of Israel at that time nor had the Partition Recommendation been passed by the UN General Assembly. So why did they murder Jews in 1941?

  • the Palestine issue was a major contributing factor, but it was not the only one – it was more of a catalyst. Arab and Islamic nationalism could find no room for ethnic and religious groups that deviated from the norm, and Jews found themselves alienated and isolated from society at large.

    The statement above have a lot of mislead words.

    First "the Palestine issue was a major contributing factor" to all what were starting and happening till today between Arab/Muslims and Israelite Zionists (not all Jew, still Jews living between Muslim like Turkey , Iran and other places without "found themselves alienated and isolated from society at large.").

    Its all Israelite wars and crimes they done and still doing In Gaza, Lebanon and of course today Iraq from 2003 when they came with Americans

  • It is very sad to read some truth, it was hard for me to take it, I could not finish reading the article….

    Can wait for real peace between all faiths…


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