The Daily Beast: passing off fiction as truth

Peter Beinart, whose blog Open Zion is hosted at The Daily Beast

 Here we go again: Open Zion, Peter Beinart’s blog at the Daily Beast has posted another articledenying the existence of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, offensively putting the word ‘refugee’ in quote marks. The author, an MSc Politics student at SOAS, Zachary Smith, gets into a semantic tangle about the terms ‘Sephardi’ and ‘Mizrahi’ – irritatingly plumping for ‘Arab Jews’ – as if a common language or culture was ever a barrier to persecution and murder of Jews. As for the rest of his shopworn arguments, we have heard them all before. Commenter The Grey Wolfe does a good job refuting them: 

Comments by The Grey Wolfe:

“For “a 2012 Marshall Scholar and an MSc candidate in Middle
East Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of
London”, Mr. Smith is woefully ignorant of internal Israeli politics and
society in general, and of “Arab Jews” in particular. I’d like to introduce you
to my brother-in-law, Mr. Smith, a Jew born in Baghdad, whose family was
expelled in 1950 with one suitcase and the equivalent of $50 per person
(despite the fact that they have documentation of ownership of over $4.5
million of assets in 1950 dollars—the rest was stolen by the Iraqi government).
Call him an “Arab Jew” and see the reaction you get… but make sure to set up a
dentist’s appointment before you do, you will almost certainly need to get your
broken jaw set and have a set of false teeth made.

“No one denies that SOME of the Jews from Arab states were
Zionists. No one denies that they were often mistreated and marginalized by the
ruling politicians of the time, mostly Ashkenazim. It would be nice if the
Arabs were to treat the Palestinians as “badly” as the Ashkenazi establishment
of the time treated the Mizrahiim—they wouldn’t consider themselves refugees,

“Just as there were many Arabs in Palestine who left under
their own steam, there were those who came from Arab lands to Israel out of Zionist
ideology—and just as there were those who fled from the battles or were
forcibly expelled by IDF forces, there were those Jews who were imprisoned, divested
of all assets, and forced to leave the countries their families had resided in
for centuries, sometimes millennia, practically without any possessions, forced
to sign a declaration of understanding that they would be put to death if they
ever attempted to enter that country again.

“Riddle me this, Mr. Smith: If ALL the Jews left the Arab
states out of Zionist ideology, how is it that fully one-third went to other
countries and not Israel? Fact: almost 300,000 of the 900,000 Jews who left/were
expelled from Arab states went to North & South America, Western Europe,
Australia, New Zealand and even Hong Kong and Singapore? Were only 2 out of 3 “idealists”?
No sir, your research is sloppy and doesn’t match the facts. Take your pick:
you’re either a historian or a novelist, but you can’t be both in the same

“Do some studying, Mr. Smith, take a look at Anti-Jewish laws
enacted in Arab states as far back as the mid-1930s, patterned on the infamous “Nuremberg
Laws” of the Nazi regime. If I, a layman, can find such references, then
certainly an MSc candidate in Middle East Politics can. Then try to find
similar laws enacted in Israel. Periodical massacres of Jews are documented history
from the year 1,000 to this day, yet you attempt to deny their existence. Fail,
Mr. Smith, fail miserably.

“Go to YouTube and see the film, “The Forgotten Refugees”,
with actual people telling their own, personal stories. Don’t shut your mind to
facts available in the public domain just because they don’t match your own
preconceived notions.

“The claim that Mizrahiim went to Israel out of Zionism and
not because of Arab pressure is a lie of the most despicable kind—one that’s
made in the face of mountains of available evidence because of personal
opinions. It’s also been the Arab party line for the past 65 years.

“Mr. Smith, be glad that I’m not one of the professors on the
committee you’ll defend your thesis against… the free license you’ve exercised
with facts calls not only your methods of research, but your ethics and honesty
into question, as well.

“Mr. Smith, if you wish to write historical fiction, that’s
your business… but you have no right to take your historical fiction and
attempt to pass it off as truth.”

The last word on Jewish refugees at The Daily Beast


  • There are Jews with origins in Arabic speaking countries who call themselves "Arab Jews", but they are just as clueless about their history and ethnicity as the Levantine non-Jews who were not Arabs, but among the many nations who were Arabized. So I guess Ashkenazim aren't solely to blame for perpetrating myths.

  • The trouble is as the Nazi head of propaganda Josef Goebels put it so succinctly, 'Tell a lie long enough and people will believe it as truth!'
    The Arab psyche especially today is lying, lying and lying. You will not change them. Jews whether from the Arab world, or Europe share the same DNA. My Parents were forced out of their Arab homeland by Muslims. In reality they were lucky to get out with their lives intact although they lost all their wealth. I don't need some Gentile reporter from the Beast giving his ignorant opinions concerning Jews from the Arab-World whom he considers Arab and in no way connected genetically to the jews o Europe. he has no idea, there are many Ashkenazi Jews whom he would think as being Arabs. Ashkenazi, Sefardic or Mizrahim are all interrelated and are not Arabs, but Jews,by ethnicity and religion.

  • Sultana Latifa, You read it so it must be working !
    Meme si vous n'ene avais rien a cirer, ca ne veut pat dire qu'il a tord. La verite est toujours condamnee par ceux qui en ont le plus a perdre par sa dissemination.CQFD
    An (Arab) Jewish Refugee.

  • I'll say it in French, it sounds better!!!
    J'ai ai rien à cirer de ce type
    He is just trying to make a name for himself by hitching his wagon to a star (Jews is news!)
    sultana latifa

  • Surely you see that Beinart is the modern spin on holocaust denial. It uses all the same arguments and claims to assert all the same 'facts'.


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