Survivors of Nazi-sponsored pogrom deserve reparations

 The Nazi-inspired Mufti’s agitation against the Jews of Iraq, coupled with Nazi radio propaganda, were the prime causes of the devastating pogrom known as the 1941 Farhud. Its survivors therefore deserve Holocaust reparations – but have had to resort to the courts in order to convince the Israeli government. Academic researcher Dr Edy Cohen writes in The Tower:

German propaganda in the Arab world in general and Iraq in particular
sought to create sympathy for Hitler and the Nazis. In order to do so,
it engaged in wild anti-Jewish incitement—blaming the Jews for stealing
Arab money and causing all the problems of the Arab world.

Nazi propaganda was also disseminated on the streets of Iraq,
arousing hatred of the Jews until it caused a deadly explosion in the
form of the Farhud. The investigative committee convened by the Iraqi
government after the Farhud concluded that Nazi incitement was an
enormous influence on Iraq and the central factor in the pogrom against
the Jews.

Further evidence that supports the fact that the Mufti was
responsible for the Farhud comes from the prime minister of Iraq Nuri
al-Said. Details of this come from new evidence: the minutes of a
meeting of Jewish Agency leaders in Jerusalem on July 27, 1941, 55 days
after the Farhud. In it, Moshe Sharett, head of the political division
and later prime minister of Israel, reports on a meeting with Nuri
al-Said in Cairo shortly after the Farhud.
He began a serenade that lasted around 25 minutes, and didn’t give
me a chance to open my mouth. He said, “This is the question of
questions—Palestine is a bleeding wound in the body of the Arab people
and with England, and it causes disasters to the Jews and the Arabs, and
there will be no happiness if this question is not solved. We don’t
understand this. Your entire movement is against nature, against
history, against reality; it won’t succeed; it’s impossible.”

When I finally got a chance to speak, he would return to our “original
sin”—that we didn’t agree to his offer. … I don’t remember at what point
he started to talk about the riots in Baghdad and the rumor that that
the Arabs were planning riots. … He said, “Pay attention to the fact
that in every place the Jews lived in Arab neighborhoods, nothing
happened to them. If there were attacks on the Jews, it was an organized
thing, organized by Nazi agents, Arab Nazi agents, and not a
spontaneous event that occurred by surprise.”

In other words, Nuri al-Said stated that the Arabs were not inclined
to attack the Jews, and they did so because of an organization of Nazi
agents. Moreover, Sharett recounted, Said also mentioned that “there was
a large amount of Nazi propaganda” and that the instigators of the
Farhud “returned to Berlin.”

“It was connected to the Mufti,” Sharett concluded. “He evaded my words because the Mufti was a guest of the Iraqi government.”

Sharett’s report shows that Nuri al-Said had confirmed less than two
months after the Farhud that the riots were organized and executed by
the Mufti and his entourage.

It is clear that the Farhud was a Nazi-sponsored event. The State of
Israel has received millions of dollars from Germany as reparations for
Nazi crimes against the Jews. Accordingly, the survivors of the Farhud
deserve similar reparations. But they have not been recognized as
survivors of Nazi crimes. For various reasons, Israel and the world in
general have not paid nearly enough attention to the Jews of Arab lands.
To this day, for example, the Farhud is not taught in schools.

For more than three years, attorney David Yadid has led a legal
struggle with the Finance Ministry to recognize immigrants from Iraq as
Holocaust survivors because of the Farhud, holding that they should be
paid monthly reparations of at least 2,200 shekels ($570). Yadid has
presented evidence of the collaboration between the Nazis and the Iraqi
government, German military aid to Iraq, and anti-Semitic Nazi
propaganda disseminated in the media both directly by the Nazis and by
those who received support from them, all of which contributed to the
Farhud.

In response, the Finance Ministry recommended that the survivors of
the Farhud should receive 3,600 shekels ($940) per year and free
medication from the Health Ministry, but this is offered on condition of
ending the legal proceedings. The ministry’s goal is clear: To get the
Farhud’s survivors to give up their rights. The State of Israel and the
Finance Ministry’s Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority are conducting a
struggle against recognizing the survivors of the Farhud as victims of
Nazism and seek to run out the clock until all the survivors are dead.

Today, 75 years after the Farhud, it is necessary for justice to be
done. I myself have aided Yadid’s efforts and presented a legal and
historic opinion that Nazi activities led to the Farhud. Despite this,
ironically, the State of Israel and the Finance Ministry have paid many
academics to “prove” that only the Arabs were responsible for the Farhud
and the Nazis were not connected to it. Shockingly, Israel has actually
whitewashed the role of the Nazis in this tragedy in order to avoid
paying the money required should this be proved. It is now necessary to
wait for the results of the lawsuit.

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