Suarez book blaming Zionism for Iraqi exodus rubbished

It was to counter a book, State of Terror by Thomas Suarez, a collection of distortions and calumnies aiming to blame Zionism for antisemitism, that two UK researchers, David Collier and Jonathan Hoffman, have produced a 22-000 word report called ‘Hate and Errors’. They spent weeks at the National Archives at Kew checking original sources. Chapter 9 deals with Suarez’s lies about the exodus of the Jews of Iraq. Point of No Return reproduces the relevant extract: 

Suarez’s description of the flight of Jews from Iraq (page 282) is downright
dishonest, there is no other word for it[1]:
Until its ethnic cleansing of 300,000
more Palestinians in 1967, Israel’s most precipitous post-1948 ethnic cleansing
was of Jews from North Africa and the Middle East’

Thus victim is turned into perpetrator!

He writes that Israel destroyed the Iraqi Jewish community and blocked other
countries from helping Jews who wanted to leave Iraq. And he says that the
anti-Jewish violence in Iraq was a ‘false flag’ operation.  This is a pure fabrication.[2]
Iraq destroyed the Iraqi
Jewish Community. It began with the Farhud in 1941. The Farhud was the
Holocaust-era massacre by Arab nationalists in coordination with the Nazis,
which occurred on June 1-2, 1941 in Baghdad, killing hundreds of innocent Jews
and brutalising thousands more, and pillaging their property.  The Farhud was a major step in the process
which resulted in the forced exodus of 850,000 to 900,000 Jewish refugees from
centuries of peaceful existence in Arab countries.

Two Arabs have gone
on record to explain the Farhud[3]
(Saudi journalist Turki al-Dakhil and Iraqi scholar
Rashid al-Khayoun, 1 February 2014).

The Jewish Senator Ezra Menahem Daniel [4]appealed
after the Farhud against the discriminatory practices introduced in 1948-9.
Jews could not work, attend university or travel. Jews were arrested on the
slightest pretext. Money was extorted from them to pay for war in
Palestine. In March 1950, Jews were given permission to able to leave but were
stripped of their nationality.  In 1951 the property of departing Jews was
frozen by law.

When Suarez does mention the Farhud, he goes to extreme lengths not to report
it as an act of antisemitic violence. In fact, he absurdly implies it was the
British, adducing a 12-year-old (at the time) anti-Zionist Jew (Naeim Giladi)
in his support (page 71). This type of rewriting
of history highlights how desperate Suarez is to create a one-sided fictional
tale that condemns the Jewish Zionists at every juncture and absolves everyone
else of everything, including violent massacres of Jews.

Another example of
distortion comes at the bottom of page 28, where Suarez suggests that Hanna
Braun was ‘a Hagana member, involved with
bringing them (Iraqi Jews) to Israel

He cites page 82 and
83 of her book (op cit; cited in endnote
#26, page 343). Yet on those pages Braun merely describes her new military
role, which was to teach new immigrants
in Eilat
. It is typical of the way Suarez distorts, that he has described a
language teacher in such a way that we are left to believe she is some type of
spy with inside knowledge. As a side note, it is absurd he would describe Braun
as a ‘Hagana member’ over activity she conducted as part of the IDF in 1952.

Hanna Braun’s book describes
her personal struggles, and she clearly suffered from some deep-rooted
psychological battles.  At times, it is a
depressing read. A reliable source though – she is not. On page 46, Braun says

‘From our balcony in Acre at the other end of the
bay and on other clear days, the mountains of Lebanon covered with a layer of
snow all year round’.

“Snow, in Lebanon in summer? Visible from Akko? No
further comment ……….

When relying
on Braun’s input, and the difficulties some of these new Jewish refugees faced in
Israel Suarez also writes (page 29)

a punitive exit tax and loss of original
citizenship kept many from returning home once the deceit was exposed’

That sentence
contains several distortions:

Israel accepted more than its own population in refugees in the first
three or four years of the State.[5]
It is proportional to the United Kingdom absorbing 70,000,000 (seventy million)
refugees in the next forty months. It is impossible to overstate the strain
such an influx imposes upon every facet of society. Nor how it might damage the
economy, nor how difficult the absorption process is. No doubt there were refugees
who did not settle in Israel. There are entire departments in rich Western
nations devoted to assisting the first difficult years of a refugee.  It is sickening that Suarez abuses such
issues, piggybacking on the suffering of others, to attack Israel. These
refugees are often used as weapons by anti-Israel revisionists. It highlights the
hypocrisy of self-declared ‘humanitarians’, refusing to allow ‘periods of
adjustment’ only when they are focusing
on Jewish victims

The denial of citizenship was not an Israeli measure, but rather that of
the Arab states who evicted and expelled their Jews. Additionally, Israel
permits dual citizenship, so Suarez is blaming Israel for the illiberal and punitive
measures of Arab states.

The ‘exit tax’, was an economic measure in existence in Israel until the
early 1990’s. In the first years of the State, as Israel experienced a major
economic crisis (due to conflict and absorbing more than one immigrant per
citizen), it also suffered a severe shortage of foreign currency. It set high
exit taxes (many nations have some exit or travel tax – leaving Heathrow on a
flight to New York can currently cost over £75).[7]
Further, in a complete rejection of what Suarez is arguing, ‘permits were relatively easily granted to
new immigrants who did not acclimatize well to life in Israel and requested to
leave the country permanently’
To describe it as some type of ‘penalty tax’ -created to dissuade potential
emigrants based on their nation of origin – is ludicrous.

Each sentence
in the book can be dissected in this fashion: A pile of distortions, incidents
removed from context and fictions, all shaped together to demonise Israel.

from this slight digression to the Iraq section, Suarez accessed
733/275/4 but failed to mention that it describes anti-Jewish agitations against
Iraqi Jews in 1929 and 1933 (letter from Sir F Humphreys to Sir John Simon, 13 December

File FO 371/27861 (not accessed by Suarez) discusses a bomb
outrage against a Jewish club in Baghdad in 1938. A letter in August of 1938
speaks of ‘two cases of bomb throwing at Jewish clubs’. A telegram on
November 28 discusses an attack on a coffee house that seems to have targeted

These actions were not occurring in a vacuum. In the mid
1930’s, an Iraqi newspaper (al-Alam al-arabi) published daily extracts from Mein Kampf
in Arabic. Pro-Nazi movements began to appear and anti-Jewish printed material
was handed out by youth groups. This all before the Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini
arrived in Iraq.[9]

FO 371/27099 (not accessed by Suarez) in a telegram on 23
February 1941, discusses an attack by Kurds on a Jewish village three
months prior to the Farhud.

In 1948 the hanging of the wealthy Jew Shafik
[10] shook the Iraqi
Jewish community to its core.

It is not true (page 283) that
in 1950, Israel blocked other countries from helping Jews who wanted to leave
Iraq.  Near East Air Transport was a
partnership between El Al and Alaskan Airlines, but the airlift was a joint
venture with senior Iraqi Muslim officials (Iraq Tours) and the charter was
negotiated with Iraqi Airways, in which the Iraqi Prime Minister Tawfiq
al-Suweidy had an interest.  Edwin Black
that British Airways and BOAC were also involved. 

Read report in full 

[1] We are very grateful to
Lyn Julius for her help on this section. Lyn is a journalist and co-founder of
Harif, an association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa in the UK







[8] Rozin, Orit Israel and the Right to Travel Abroad,
Israel studies 15.1 (2010), page 147-176.

[9] Martin Gilbert, In Ishmael’s house: a History of Jews in
Muslim Lands
, page 176



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