The film ‘Remember Baghdad’ by Fiona Murphy had its premiere last week. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian wrote a complimentary review, but distorts and misunderstands the history of the Jews of Baghdad.
‘After the first world war, British control of Iraq afforded its Jews
relative protection. In the 30s and 40s, despite attempts by Hitler’s
Nazis to gain a foothold in the country, Iraqi Jews were spared the
horrors of the Holocaust, and postwar Iraq prided itself on an easygoing
pluralist prosperity. But after the monarchy was brutally deposed, and
the country joined the six-day war
against Israel, antisemitism became part of Iraq’s righteous new
nationalism – although Saddam cynically preserved Baghdad’s synagogue
building in the 80s out of deference to his US allies. It is an
intricate, gripping family history.’
Lyn Julius wrote on her Facebook page:
“You would have thought it a fantastic achievement that the documentary film ‘Remember Baghdad’ received a review by Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian after it played to a packed house at JW3 yesterday. But I’m wondering if the film Bradshaw reviewed is the same one as I saw – or maybe he just fell asleep halfway through. ‘Iraqi Jews were spared the horrors of the Holocaust’, he writes. I would have thought the Nazi-inspired Farhud in 1941 was a pretty horrific Holocaust-related event myself, with its death toll of hundreds. Bradshaw skips over the hardships of the late 1940s, with open persecution of the Jews leading to the mass emigration of 90 percent of the community. He claims that antisemitism in Iraq had only become a problem after the Six Day War ‘although Saddam cynically preserved Baghdad’s synagogue building in the 80s out of deference to his US allies’. Huh? That is hardly the most salient feature of Saddam’s policy, which included arrest, torture and execution of Jews, who once had over 50 synagogues in Baghdad alone. Altogether, a shoddy and ignorant job unworthy of the film, and probably rushed out in 15 mins before the Guardian went to press.
Gilead Ini of CAMERA reported:
‘I reached out to the author on Twitter. He doesn’t seem to care’.
UK Media Watch is filing a complaint to the Guardian.