Iraqi newsman calls for apology: English transcript

An Iraqi top news presenter, Ahmed al-Hamdani, called for Iraq to make an apology to Iraqi Jews (and other minorities) recently and called on the Iraqi foreign minister to ‘rectify that historic error’. MEMRI has now posted the full transcript of his broadcast. (However, Al-Hamdani’s solution is for Iraqi Jews to return. It is not to recognise that Iraqi Jews are now irrevocably Israeli, but to say that many ‘refused to go to the Israeli entity’.) Nevertheless, al-Hamdani’s call is historic. In contrast, an Algerian politician conjures up anti-Jewish conspiracy theories while rejecting their ‘hellish plan’ to ‘return’ to Algeria, a prelude to their takeover of the world. (With thanks: Lily) 

 

Al Hamdani: “Some
seventy years have passed since our honorable Jewish Iraqi community
fell victim to a human tragedy and to reckless behavior, when they were
taken prisoner and subjected to forced deportation. The consecutive
Iraqi governments that followed the monarchic era realized that this had
been an error of historic proportions.

All
those governments maintained that the property of the Jews was
off-limits. That property remained frozen because of the sense that an
historic mistake had been made. If such [non-democratic] regimes have
acknowledged the tragedy, it is our duty, after seventy years, to
rectify that historic error.

It
is the same historic error that has been suffered by the Christians,
our loyal compatriots, who were banished or killed. It is the same
historic error that has been suffered by the Sabaeans, our loyal and
honorable compatriots, who were also banished or killed. And it is the
same thing that has happened to our loyal and honorable Yazidi
compatriots, whose girls, our sisters and our compatriots, have been
abducted, which is a crime of honor, a crime [against] humanity.

Hence,
seventy years later and from our studio here, I would like to go on
record and say that it is our duty to apologize to our Iraqi Jewish
compatriots for the tragedy that befell them. 
(My emphasis) We should indeed apologize
to them, and those who have remained loyal to Iraq should regain their
property. Many of them refused to go to the Israeli entity, and have
remained loyal to Iraq in the U.S., in Europe, in Britain…

On
the Facebook page of the Iraqi Jews, I saw a story about an Iraqi woman
called Majdoleen. She talked about the tragedy of being driven out of
Iraq with her family. But to this day, she continues to love and respect
Iraq and to be loyal to it. Let’s listen to what she has to say.

Majdoleen: The
Jews lost all their property. Everything. My father sold our home and
put the money in the bank. Then [the bank accounts] were frozen, and he
couldn’t withdraw a single penny. We came here [to Israel], and lived
for two and a half years in a tent in a refugee absorption camp – two
and a half years in a tent, after having a house in Iraq. My father used
to be an accountant for the Iraqi airline.

(Majdoleen here seems to be having a flashback to the 1941 Farhud):
Some
two thousand Arabs came, and burst open the huge iron door [of the
market] with knives and axes. They shattered the door, and within one
hour, they had cleared out the Salem Shimon market.

We
closed the door to grandma’s home and peeped through the windows. One
of the thieves said about grandma’s home: “This is a Jewish house”. We
placed all kind of things up against the door so that they couldn’t open
it, but two thousand people just gave it two or three blows and broke
down the door.

They
beat up my grandma. She was overweight and could not go upstairs, so
she stayed downstairs. They beat her up. They made an “orange”. Do you
know what an “orange” is? A stick with a ball of tar. This hurts! They
beat her on the head, asking: “Where are the girls?” They were looking
for girls. Each time she screamed, I would cry and say: “They killed
grandma”.

Hajj
Moussa was a prominent businessman, and we went to him. When we walked
in – may they rest in peace… When they saw us, the mother and her two
daughters began to cry. The mother was cursing the people who had done
this.

The
first thing the two girls did was to open the sewing machines. They
brought some material and sewed dresses for us. They said: “Here you
have new clothes, and you can cook for yourselves, since you do not eat
the food of the Muslims”. They gave us a roof. In Iraq, we used to sleep
on the roof in the summer. They gave us a roof for ourselves, and they
slept on another roof. They brought food from their fields. I heard that
they had handed out food to all the Jews in the neighborhood. They gave
food to all the Jews, who were left without anything.

It
was not like in Europe, where there were camps and ghettoes for the
Jews. Our neighbors were just like me. We used to eat at each other’s
home.

We
have come here, but Iraq is dear to our hearts. We grew up and studied
there, and we have friends there. What is happening in Iraq is painful
to us.

Al-Hamdani: I
salute all of our people who have suffered injustice, including the
Iraqi Jews who remained loyal to Iraq, despite the seventy years that
have passed since the tragedy. I salute them wherever they may be in the
world. Someone asked me what about the [Shiite] Feyli Kurd minority.
Well, I salute them just as I salute all the others. People, if we do
not care about the tragedies of others, nobody will care about our own
tragedy.

If
I were the foreign minister, I would invite Majdoleen and say to her:
“Here is a plane ticket. Come and see your country after seventy years”.
I would give her an official welcome, thus sending a positive message
to the world. But where can we find a reasonable person who would
understand that? If [Foreign Minister] Ibrahim Jaafari has brains, he
should do it. We should get him a doctor to see whether he has brains in
his head or something else.

Read article in full

 

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Meanwhile, Algerian MP Naima Salhi, Secretary-General of the Parti de l’équité et de la proclamation, warned of a “hellish plan to create a second Zionist entity – a so-called ‘Israeli state ‘ in the Maghreb,” and to restore the Jews from Arab countries to their countries of origin. “By now [they] have taken over the world financially,” she said. “[Their state] in Algeria will spread to Tunisia, Morocco, Mali, and Mauritania,” she warned.

View transcript page

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