Point of No Return exclusive
A young American has blamed his deportation from Kurdistan earlier this week on antisemitism.
Arriving at Erbil International Airport on 12 January, Levi Meir Clancy, 31, learned that he was blacklisted as a security threat by the Kurdish authorities.
Clancy was detained overnight and his passport confiscated before he was put on a ‘plane to Doha in Qatar. He then boarded a flight back to the US.
Clancy had made the journey from his native California with the intention of returning to the home he has lived in and owned and in Erbil since 2015. Even collecting his possessions does not now appear possible, as he has been told that he will never be allowed back in the country.
The authorities detained Clancy overnight but did not subject him to any political or security questioning However, he was asked his religion and family background. He was deported for no reason other than being a Jew.
Clancy visited Kurdistan as a tourist in 2010. He returned to teach English in 2014. He ‘fell in love’ with the country and decided to buy an apartment in Erbil.
His expulsion could be linked to death threats and ‘attacks on his Jewishness’ received over the past two years which he claims are ‘supported and enabled by multiple officials’. The FBI visited to warn him that he was at risk while he was in the US completing his Master’s degree.
Clancy has heard of other Jewish passengers being denied entry to the Kurdistan region in recent weeks. Indeed the accusation of being a security threat is reminiscent of the strategy employed for decades against the Jewish community of Iraq and Kurdistan. As a result, the 150,000-member community, stripped of its citizenship and dispossessed, has been driven out. Only three Jews remain Baghdad.
In one of the worst episodes of persecution, 53 years ago this January, nine Jews were among 14 Iraqis executed in Baghdad on trumped-up spying charges for Israel.
Iraq and Kurdistan have come under increasing Iranian influence in recent years. It is thought Iran was also behind the Kurdish Jewish Affairs Directorate, which claimed to speak on behalf of a phantom Jewish community of 400 families, although the last Jew had left Kurdistan in 1950.