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Iraqis want their Jewish neighbors back

Months after a Shiite cleric who won the parliamentary elections in Iraq said Jews “are welcome,” an online poll on the matter suggests that Iraqis are ready to discuss the right of return – more than Israelis are.

By Meron Rapoport

Immigrants from Iraq and Kurdistan exit their plane on arrival in Israel, having flown via Tehran, late spring 1951. (Teddy Brauner, GPO)

Immigrants from Iraq and Kurdistan exit their plane on arrival in Israel, having flown via Tehran, late spring 1951. (Teddy Brauner, GPO)

“Iraq’s Jews: 70 years after their expulsion, they seek to return to Iraq and become citizens again. Are you in favor or against their return, and granting them citizenship?

This was the question posed last Friday by Al-Khuwwa al-Nathifa (“The Clean Brotherhood”), one of the most popular Facebook pages in Iraq, which has more than 1.7 million followers. More than 62,000 people participated in the poll, which received over 5,000 likes and 2,800 comments. The bottom line is, a significant majority favors the return of Jewish Iraqis: around 77 percent voted for, 23 percent were against, and the voting ends on Thursday, which makes the overall results unlikely to change.

I cannot attest to reading all 2,800 messages, but I did skim over several hundred of them. Some of the comments are amusing: “Why would they come back? To drink the waters of Basra, and live without electricity? They might as well stay wherever they are,” one person wrote. But the general sense is that, even among those who are less enthusiastic about Jewish Iraqis returning, or want to limit their return, “Iraq is for everyone.”

Many respondents recalled the place Jews occupy in Iraqi history. “Iraq’s Jews helped develop Iraqi history in several fields: political, economic, cultural, religious and social,” wrote Samir al-Sirafi. “We hope that they will be granted the rights that were taken away from them, because they are sons of this land, and are partners to its well-being,” he added. Another wrote, “the Jews are the original inhabitants.” Jews had lived for centuries as a minority in Iraq, until the late 20th century, when hundreds of thousands of Iraqis either fled or were forcibly displaced from the country.

Others explicitly link the return of the Jews to the treatment of other minorities: Christians, Kurds, Yazidis, and others. “We are all humans, the Jews and the Christians are our brothers,” wrote Mustafa al-Mihdawi. “There is no difference, and this is their country. We must cooperate, following Prophet Muhammad’s moral tradition in collaborating with all the monotheistic religions with pure intentions. Jews and Christians, I love you.” This reaction earned 28 likes, more than any other comment.

A 1932 photograph of Ezekiel’s Tomb at Kifel, in southeastern Iraq. The area was inhabited by Iraqi Jews, some of whom appear in the photo. (American Colony, Jerusalem, Photo Dept./Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection/Wikipedia)

A 1932 photograph of Ezekiel’s Tomb at Kifel, in southeastern Iraq. The area was inhabited by Iraqi Jews, some of whom appear in the photo. (American Colony, Jerusalem, Photo Dept./Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection/Wikipedia)

Some view Judaism as the remedy to the problems Iraq is facing today. “We tried Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni,” wrote Amir al-Araji, “they are all thieves. We will hand the government over to a Jew or a Christian, maybe they will let us live in dignity.” Another person wrote: “I am willing to give up my citizenship and hand it over to a Jew.” Qassem Sima even finds a political opportunity in Jews: “The return of the Jews to Iraq and their participation in the Communist Party are the only solution to this country.” It seems the memory of the large membership of Jews in the Iraqi Community Party pre-1948 is still alive.

A significant number of people who commented distinguished between being Jewish and being Zionist. “The Jews are not our enemy,” wrote Aziz Falah a-Shujiri, “our enemies are the Zionists who occupied Palestine.” Despite that, he still supports the return of the Jews to Iraq. Generally, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was present in the comments, but not very definitively. Some suggested that, for Jews to receive Iraqi citizenship, they should give up their other citizenships – especially their Israeli one. Several said they support the return of Jews to Iraq but only if Palestinian refugees would also be allowed to return to their homes. One commenter, Ahmad al-Khudeir, said that Iraq “needs to reach a peace agreement with Israel,” to guarantee peace and security.

Of course, this is not a representative sample. The Facebook page – administered by young Iraqis in their 30s – offers real-life assistance to its members, and takes a strong stand against sectarianism in Iraq, which they believe is the source of all problems afflicting their nation. After Saddam Hussein’s persecution of Shiites and Kurds, and after civil war, triggered by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, one can understand why such an anti-sectarian position is gaining traction.

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Almog Behar, author, poet, and one of the founders of the Jewish-Arab Culture Studies program at Tel Aviv University, closely follows cultural developments in Iraq. He believes that the robust interest in Iraq’s Jews stems exactly from that place of anti-sectarianism. “Those who view the 1930s as the final moments of a democratic and liberal Iraq recognize the expulsion of the Jews as the end of that era,” Behar explained. “The suppression of the Jews symbolizes what eventually happened to the Yazidis, the Kurds, and the rest of the minorities.”

According to Behar, even back in the days of Saddam Hussein’s rule, exiles who left Iraq would be nostalgic about the Jews who were expelled. This nostalgia was regarded as a sign of resistance to Saddam’s regime, who was personally associated with their persecution. Saddam’s fall catalyzed the shift, said Behar. He also attributed it to technology, since the internet and social media make it easier for people to reconnect with Jewish Iraqis who left.

The most significant change, though, is the political upheaval Iraq has been experiencing over the past several years. In the late 1920s, said Behar, King Faisal coined the dictum: “Religion is for God, the Fatherland is for everyone.” This approach is making a comeback now, he added. With the failure of Saddam’s version of Arab Nationalism, and with the failure of radical political Islam by way of Al-Qaeda and ISIS, there is a desire to go back to a multi-national, multi-cultural Iraq. “A coalition of minorities is perceived as the only way to preserve Iraq, and Jews are among those minority groups.”

Zahava Bracha, who manages an Israeli Facebook group called “Preserving the Iraqi Language,” also did not find the results of the poll surprising. Most of the language group’s members are Israelis of Iraqi descent, but there are also Muslims who currently live in Iraq. “Friends in Iraq conducted similar polls, and the results were always positive,” said Bracha. “They may be young, but they have heard their parents talk about their Jewish neighbors, and they miss that.”

Given this context, one can understand the surprising declaration by Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric whose coalition won most seats in Iraq’s recent parliamentary elections. “If their loyalty was to Iraq, they are welcome,” he said, when asked whether Jews could return to Iraq.

According to Behar, a magazine in Baghdad called “Msarat” which sufficiently covers questions regarding minorities included the question of Iraqi Jews. Recently, an Iraqi TV channel sent a man dressed as an Orthodox Jew around the streets of Basra, as a hidden camera followed him knocking on doors, telling residents that his grandfather was from the city, and that he wanted to return and purchase a house there. The responses were positive. Bracha said a member of the Facebook group asked an Iraqi friend to take a photo of their family home in Iraq. “The house stood untouched, waiting,” Bracha added.

There were, of course, a few anti-Jewish remarks as well, but not more than four or five. “I am against, Jews are a cause for trouble,” said Mohammad al-Jaburi. Alaa al-Iraqi wrote, “Allah does not like countries that have Jews in them,” whereas another commenter was concerned that if Jews would return, “they will ask for considerable compensation, and will take over Iraq’s trade and economy.” In his view, the return of the Jews is a plot that President Trump is behind.

Very few Iraqis discuss the return of Jews as a practical development. The question is posed internally, as a reflection on how Iraqis view themselves, and the space Jews occupy in their imaginations of Iraq. One commenter, Husni al-Iraqi, bothered to read an interview with Iraq-born Israeli poet, Ronny Someck, who was asked about al-Sadr’s pronouncement welcoming Jews. Someck is “realistic”, wrote al-Iraqi, he understands that return is not going to happen anytime soon. Still, al-Iraqi quoted Someck’s surprise at the fact that not a single Israeli politician reacted to al-Sadr’s statement.

Are Iraqis more open and ready to talk about the right of return than Israelis are willing to? That’s what the conclusive results of the Facebook poll conducted by “The Clean Brotherhood” seem to suggest.

Meron Rapoport is an editor at Local Call, where a version of this article first appeared in Hebrew. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Mark

      Did the orthodox Jews of Basra dress like the chap in the film, or like those in the picture above it? I’m beginning to wonder if the producers of that film have some preconceptions about what Iraqi jews might like.

      On the whole I am tempted to assume the facebook poll is a prank. Do they suppose the cultural traits of Jews of Iraqi are unchanged after 70 years? The “golden age” seems to be when the British mandate operated in Iraq.

      I am wondering whether this article should have been held back until 1 April.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      From June: https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/new-iraqi-leader-welcomes-jews-to-return-1.6174480

      “The newly elected Iraqi leader, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, said that Jews, who were expelled decades ago, are welcome to return, Newsweek reported Tuesday.”

      From Dec 2017:

      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-decades-after-fleeing-iraqi-jews-plan-to-return-to-their-homeland-1.5628769

      “Decades After Fleeing, Iraqi Jews Plan to Return to Their Homeland”

      Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        As tourists, not “exiled Jews” coming back to live in Iraq thanks to a “Right of Return”. I hope you understand the difference.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      A fascinating article. So genuinely subversive of the right wing hasbara line about many things, including the right of return, that the first commenter here can’t believe it’s not an April Fools Day prank. That response says much about encrusted layers of false assumptions that politicians like Netanyahu assiduously cultivate. About the assumptive world Israelis live in. As does the fact that “not a single Israeli politician reacted to al-Sadr’s statement.” Like 16th century churchmen blinking their eyes in disbelief at the heresy of Copernicus. Those irritating Arabs! Why can’t they stick with the script!

      Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        The article is nonsense based on unrealistic nonsense as I explained below.
        “not a single Israeli politician reacted to al-Sadr’s statement.” – oh I’m sure if they heard of it they reacted. With a hearty laugh.

        I’m sure the huge lines of “exiled Jews” to return to Iraq are forming as I type this.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          “as I explained below”

          Yes, well, that magnificent busting through the saloon doors with both guns blazing didn’t work out so well, did it, cowboy?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Oh yes, pointing out the obvious (as if Jews will line up to leave a modern prosperous democracy, the historic homeland of the Jewish people no less, and go live in an Islamic tribal mess of a semi-failed state filled with corruption, crippling poverty etc..) is “busting through the saloon doors with both guns blazing”.

            “didn’t work out so well, did it, cowboy” – it most certainly didn’t work out so well for you as I explained repeatedly below. If you honestly think what the Shia cleric said is anything but empty rhetoric you are more out of touch with reality than I thought.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Well, it certainly is rhetoric. How empty that rhetoric is remains to be seen. You desperately WANT it to be empty. So as to match the emptiness of your buddy Netanyahu’s rhetoric. So it goes.

            Neither Meron nor I are out “of touch with reality.” I see Meron as quite astute and knowing. And sophisticated. Like I said, he’s not fodder for your transmogrifying meat grinder. He is taking note of and exploring shifts in self-image, political landscape, political imagination. And not stereotyping. As he noted, “Very few Iraqis discuss the return of Jews as a practical development. The question is posed internally, as a reflection on how Iraqis view themselves, and the space Jews occupy in their imaginations of Iraq.”

            Put the meat grinder away and be honest about what you read for once. It’s a small demand.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Nope, I simply point out the obvious, that it’s unrealistic ridiculous nonsense and no “exiled Jews” (who are not exiled anymore, they are not kept as perpetual refugees like the Palestinian leadership and the Arab world does to the Palestinians) will go live in a hellhole like Iraq. I gave you an example when the exact same comment was said in the 1970 by the Baathists, guess how many Jews decided to go back to Iraq ?
            It’s ridiculous nonsense, empty rhetoric and if you think it will make Iraqi Jews, descendants of Iraqi Jews who probably still remember the Farhud massacre and rapes of Jews, you are out of your mind.
            “Neither Meron nor I are out “of touch with reality.”” – if you think this nonsense is serious, then yes you both are.
            “He is taking note of and exploring shifts in self-image, political landscape, political imagination” – he is taking empty rhetoric, ridiculous unrealistic nonsense, and asks why can’t the Jews consider the Right of Return if the Iraqis are willing to. It’s written very, very clearly in the article. Lie as much as you like, the words are still there.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I see you weren’t up to it. No surprise there.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            I see you ignored my post again.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            (attempt #2): I see you ignored my post again. No surprise there.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Ido

      The article is ridiculous. As if Jews will line up to leave a modern prosperous democracy, the historic homeland of the Jewish people no less, and go live in an Islamic tribal mess of a semi-failed state filled with corruption, crippling poverty and despite claiming they are defeated, a still ongoing campaign of kidnapping and killings by remaining Daesh terrorists.
      The Baathists made a similar comment in the 70’s when Iraq was a thriving economy. Even then no Iraqi Jew “in exile” took up their offer. Probably had something to do with the public hanging of Jews the previous year.
      The Christian minority has also pretty much been forced into exile due to the sectarian violence. The Kurdistan Region is probably the only safe place remaining for what’s left of them. Sadr’s offer to welcome back the exiled Jews of Iraq is nothing more than hollow rhetoric, a publicity stunt.
      The attempted equivalence to the Right of Return of the Palestinians is similarly ridiculous. Never, ever going to happen. Not on the table. Israel has no intention of committing suicide on a national scale.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        “As if….”

        Meron said something quite different, more intelligent and thoughtful and insightful than this. That escapes you.

        “The attempted equivalence…”

        Meron did not make an equivalence. He’s more intelligent and thoughtful and insightful than that. That escapes you.

        I’m not impressed.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ido

          oh I understand exactly where he was going with his “Iraq is for everyone”. Not very subtle. Still, ridiculous nonsense based on unrealistic nonsense as I explained.

          “Meron did not make an equivalence” – and I quote: “an online poll on the matter suggests that Iraqis are ready to discuss the right of return, more than Israelis are”.
          “Are Iraqis more open and ready to talk about the right of return than Israelis are willing to?”. So you missed those sections ?

          “I’m not impressed.” – common sense and reality is not very impressed with you.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            You don’t do nuance, I gather? Those words do not constitute an equivalence (do not constitute “attempted equivalence to the Right of Return of the Palestinians”). Meron’s about something more intelligent, meaningful, sophisticated and helpful. He’s not fodder for transmogrification.
            Where we come from common sense is required to make sense, or the else commoners are in trouble.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            What’s with you and lying when the text is right there ? I just quoted it. Wait, is this a lie or you again have no idea what’s going on ? in this case it can be either. I don’t get it. Are you trolling or something ?
            Again: he says Iraqis are ready to discuss the right of return for the “exiled Jews” (which is of course ridiculous nonsense as I explained), more than Israelis are willing to discuss the right of return to their country and he muses are Iraqis more open to the idea of Right of Return than the Israelis are.
            And you are either playing dumb or failed to get the “Iraq is for everyone” not so subtle hint from a pro-Palestinian news blog and how it’s relevant to Israel and the Palestinian conflict.

            “Meron’s about something more intelligent, meaningful, sophisticated and helpful” – as always, thanks for the laugh.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Hmmm. What’s with you and dumbing down? We know the text is “right there.” We disagreed (twice now) with you *interpretation* of that text. That obviously does not mean we “lie” about it or “have no idea.” (This needs to be spelled out to you? Wow. We have showed here that it only takes a person precisely two times disagreeing with you for you to mindlessly whip out “lying, lied, liar” and some version of “clueless.” Your truly mindless use of “liar” and “you have no idea” is embarrassing.)

            Sweetpea, if I juxtapose and compare (intelligently, thoughtfully, and with insight) a Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) and a Canadian prarie lupine (Lupinus lepidus) I am not making an equivalence between those two somewhat similar but geographically and ecologically separate and distinctive species. But the non-equivalence-making juxtaposition and comparison could be meaningful and productive. Because it is intelligent and thoughtful and insightful….But I could also do a dumbed-down denunciation of the comparison by falsely accusing the comparison maker of making a simple-minded “equivalence.”

            Now, I can’t make this any clearer. You’re on your own after this. We will not attempt to correct, improve or reform the truly incorrigible.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “We disagreed (twice now) with you” – um, the guy compared the Iraqi “right of Return” to Israel’s. It’s right there in writing. I quoted him. He’s comparing the Iraqi leader’s willingness to accept the “exiled Jews” right of return to Israel’s Right of Return of the Palestinians. As in why can’t Israel consider it if the Iraqis are.
            He literally asked if the Iraqis can do it why not Israel. It’s right there, in writing. Why on earth do you think lying about this makes any kind of rational sense ? this is not the first time you lie like this, and now I know you’re lying and this is not your usual ignorance.
            This is not “interpretation”, this the point of the article.

            ” mindlessly whip out “lying, lied, liar”” – this is very, very simple: you claim something which is not the truth. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, that this is just your usual ignorance, you now made it very clear that you’re lying again.
            You said the writer didn’t compare the issue of the Iraqi right of return to Israel’s right of return. This is a ridiculous lie. I literally quoting him where he compares the two.

            “Sweetpea, if I juxtapose and compare (intelligently, thoughtfully, and with insight)” – you’re a clueless liar, as again clearly shown here. You claim something which isn’t the truth. Very, very clearly so. Calling my childish names will not make it go away.

            “We will not attempt to correct” – yes, ignore what the articles literally says (“if Iraqis are willing to accept the Right of Return, what about Israel ?), lie some more about what the article said about Israel and the Right of Return.
            Not to mention how you completely ignored the fact that the article is literally about ridiculous unrealistic nonsense as I explained in detail. Not going to happen. Just like the Palestinian’s Right of Return is not going to happen. Ever. Israel is not going to commit suicide on a national scale.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Well, now you are showing, in high relief, two things. Your limitations. And your sneakiness (evasiveness when caught).

            I took you to task for misusing “equivalence” in the service of a simple-minded hatchet job that cancels out all the complexity of the author’s writing. You, the incessant misuser of the word “lying,” then proceed to actually lie by deliberately misusing the word “literally” four times! Every time you use “literally” the author actually did not literally say any such thing. Showing just in that misusing how limited is your grasp and how sneaky you are. But you compounded the sneakiness with your shifting from “equivalence” (your word) to “comparison” (my word, and the heart of the matter) and thinking no one would notice. Using some form of “compare” four times, whereas you had not used it once before I used it. But using “compare” simple-mindedly, as if it meant to draw an equivalence, as opposed to the complex multilayered comparisons the author made. And, on top of that, misrepresenting how *I* used “comparison”!

            A real spectacle.

            You can take your laptop and search and highlight the word “literally” and then search and highlight “compar” and see for yourself the stark evidence of this.

            You should ask yourself how it happens that you start out with both barrels blazing busting through the saloon door shouting “this article is ridiculous!…the attempted equivalence to the Right of Return of the Palestinians is similarly ridiculous!” and end up tail between your legs shiftily scurrying out the back door dropping “equivalence” in the dirt and snarling “compared…comparing… compare…compares” and making utterly, blatantly false use of “literally” no less than four times, thinking we can’t read. As well as misusing “compare.” As we noted. And you become the one who from the rear looks ridiculous. How does that happen?

            Now here’s the deal: I don’t care if you don’t get this or you pretend you don’t get this so as to save face. I get it and a lot of other people here who read this will get it.

            Footnote: I know English is not your first language, or so you say, but a “lie” is not committed when someone “claims something which isn’t the truth”—a lie is committed when someone *knowingly* claims something which isn’t the truth. Now I did not either unknowingly or knowingly claim something which isn’t the truth. But one of the levels, and only one level of many, on which your sleazy use of the word “liar” takes place is your inveterate confusing of this elementary distinction.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “the author actually did not literally say any such thing” – I have no idea why you keep lying when the text is right in front of your face.
            So when the writer opens his article with saying how the Iraqis are willing to discuss the Right of Return of the “exiled Jews” more than the Israelis are willing to discuss the Right of Return of the Palestinians and finishes the article with a paragraph musing how the Iraqis are ready and willing to talk about the Right of Return more than the Israelis are about the Palestinians Right of Return he obviously wasn’t making any equivalence between the Iraqi Right of Return to the Palestinians Right of Return. Obviously.
            See, this is the kind of stupid that begs the question: how far out of touch with reality are you ? the text is right there, I quoted it in my first post. Why on earth do you think lying about this will have any kind of result besides showing again how you’re a joke ?

            ” thinking no one would notice” – what the hell are you talking about ? I’m now repeating this for the 4th time. The article is right there, you for some reason fail to grasp the meaning of it and what he says even when he literally says it in the opening paragraph and the closing paragraph.
            Clearly when a guy writes an article and doesn’t want to say something he puts it in the article’s opening and the closing statement. Clearly. Hilarious.

            “A real spectacle” – oh yes, very close to a few of your more hilariously outrageous lies. Not your best though but I admire the effort.
            “this article is ridiculous!” – because it obviously is. The idea of “exiled Jews” returning to Iraq is an empty rhetoric which has no actual real world meaning. It’s a publicity stunt. You so far have repeatedly ignored this fact.

            “and end up tail between your legs” – you’re lying about this as well ? are you that stupid ? nice attempt at deflection.
            “shiftily scurrying” – are you trying to give me an aneurysm from laughing so hard ?
            “blatantly false use of “literally”” – um, it’s right there in the article. I quoted it. I explained it like to a child four times now.
            “Now here’s the deal: I don’t care if you don’t get this” – now here’s the deal: I don’t care that you’re lying again but I will point it out because I find you extremely entertaining.

            “a lie is committed when someone *knowingly* claims something which isn’t the truth” – which is exactly what you did as I explained in detail for a 4th time. I even asked you if it’s not a lie but just another display of your ignorance to make sure. You made it very clear so I thank you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I made myself as clear as can be. Anyone honest knows what I am saying and knows the dodges and the misusages, and the misuse of misusages, you are resorting to. I get it and a lot of other people here who read this will get it. I explained to you the deal: I don’t care if you don’t get it or you pretend you don’t get it so as to save face. I suspect it is both, and believe me, that does not reflect well on you either way.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            The article is as clear as it can be. You again and again ignore what I say, as usual.
            I repeat: the writer opens his article with saying how the Iraqis are willing to discuss the Right of Return of the “exiled Jews” more than the Israelis are willing to discuss the Right of Return of the Palestinians and he finishes the article with a paragraph musing how the Iraqis are ready and willing to talk about the Right of Return more than the Israelis are about the Palestinians Right of Return.
            he literally says it in the opening paragraph and the closing paragraph. If the Iraqis are willing to accept the right of return why not the Israelis ?
            Clearly when a guy writes an article and doesn’t want to say something, he puts it in the article’s opening and closing paragraph, right ? I have no idea why you insist on lying about something this obvious, the not-so-subtle equivalence by the writer between both Rights of Returns, just like your repeated refusal to address the ridiculous premise of “exiled Jews” actually returning to the a place like Iraq.
            “pretend you don’t get it so as to save face” – what ? I wasn’t clear enough ? you lied again, plain and simple. I even gave you the benefit of the doubt and asked you if it was just your usual ignorance and not another lie. You made it perfectly clear.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            There is absolutely nothing new in this latest response of yours. It fails in all the same ways. And the same deal applies. In full. I answered your fake “ridiculous premise” concoction above. (Where I concluded by asking you to put way your transmogrifying meat grinder and be honest about what you read for once. But, not being out of touch with reality, I am not expecting you to respond constructively.) Bye bye.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “There is absolutely nothing new in this latest response of yours” – obviously, the article didn’t change. It stills talks about the Iraqi right of return, never mind that it’s ridiculous nonsense, and asks why Israel can’t do the same. Very, very clearly so.
            “It fails in all the same ways” – lie as much as you like, as usual reality is not going to change based on your nonsense. The article is right there, it’s as subtle as an elephant running through a ceramic workshop. if Iraq is considering a Right of Return for Jews, why can’t Israel consider a Right of Return to the Palestinians ? “Iraq is for everyone”. Very subtle.
            “I answered your fake “ridiculous premise” concoction above” – and I explained above how you are very out of touch with reality. Again.

            Reply to Comment
    5. Dean Davis

      No one is going to fall for it, not even Arabs themselves and not to mention the Jews. Totally unbelievable and a bad joke even for April fool.
      From a Southeast Asian

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        @Dean Davis: This is such an easy, casually dismissive thing to say. But consider that you’re missing the point, confusing the issue.

        The genuine grass roots opinions gathered from the poll taken are not “a joke,” nor some coordinated mass “stunt,” nor are they some bizarre fiendish “trap” to lure unsuspecting Jews back to their deaths, nor some mass-coordinated brinkmanship. It is what it is. Meron Rapoport speaks knowingly and wisely about its potential meanings and what he writes is not reducible to the simplistic, hackneyed formula you imply.

        The chief impression one gets so far is how anxious naysayers are to say the equivalent of “move along children, nothing to see here,” to swiftly discount the report as something deceitful, to maintain the pugilistic, jaw-thrusting, rejectionist status quo—while sitting in the occupier’s seat and gobbling ever more land. Or sitting in a seat comfortably removed from the daily suffering of a brutal 50 year occupation.

        You tell us you’re “a Southeast Asian.” Why do you tell us this? What code is it for? You want it to signal something but it does not signal anything clearly and any number of possibilities can be behind it.

        Reply to Comment
    6. max

      just a question , is it obvious for everyone that one cannot colonize Palestine and take benefit of the return in its original country from where he was taken?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Ben

      Zvi Bar’el:

      “The refugee problem exists on two levels. At the Palestinian national and symbolic level, the Palestinian right of return, as defined in UN Resolution 194 from 1948, is the main cause for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is the basis for the Palestinians’ demand for historic justice, which was deprived from them by Israel’s War of Independence, which caused the Nakba, or catastrophe, and the Palestinians’ refugeehood.

      Concessions on the refugee issue and the right of return is a betrayal of the Palestinian national idea and grants forgiveness without recompense to those who caused that great injustice.

      But…the Palestinian leadership has also made it clear that it’s willing to negotiate with Israel over the right of return. Back in 2002, at the Arab League summit in Beirut*, the Arab states said they would accept a just and agreed solution based on Resolution 194….

      Years later, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that “demanding that Israel absorb five million refugees isn’t reasonable. Neither is one million.”

      According to the “Palestine Papers” published by Al Jazeera in 2010, Abbas proposed to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Israel take in about 100,000 refugees, at a rate of 10,000 a year for 10 years (Olmert proposed 25,000 in total).

      Both sides understood that neither maximalist demands nor complete refusal would lead to a solution, so the question then became what number both sides thought their own people could live with….”

      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-trump-s-thuggish-policy-will-make-it-harder-to-solve-mideast-conflict-1.6415282

      Reply to Comment
    8. Bruce Gould

      The question is not how MANY people want to go back to wherever they were kicked out of, the question is whether they should have the RIGHT to do so, whether or not people can seek some measure of justice and recognition of their situation.

      So do people who were nakba’d out of a country have the RIGHT to go back? Not many Jews want to go back to Iraq, but should they have the right to do so? Should the world recognize that what happened to them was an injustice?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        Ah so it’s a philosophical debate, never mind that it’s based on unrealistic nonsense. Well then in this case for example where is the compensation for the property and assets the Jews left in Iraq when they fled the massacre and rapes about 80 years ago ?
        You know, a measure of justice and recognition of their situation. Israel offered the Palestinians compensations and a symbolic return into Israel for a small number of refugees during the peace negotiations, so you weren’t aware of this ?
        “Not many Jews want to go back to Iraq” – that’s an amusing understatement.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bruce Gould

          @Ido: So do you want to discuss compensation and all that? What direction do you want to go in – one in which international law acquires some teeth and requires that people like the Jews expelled from Iraq be given the opportunity to return, along with appropriate compensation?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            I answered this question about 3 or 4 times already so I’ll just repeat it again:

            The article is ridiculous. As if Jews will line up to leave a modern prosperous democracy, the historic homeland of the Jewish people no less, and go live in an Islamic tribal mess of a semi-failed state filled with corruption, crippling poverty and despite claiming they are defeated, a still ongoing campaign of kidnapping and killings by remaining Daesh terrorists.
            The Baathists made a similar comment in the 70’s when Iraq was a thriving economy. Even then no Iraqi Jew “in exile” took up their offer. Probably had something to do with the public hanging of Jews the previous year.
            The Christian minority has also pretty much been forced into exile due to the sectarian violence. The Kurdistan Region is probably the only safe place remaining for what’s left of them. Sadr’s offer to welcome back the exiled Jews of Iraq is nothing more than hollow rhetoric, a publicity stunt.
            The attempted equivalence to the Right of Return of the Palestinians is similarly ridiculous. Never, ever going to happen. Not on the table. Israel has no intention of committing suicide on a national scale.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            To clarify: there have been attempts from Jewish organizations to get compensation for the huge amount of property and assets they were forced to leave behind in Iraq, including attempts of class-action suits without much success. No one in his right mind will consider returning to live in Iraq.
            Israel has offered compensation and a symbolic right of return to the Palestinians as part of the peace negotiations. Meaning Israel recognizes the Palestinians rights in this manner.
            The comparison to the situation with Iraq is laughable. On multiple levels.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            @Bruce Gould: Obviously, Ido wants to distract everyone by pretending that Meron Rapoport is an object of derision, a “ridiculous” writer claiming that “Jews will line up” to leave Israel for Iraq. Ido seems to think that people cannot read. Ido seems to think that people cannot read that Meron wrote the following:

            ‘Very few Iraqis discuss the return of Jews as a practical development. The question is posed internally, as a reflection on how Iraqis view themselves, and the space Jews occupy in their imaginations of Iraq. One commenter, Husni al-Iraqi, bothered to read an interview with Iraq-born Israeli poet, Ronny Someck, who was asked about al-Sadr’s pronouncement welcoming Jews. Someck is “realistic”, wrote al-Iraqi, he understands that return is not going to happen anytime soon.’

            Ido’s distracting bluster and deliberately specious characterizations aside, Meron Rapoport clearly makes a case that ordinary Iraqi Arabs are far more open to Jews returning and living among them than are ordinary Israeli Jews open to Palestinians returning and living among them.

            The manufactured “issue” of how one country is a mess and the other an organized and strong country with marvelous resources can be turned around. Or stood on its head. Instead of sneering at why a Jew would want to return to Iraq, one can ask why it is that such a strong country with marvelous resources and ingenuity, one that quickly absorbed a million Russian Jews and their non-Jewish relatives and spouses (more than a quarter of which immigrants were not considered Jewish by Israeli rabbinate “standards”) cannot find its way to absorbing even a mere 100,000 native, indigenous, nakba’d Palestinians over ten years. Could it be that racist supremacism as well as the refusal to even talk about the Nakba, so that even the talk of it is practically outlawed, are major factors? Plus the obvious resistance to any final accord that gives up a square centimeter of land, of course. Ya think?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “Arabs are far more open to Jews returning and living among them than are ordinary Israeli Jews open to Palestinians returning and living among them” – thank you for proving yet again how you lied, claiming the author didn’t make the equivalence about the Rights of Returns. The entire article is based on an unrealistic premise which means absolutely nothing besides how דםצק Iraqis are very desperate, thinking Jews will somehow come and fix Iraq or some similar nonsense and he downplays the anti-semitism prevalent in the Arab/Islamic world.
            The comparison between the Iraqi right of return to the Palestinians right of return is idiotic on multiple levels. The article is meaningless ridiculous nonsense. See, I am open to the idea of Arabs taking over Israel. It won’t happen, it means nothing but I say I’m open to it.

            “The manufactured “issue” of how one country is a mess and the other an organized and strong country with marvelous resources can be turned around” – reality, fact and truth is “manufactured “issue”” ? are you that stupid ? why on earth will Jews return to a hellhole where their family members were butchered, hanged and raped or simple lived as Dhimmis ?
            “one can ask why it is that such a strong country with marvelous resources” – because it’s not an Arab country ruled by Arabs. Take a look at every single Arab country neighboring Israel. Hell, take a look at the regions self ruled by the Palestinians.
            “quickly absorbed a million Russian Jews and their non-Jewish relatives” – you’re comparing Western educated mostly secular eastern-Europeans to Muslim Arabs ? hilarious. Sorry if this is not politically correct enough for you but that’s the hard cold reality. Take a good look at every single Arab country next to Israel.
            “cannot find its way to absorbing even a mere 100,000 native, indigenous” – oh they can easily be absorbed into a future Palestinian state. Their own people. If only they weren’t kept as perpetual refugees for political/strategic reasons by their own leaders and the Arab world. And apparently for the Palestinians ‘Refugee’ is a genetic trait.
            “Could it be that racist supremacism” – no, it’s simply not wanting to commit suicide on a national scale.
            “refusal to even talk about the Nakba” – you mean besides the war being mentioned in Israeli history books taught in schools ? you want to discuss what the Arab school books refuse to mention or demonize ?
            “talk of it is practically outlawed” – You are more than welcome to the “Nakba day” commemoration ceremony held in my city next year. The “Nakba”, meaning the cause of the Palestinian refugees along with the War of Independence is mentioned in history schoolbooks. However, contrary to the Palestinian narrative, the reasons and the Arabs’ own involvement including they attempt to destroy Israel and their rejection of the Partition Plan is also mentioned. I doubt it is in the Palestinian textbooks.
            The word itself (“the great disaster”) is not commonly used because of the way it’s presented in the Palestinian narrative, how they completely ignore the Arabs’ own responsibility to the war’s results and Israel will not call it’s own War of Independence “the great disaster”.
            The Arabs wanted to destroy Israel in 1948, there is no reason to mourn their failure.
            “Plus the obvious resistance to any final accord that gives up a square centimeter of land” – you mean besides offering almost all the West Bank and the rest in land swaps from within the Green Line ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Ido apparently continues to think we cannot read! ​And that we were born yesterday!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Ben apparently continues to ignore my posts pointing out his lying nonsense and he continues to reject reality and substitute it with his own.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I strongly suspect I am not the first person who has quickly learned that discounting or “ignoring” 95% of what you say is the only way to sanely handle you and your distracting repetitiveness and your full-of-yourself quality. It’s just that the format here and my articulateness renders this explicit and puts it in writing. In that sense you are being afforded valuable feedback. I should send you a bill.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            And as always you ignore the facts stated in my post, pointing out your lies and ignorance in detail and you pathetically try to rationalize it to yourself with “no, no I’m not ignoring you pointing out how I’m wrong, I’m ‘discounting’ it. Yes, that’s the ticket!”. Pathetic as always.
            And as always you continues to reject reality and substitute it with his own delusional nonsense.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            This dissembling would only work for you, Ido Geller, if we here could not read! But we can! So the jig is up!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Are you trying to break your pathetic record? seems to be a valiant effort so far.
            Again you ignore the facts stated in my posts, pointing out very, very clearly your lies and ignorance and you pathetically try to rationalize it to yourself with “we can read! the jig is up!” idiocy. Sorry, you’re not ignoring me pointing out your lying clueless nonsense, you’re “discounting” it. Because why face reality when you can substitute it with your own ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            And just because you’re refractory to treatment doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get paid. To where should I send the bill?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Aaand still ignoring my posts where I point out your lies and clueless nonsense. No pathetic hilarious excuse this time? oh well. My favorite is “no, no I’m not ignoring you pointing out in detail how I’m a clueless liar, I’m ‘discounting’ it! yes, that’ll do!”

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            It’s your favorite because you don’t understand it [chuckle]. Honestly you remind me of the guy in the old Jewish proverb who ate the stinking fish, got beaten up and was chased out of town. But keeps asking for more. A little bit of a learning disability there.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            And here we are again: you ignore my posts where I show exactly where you lied and where you made embarrassing clueless mistakes.
            Honestly you remind me of the clueless liar who doesn’t seem to understand what he’s talking about and repeatedly ignores posts showing it in detail.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Nope, it’s my favorite because it encapsulates your refusal to acknowledge reality. Keep ignoring it, let’s see if your lies and delusional nonsense go away.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “here we are again”

            Nope. I’m done.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Well, it’s another way for you to ignore my posts where I point out your lying nonsense in detail. My favorite is still the “discounting”.

            Reply to Comment
    9. UnimpressedRealist

      The only people who would be against this, and indeed try to imply Jews wouldnt leave Israel to go back to their motherland,are the people INVESTED in an ideology of zero sum who would lose all power if Palestinians were to return and Iraqi Jews were to return.

      We wouldn’t want a real revolutionary moment, would we? A historic endeavor of restoring the legacies of old Palestinian families and old Jewish families. History told in full, wrong put right and doing right by everyone. Even for people we don’t like.

      We are all in chains, some of us more aware than others.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        The only people who seriously contemplate Jews willingly going to live in Iraq are so out of touch with reality that it’s laughable.
        Why on earth will Jews willingly go live in an Islamic failed state hellhole ? this is not ‘invested in zero sum ideology’, it’s basic common sense to anyone who is familiar with the Middle-East and reality.
        Why on earth will Israel commit national suicide and allow itself to become another failed Arab state ? a symbolic return of a few thousands and monetary compensation, sure, a flood of millions of Arabs who almost all of them are not actual refugees by actual definition is out of the question, never ever going to happen.
        There is no comparison between the two ‘Rights of Return’. It’s not ‘a revolutionary moment’, it’s unrealistic delusional nonsense.

        Reply to Comment
    10. Anti-Fascist

      Although Iraq is a *mess*, parts of Iraq are now probably safer places for Mizrahi Jews than Israel is. Basra has no power, the north is still embroiled in civil war, but Baghdad is another matter.

      Reply to Comment
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