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The potential of the Joint List in Brussels

The EU has become effectively paralyzed in its ability to react to and meaningfully impact the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A recent visit by Arab members of Knesset represents an opportunity for both the EU and civil society in Israel to engage in new ways.

By Nimrod Goren

The EU quite frequently expresses criticism over Israeli policies and legislation that damage prospects of achieving the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts or that run counter to the principles of democracy and human rights. Israel’s recent Jewish Nation-State Law ties both aspects together – it contradicts the value of equality that appears in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, and it places additional obstacles on the path to a future peace agreement. EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini emphasized this in her recent public statements, as well as in her decision to meet a delegation of Arab members of Knesset from the Joint List, which arrived in Brussels to protest the Nation State Law earlier this month.

In recent years, the EU has found it increasingly difficult to have an impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Internal divisions and differences of opinions among member states – especially between those in western and northern Europe and those in central and eastern Europe – have prevented meaningful decisions on the topic in the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council since 2016. The split within the EU has become evident even in UN votes, such as the vote regarding the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to deepen these divisions and to leverage them to his benefit. He recently stated this in public, on his way to a visit in Lithuania. Israel under his leadership is trying to limit the EU’s ability to reach the consensus needed to make decisions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is doing so by fostering alliances with various groupings of European countries – the Visegrad group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland), the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia), the Hellenic states (Cyprus and Greece), and next in line may be the Balkan states. This is done in parallel to growing criticism of the EU by top Israeli ministers, often including insults and portrayals of the EU – Israel’s largest trade partner – as a rival rather than a friend and partner.

The EU has not yet found effective policy solutions to these developments. It...

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PHOTOS: Activists spend night in Palestinian village Israel plans to demolish

The Israeli military is expected to demolish and forcibly displace the entire village of Khan al-Ahmar any day now. Hundreds of activists hope to stave off the bulldozers, or at least stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the village’s residents when they arrive.

Ever since a temporary injunction delaying the forcible displacement and demolition of the entire Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar expired, over 100 Palestinian, Israeli and foreign solidarity activists have spent the night in the village school’s courtyard.

After dinner and a few live broadcasts on Facebook, the activists sleep on thin mattresses and heavy blankets laid out across the schoolyard’s artificial grass covered courtyard.

As the sun rises each morning, a sense of temporary relief is tangible. The village survived to see another day another night. They made it through the night.

 

The scene is in some ways reminiscent of Tel Aviv’s 2011 social justice tent protests, when thousands of young Israelis slept under the stars and in tents along the city’s Rothschild Boulevard. Only here, in Khan al-Ahmar seven years later, instead of Hebrew-language signs demanding affordable housing there are Palestinian flags, portraits of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, and almost certainty that Israeli army bulldozers will soon arrive.

Many of the activists, including Palestinian government minister Walid Assaf, hurry to leave the school — and the village — before the children arrive to school each morning. In the evening they will return to spend another night in the village, hoping to hold off its destruction, or at least to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its residents when it happens.

For nearly a decade, the residents of Khan al-Ahmar have been fighting the Israeli government’s attempts to demolish the Bedouin village and forcibly transfer its inhabitants to an area adjacent to a garbage dump near the West Bank town of Abu Dis.

The village has become an internationally-known site of resistance to Israel’s practice of forcibly transferring Palestinians out of Area C, and, in the past, pressure by American and European diplomats succeeded in helping to stave off the demolitions.

The area where it is located, known as E1, is of great strategic importance because if Israeli settlements expand throughout it, they would effectively dissect the West Bank into two pieces, rendering the idea of a contiguous Palestinian state there moot.

Human rights activists and organizations have called the planned demolition and forced displacement a war crime. Earlier this week,...

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When support for Israel means abandoning universal values

On a recent trip to Germany, Jewish Israeli filmmaker Udi Aloni finds himself defending the Palestinians’ right to resist Israeli apartheid and occupation. Before pledging unconditional loyalty to Israel, he says, people should ask themselves what values they are helping promote.

By Udi Aloni

My daughter Yuli and I set out on a journey in Berlin this summer to spend quality time together, to see art, and learn from each other. Yuli lives in Israel, where my mother, Shulamit Aloni, was the minister of education and culture in the second Yitzhak Rabin government. She was with Rabin at the rally where he was murdered following a wild smear campaign of right-wing forces in Israel. It is those same forces that, today, some Germans have called to unconditionally support.

I had been planning to go to the Ruhrtriennale festival in Bochum to screen my film, “Junction 48” (winner of the Berlinale Panorama Audience Award 2017), when my friend and comrade in the struggle from Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Iris Hefetz Amsalem, called to inform me about a controversial event being planned in Berlin. It was a symposium against the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, and no Palestinian representative was invited to speak there.

It was clear to me that I had to attend the event and confront those who have turned the BDS concept upside down. As an outsider who is unsure of the advantages and disadvantages of the BDS movement in Germany, my goal was not so much to protect the movement, but rather to stop the cynical depiction of civil rights activists as anti-Semitic. The manipulative use of the term anti-Semitism is an act that promotes anti-Semitism by obscuring its literal and historical meanings. This inaccurate usage must be fought with the same degree of decisiveness with which we fight anti-Semitism itself.

I thought that as an Israeli Jew I could go to the symposium and simply explain that, not only is the BDS movement clearly not anti-Semitic, its basic tenet is equality between Jews and Palestinians. BDS is a Palestinian call for solidarity from international civil society, whose money has been used to acquire lethal weapons to oppress the Palestinian people. It is a call for solidarity coming from a people who have lived without basic rights for 70 years. It is a call to create a space for non-violent struggle for justice and...

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Activists dig in ahead of Khan al-Ahmar demolition

Israel may demolish and evict the Palestinian-Bedouin community any day now, and activists are maintaining a presence there until it does. Israeli forces demolish a small, protest camp that was erected earlier in the week.

By Oren Ziv

An Israeli High Court injunction preventing the forced displacement and demolition of the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar expired at midnight on Tuesday. Israeli army bulldozers may show up at any time now to destroy the West Bank Palestinian village, strategically situated between Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.

Around 100 Palestinian, international, and Israeli activists visited the village the night the injunction ended, to make sure that the residents are not alone when security forces arrive to demolish it. A huge tent was erected in the school courtyard, which has become the headquarter of the struggle, and dozens of mattresses and blankets dotted the AstroTurf-covered ground. There were no signs of whether the demolition would be carried out that night, but nobody was going to take any chances.

A single police car was parked across the village, on Route 1, which curves around Jerusalem to the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim and down to the Dead Sea. Police officers were not preventing activists from marching into the village.

The night before, on Rosh Hashana, Palestinian activists established a protest camp, Wadi al-Ahmar, between the village and the settlement of Kfar Adumim. They erected four shacks made of wood and aluminum, and said police officers who showed up at the scene looked confused and did not know what to do. According to the activists, the new neighborhood was built on privately owned Palestinian land. Early Thursday morning, Israeli authorities came back to demolish the four shacks that comprised Wadi al-Ahmar.

A hundred or so activists also stayed in the small village Wednesday night, and similar solidarity groups are expected to maintain a presence until Israeli troops come to demolish the village. While the EU has warned Israel against the forced displacement, the assumption among activists is that the demolition is only a matter of time, and the timing is merely a logistical matter for the Israeli forces.

The Khan al-Ahmar residents and the activists who came to support them plan to nonviolently resist the demolition orders by barricading themselves into the village’s school. Since the school is relatively closed off and fenced in, however, the activists...

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Gazans invite Israeli activists over for tea

As Israeli soldiers shot at Palestinian demonstrators, Gazan and Israeli activists join each other — on two sides of the fence — for tea, a symbolic act of longing for a day without barriers and aggression.

By Dalit Baum

Last Friday at dusk, I shared a picnic blanket with dear friends, on a country hill, near a beautiful orchard, sipping tea in porcelain cups, mixed with tears and tear gas.

In front of us, we watched how thousands of Palestinian demonstrators marched, as they have done every Friday for over four months now, trying to reach the fence that separates us from them, the fence that seals the 2 million inhabitants of Gaza into the largest open-air prison on earth. We heard continuous shooting, and blasts, and saw the plumes of white tear gas weave into the pillar of black smoke from the burning tires. We heard the sirens of an ambulance, then another, and another, more and more. Six Israelis, quietly sitting near an orchard and a dirt road, we sipped our tea solemnly as we watched our own military shoot the trapped demonstrators.

Unlike the soldiers, we were invited to be there. We were invited by the Palestinian organizers to share tea with them, to signify our solidarity and our joint hope for a day without fences and killing, a day when all the refugees could return home, to Palestine. After four months of the Great March of Return, with over 1,750 Gazans injured and 180 killed, about 7,500 showed up again to face the soldiers, and all we were asked to do is come for tea.

We sipped some tea. We called our hosts by phone, hearing their voices through the shouts and the blasts. Suddenly, we heard the crowd roar and cheer – the demonstrators have taken down a tear gas drone. We cheered with them, just as the wind shifted, and we were engulfed in tear gas not meant for us.

Only six of us on that hill, where there should have been thousands. Media crews standing right next to us ignored us completely. We raised high flags, hoping to be seen by the demonstrators. On the phone, they said they could see us, and for a moment, this ludicrous tea party felt absolutely right.

Within three minutes, the soldiers arrived. They did not mind the tea, but the flags...

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For Israel, Khan al-Ahmar residents lack 'good faith' displayed by settlers

As far as Israel is concerned, the demolition and displacement of Palestinian communities cannot be prevented, because they lack the good intentions that seemingly only Jewish settlers have.

By Sharona Weiss

An interim injunction that prevented the demolition and eviction of the Jahalin Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar ends on September 12. Israel will then face the weighty choice of whether to reveal the true colors of its decades-long occupation, and whether to forcibly transfer an entire community, simply for the inconvenience it poses to the settlement project.

Khan al-Ahmar is located between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, an area known as E1. For decades, Israel has tried to drive Palestinians out of this area, as part of a broader strategy to form a bloc of settlements that will divide the West Bank, thereby preventing the territorial contiguity necessary for a two-state solution.

Israel’s High Court of Justice approved the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar on September 5, a ruling that could have significant ramifications for an estimated 13,000 Palestinian structures facing demolition orders in the occupied West Bank.

Just a week earlier, the Jerusalem District Court ruled to legalize Mitzpe Kramim, an unauthorized Israeli outpost in the West Bank. In an unprecedented legal tactic, the Jerusalem court ruled that the Mitzpe Kramim settlers erected their community “in good faith,” and granted them rights to the property.

Both Mitzpe Kramim and Khan al-Ahmar were built without the necessary permits – Mitzpe Kramim on privately owned Palestinian land, Khan al-Ahmar on so-called state (public) land that was confiscated from Palestinian landowners from Anata in 1975 (the question as to whether the government completed the plot’s registration as state land came up in proceedings). Both communities requested that their civilian structures be legalized retroactively.

The difference? Apparently, only one community has the quality of good faith: decent, well-behaved Israeli settlers who gained rights to property that they seized illegally, all because their intentions were assumed innocent. This legal argument could pave the way for the legalization of many other unauthorized outposts. But how could one consider these settlers as thieves or trespassers, when they carry such goodness in their hearts?

Bedouins, or other Palestinians, on the other hand? Their intentions are never presumed innocent. Even according to Israel’s highest court, their hearts do not hold enough virtue to allow the legalization of their schools and homes. Instead, Israel gave...

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Trump's endgame in Palestine

Washington defunding the Palestinian refugee agency is not merely an attack on UNRWA, as serious as that may be. It is an attempt to destroy the Palestinian national movement.

By Mitchell Plitnick

Late last month, the State Department announced it would end all funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency that provides many essential services for Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. The reaction to this decision has been mostly negative.

Some have objected to the Trump administration’s decision because it runs counter to U.S. interests. Some have objected because it jeopardizes Israel’s security. Others talk about the staggering humanitarian consequences for the millions of refugees UNRWA serves.

These are all important concerns. But none of them hits the mark of what the Trump administration—apparently at the urging of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, without any consultation with anyone else in the Israeli government or defense establishment—is doing. This is not merely an attack on UNRWA, as serious as that may be. This is an attempt to destroy the Palestinian national movement.

As I have long argued, the biggest single issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1948 is not Jerusalem, settlements, borders, or even security. It is the Palestinian right of return. It is the one issue Israel would not discuss in talks and Israelis, with very few exceptions mostly on the far left, will not even consider compromising on.

It is also the very basis of the Palestinian national movement since 1948. For seven decades, the Palestinian right of return has been the irresistible force meeting the immovable object of Israeli nationalism. It has been the time bomb that would explode if talks on all those other issues were ever successful.

The right of return continued to smolder on its long fuse while diplomats from Israel, the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere sat comfortably with their belief that the Palestinians would simply accept their permanent exile. That this would be an Israeli position is acceptable, in the sense that one side or the other can come to the table with their own view of what is right and just. But as a pre-determined outcome it was never going to work, for the simple reason that a diktat on an issue of such importance would naturally inflame tensions, not resolve them.

Trump has not reversed policy, as some have said. Rather,...

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Conscientious objector to mark Jewish new year in prison

Hilel Garmi is in prison for the third time, for refusing to serve in the Israeli military. His decision was partly inspired by one of the lead organizers of the Great Return March in Gaza.

By +972 Magazine Staff

Conscientious objector Hilel Garmi was sentenced to 10 days in prison on Monday, after he again refused to serve in the Israel Defense Forces, in protest of Israel’s policies in the occupied territories. This is Garmi’s third detention, at the end of which he would have served 37 days in military prison.

Garmi, 18, from Kibbutz Yodfat in northern Israel, was first imprisoned in late July, after military police forces arrived at his home to arrest him. “I know I will be proud of this decision for the rest of my life, knowing that in the moment of truth, I was loyal to my beliefs, and did the only thing that seems moral to me. The way I see it, I chose to be on the right side of history,” said Garmi, upon his entry to prison.

In his declaration of refusal, Garmi explained that he was inspired by Ahmed Abu Artema, one of the lead organizers of the nonviolent Great Return March protests on the Gaza border. “I was impressed to find people who prefer to deal with the situation between the Jordan River and the sea without resorting to violence,” wrote Garmi. “I, too, believe in civil disobedience – in applying nonviolent pressure to highlight a government’s lack of morality.”

Garmi further explained: “I know that almost every nation needs a military to protect it, but militaries cannot justify any mission with security considerations, and we need to determine red lines that if crossed, the military loses our support. I think that after over 50 years of occupation, for me, the red lines have certainly been crossed. Although the decision to refuse the draft was personal at first, over the past six months I have decided to make my refusal public. I decided to do so because I believe that civil disobedience can make a change and impact the sense of justice held by those with privilege between the Jordan River and the sea. Civil disobedience is usually used when the government has lost its legitimate source of authority, and I think that after 50 years of undemocratic rule, the government between...

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Politicizing Palestinian refugees won't make them go away

By defunding UNRWA and attempting to define Palestinian refugees out of existence, the Trump administration is only shooting the messenger. UNRWA is a product, not the source, of the Palestinian refugee problem.

By Zena Agha

Last Friday, the Trump administration announced that the United States would no longer fund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) – the U.N. body which delivers vital aid to some 5.3 million Palestinian refugees across the Arab world. The cut, which amounts to $300 million, constitutes about 30 percent of the organization’s total yearly budget.

Describing UNRWA as an “irredeemably flawed operation”, the Trump administration has yet again belied its animosity against the refugee agency, whose mission is to provide relief for Palestinians expelled from their homes during the Nakba in 1947-8. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and special advisor on the Middle East, wrote in a leaked email to his father-in-law: “Sometimes you have to strategically risk breaking things in order to get there.” Listening to Kushner and others, one would be forgiven in thinking that Palestinians relish being dependent on aid, as though the 53 percent of Gaza’s population living under a decade-long siege prefer to exist below the poverty line. It is a vengeful act.

As with any big organization, UNRWA is not without criticism, and the relationship between UNRWA and the Palestinians has proven to be an uneasy but necessary one. In the 69 years since its inception, UNRWA has all but become a welfare government-in-exile, particularly in the years prior to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) assumption of leadership in the mid-1960s. But today it operates as a robust, versatile, and diverse body which provides much needed food, healthcare, education, and other services to a vulnerable population scattered across the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

In an Orwellian twist, the United States gives an unfettered, unearmarked $3.3 billion annual contribution to Israel ­– the world’s eighth most powerful nation – on the one hand, while it works to dismantle the organization which sustains millions of people that Israel made destitute, on the other.

As far as the U.S. and Israel are concerned, UNRWA’s crime is to perpetuate the refugee question and validate the Palestinian right to return by granting refugee status to the descendants of those who were...

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Trump cannot simply erase the Palestinian right of return

The American president’s decision to defund the Palestinian refugee agency is an attempt to accomplish something Israeli leaders have been trying for the better part of a century.

By James Zogby

First, the Trump Administration “took Jerusalem off the table.” Now, in an especially dangerous display of recklessness, it has announced its intention to do the same for the Palestinian “right of return.”

The first indication that this was in the works came with the administration’s announcement that it would be suspending all U.S. assistance to UNWRA, the UN agency created to address the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians who were forced to flee from their homes in 1948 and again in 1967. More recently, the administration supported by some Republican members of Congress, launched an effort to limit “refugee” status to only those Palestinians who were victims of the 1948 expulsions.

Because Israel has always rejected its culpability for the Palestinian refugee crisis and has consistently refused to acknowledge that those who fled in 1948 had any rights to repatriation, the U.S. intent to take the refugee issue “off the table” was described by one Israeli writer as a “dream come true.” And a minister in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government celebrated the U.S. move as “finally speaking the truth to the Arab lie that has been marketed all over the world for decades […] There is no reason for [Palestinians] to dream of returning.”

Israel claims that it has no responsibility for Palestinian refugees. As is their practice, the Israelis have attempted to exonerate themselves by creating “alternate facts” — that Palestinians voluntarily left their homes or that they were ordered to leave by advancing Arab armies. However, an examination of the historical record establishes that the Zionist political leadership executed a deliberate plan to “cleanse” entire areas of their Arab inhabitants in order to create a state that would be larger than what was provided by the UN partition, with fewer Arabs.

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They are indicted by their own words:

Yigal Allon (leader of the Palmach – the official Zionist military):

David Ben Gurion (speaking of “Plan D,” the operation designed to expand the size of the “Jewish State” and to reduce the number of Arabs within it):

Yigal Allon:

Menachem Begin (leader of the Irgun):

In the aftermath of the war, during which thousands of Palestinians were murdered...

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Why are no Israeli officials refusing to meet with Duterte?

Israel has reached a moral low point as it hosts the Philippines’ mass-murdering president and sells arms to his genocidal regime.

By Eitay Mack

Months after Israel marked 70 years since its founding, the country is staging one of its lowest points yet. Israel is holding its citizens and institutions in contempt this week, by groveling to one of the craziest and most dangerous leaders in the world.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte – who has murdered an estimated 12,000 people since he was elected president in June 2016, expressed support for rape, ordered soldiers to shoot female communist rebels in the vagina, threatened to bomb indigenous schools, and boasted about killing people – is being ceremoniously received on an official state visit.

Duterte arrived in Israel on Sunday with a large delegation of army and police officers to sign arms deals and coordinate training with Israeli security forces. Such deals will presumably enable him to continue his slaughter campaign in the Philippines — part of his “war on drugs” — and earn him legitimacy from the only Western country willing to host him, which just happens to be the United States’ closest ally. As far as Duterte is concerned, dinner at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence paves the way for dinner at the White House.

The Israeli Defense Ministry, which systematically lies to the public, the media, and the courts about security-related exports, can be expected to hide the truth about the arms deals that are to be signed during Duterte’s visit. Israeli citizens who want to know what is happening in their name in the Philippines will probably have better luck on the Facebook pages of Philippine government and law enforcement officials who brag of the relationship.

In the past two years, Duterete’s security forces have purchased significant amounts of Tavor assault rifles, Galil and Gilboa rifles, Negev machine guns, and Masada pistols. The firearms purchases are set to assist Duterte in keeping his murderous promises. During his presidential campaign, he pledged to kill 100,000 people during his first six months in office, and in October 2016, he said people can expect 20,000 to 30,000 more casualties.

“Yad Vashem,” Israel’s Holocaust memorial center, hosted Duterte on Monday, even though he is a mass murderer who has threatened to implement martial law, and...

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Several wounded as Israel demolishes four homes in Walajeh

The village, part of which was annexed to East Jerusalem but left on the West Bank side of the separation barrier, has over 50 pending demolition orders. Israel has not approved any building permits since 1967.

By Aviv Tatarsky

Israeli bulldozers demolished four homes in the Palestinian village of Walajeh early Monday morning. The homes are on the West Bank side of Israel’s separation barrier, but technically inside the boundaries of the Jerusalem municipality. Israeli forces wounded at least seven Palestinian residents resisting the demolitions.

Israel annexed the northern part of Walajeh, which has around 100 homes, to Jerusalem in 1967. Because the municipality has refused to issue a master plan for the village, every home that has been built since 1967 was built without a permit. A master plan prepared by the residents themselves was rejected by a municipal committee, which claimed that the village is a “green area,” a designation akin to a national park.

Jerusalem has never provided Walajeh with any services, and the separation barrier completely cuts the village off from Jerusalem. However, since 2016, the same planning committee that rejected the village’s proposed master plan began issuing demolition orders for homes in the village.

Along with the four homes that were demolished on Monday, 13 homes total have been demolished in recent years and another 55 homes have outstanding demolition orders. Most of these orders are being fought in court, and Monday’s demolitions are a result of some of those cases recently being rejected.

On Monday morning, after Israeli forces demolished two of the homes in Walajeh, dozens of residents gathered inside, on the roof of, and around a third home in hopes of stopping its demolition. After a couple of hours, during which authorities demolished a fourth home, Israeli Border Police officers fired tear gas into the crowd of people trying to stop the demolition of the final home, and clashes, including some stone throwing, broke out.

At least seven Palestinians were wounded, including one who was taken away unconscious after a police officer hit him in the head with the barrel of his rifle. Another Palestinian man was wounded by a rubber-coated bullet, and one Israeli was lightly wounded.

Aviv Tatarsky is a researcher with Ir Amim. A version of this article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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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

“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.

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