Tuesday, October 05, 2021

  • Tuesday, October 05, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
A pernicious Arab lie has been published, slandering an Israeli Jewish hero.

From Iraq's Annabaa:
On September 19, 2021, Mr. Ghassan Al-Attiyah published an exciting article on his Facebook page, under the title “Death of the Farhud Organizer.” The post was topped by a phrase for Al-Attiyah saying, “Thank you to those who provided me with this information.” And it was stated in it, that Shlomo Hillel, an Iraqi Jew, who died recently at the age of 97, was a resident of Baghdad and immigrated to Israel and later returned in disguise to carry out a very dirty mission that targeted the security of Iraqi Jewish citizens, by inciting mobs and planting bombs in synagogues to intimidate the people and push them to immigrate to Israel. Unfortunately, these actions led to casualties and entered the history of contemporary Iraq in the name of “the Jews’ Farhud”!

Al-Attiyah quotes a confession by Shlomo Hillel in his book “Operation Babel” and he says frankly that the Iraqis are innocent of this issue and that it was orchestrated by him with an entire team, including the Israeli Defense Minister in the June 1967 war, Moshe Dayan...The publication also stated that Jewish Iraqi writers, including the poet Ibrahim Obadiah and Professor Shmuel Moreh-Sami, confess in books and diaries the innocence of Iraqis from the Farhud events.

Shlomo Hillel did die this year.  That is the only accurate sentence in this article.

Hillel was a key figure in the airlift of 120,000 Jews from Iraq in Operation Ezra and Nehemiah. He did write a book about it, but he certainly never said that he was responsible for the (1941) Farhud or the bombings of Jewish areas of Baghdad in 1950-51.

No Jew was responsible. The idea that Jews were involved is an Iraqi myth (although many Iraqi Jews, disillusioned after they reached Israel and suffered discrimination, believed the myth, which helped spread it. )

Here is a good debunking of that slander:

The Jewish exodus from Iraq was influenced by, and coincided with, a wave of bombings which took place between April 1950 and June 1951. These bombings damaged both Jewish and American targets, produced a number of serious injuries, and caused the deaths of six Iraqi Jews.

 According to a number of anti-Zionist authors, the bombings were perpetrated by Zionist agents in order to cause fear amongst the Jews, and so promote their exodus to Israel (Black Panthers 1975:128-132; Hirst 1977:155-164; Eveland 1980:47-49; Wolfsohn 1980:186-201; Shapiro 1984:37-38; Avnery 1986:135-136; Shiblak 1986:119-127; Shohat 1988:12; Giladi 1993; Cohen 1998:111).

Some evidence for this argument is provided by the fact that the Iraqi authorities charged three members of the Zionist underground with perpetrating the explosions. Two Jews were subsequently found guilty and executed, whilst a third was sentenced to a lengthy jail term (Gat 1997:173-175).

The historian Moshe Gat argues convincingly (in my opinion) that there was little direct connection between the bombings and exodus. He demonstrates that the frantic and massive Jewish registration for denaturalization and departure was driven by knowledge that the denaturalization law was due to expire in March 1951.

He also notes the influence of further pressures including the property-freezing law, and continued anti-Jewish disturbances which raised the fear of large-scale pogroms. In addition, it is highly unlikely the Israelis would have taken such measures to accelerate the Jewish evacuation given that they were already struggling to cope with the existing level of Jewish immigration (Gat 1987:395; Gat 1997:182-187; also Meir-Galitzenstein 1988:235).

Gat also raises serious doubts about the guilt of the alleged Jewish bomb throwers. Firstly, a Christian officer in the Iraqi army known for his anti-Jewish views, was arrested, but apparently not charged, with the offences. A number of explosive devices similar to those used in the attack on the Jewish synagogue were found in his home. In addition, there was a long history of anti-Jewish bomb-throwing incidents in Iraq.

Secondly, the prosecution was not able to produce even one eyewitness who had seen the bombs thrown. Thirdly, the Jewish defendant Shalom Salah indicated in court that he had been severely tortured in order to procure a confession (Gat 1997:180-181 & 187-188; Gat 2000:11-13; also Hillel 1987:277-282; Meron 1995:51).

It therefore remains an open question as to who was responsible for the bombings, although Gat suggests that the most likely perpetrators were members of the anti-Jewish Istiqlal Party (Gat 1997:187; Gat 2000:20). 
There is an Iraqi political analyst named Ghassan al-Attiyah but it seems highly unlikely that he would have said this. I could not find the Facebook post mentioned, but if this was only published on Facebook then the Ghassan Attiyah who published it is a nobody. 

Yet the lie is published as truth. 








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