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The Jews of Iraq -- How the Mossad Caused the Flight of Many Jewish Iraqis

by Naeim Giladi
I write this article
for the same reason I wrote my book:
to tell the American people,
and especially American Jews,
that Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate
willingly to Israel; that, to force them to leave,
Jews killed Jews; and that,
to buy time to confiscate ever more Arab lands,
Jews on numerous occasions
rejected genuine peace initiatives
from their Arab neighbors.
I write about what the first prime minister of Israel
called "cruel Zionism."
I write about it because I was part of it.

by Naeim Giladi

The Link interviewed Naeim Giladi, a Jew from Iraq, for three hours
on March 16, 1998, two days prior to his 69th birthday. For nearly
two other delightful hours, we were treated to a multi-course Arabic
meal prepared by his wife Rachael, who is also Iraqi. "It's our Arab
culture," he said proudly.

In our previous Link, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe looked at the
hundreds of thousands of indigenous Palestinians whose lives were
uprooted to make room for foreigners who would come to populate
confiscated land. Most were Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe.
But over half a million other Jews came from Islamic lands. Zionist
propagandists claim that Israel "rescued" these Jews from their
anti-Jewish, Muslim neighbors. One of those "rescued" Jews-Naeim
Giladi-knows otherwise.

In his book, Ben Gurion's Scandals: How the Haganah & the
Mossad Eliminated Jews, Giladi discusses the crimes committed by
Zionists in their frenzy to import raw Jewish labor. Newly-vacated
farmlands had to be plowed to provide food for the immigrants and
the military ranks had to be filled with conscripts to defend the
stolen lands. Mr. Giladi couldn't get his book published in Israel,
and even in the U.S. he discovered he could do so only if he used
his own money.

The Giladis, now U.S. citizens, live in New York City. By choice,
they no longer hold Israeli citizenship. "I am Iraqi," he told us, "born
in Iraq, my culture still Iraqi Arabic, my religion Jewish, my
citizenship American."

John F. Mahoney
Executive Director,
Americans for Middle East Understanding (AMEU)

Of course I thought I knew it all back then. I was young, idealistic,
and more than willing to put my life at risk for my convictions. It was
1947 and I wasn't quite 18 when the Iraqi authorities caught me for
smuggling young Iraqi Jews like myself out of Iraq, into Iran, and
then on to the Promised Land of the soon-to-be established Israel.

I was an Iraqi Jew in the Zionist underground. My Iraqi jailers did
everything they could to extract the names of my co-conspirators.
Fifty years later, pain still throbs in my right toe-a reminder of the
day my captors used pliers to remove my toenails. On another
occasion, they hauled me to the flat roof of the prison, stripped me
bare on a frigid January day, then threw a bucket of cold water over
me. I was left there, chained to the railing, for hours. But I never
once considered giving them the information they wanted. I was a
true believer.

My preoccupation during what I refer to as my "two years in hell"
was with survival and escape. I had no interest then in the broad
sweep of Jewish history in Iraq even though my family had been part
of it right from the beginning. We were originally Haroons, a large
and important family of the "Babylonian Diaspora." My ancestors
had settled in Iraq more than 2,600 years ago-600 years before
Christianity, and 1,200 years before Islam. I am descended from
Jews who built the tomb of Yehezkel, a Jewish prophet of
pre-biblical times. My town, where I was born in 1929, is Hillah,
not far from the ancient site of Babylon.

The original Jews found Babylon, with its nourishing Tigris and
Euphrates rivers, to be truly a land of milk, honey, abundance-and
opportunity. Although Jews, like other minorities in what became
Iraq, experienced periods of oppression and discrimination
depending on the rulers of the period, their general trajectory over
two and one-half millennia was upward. Under the late Ottoman
rule, for example, Jewish social and religious institutions, schools,
and medical facilities flourished without outside interference, and
Jews were prominent in government and business.

As I sat there in my cell, unaware that a death sentence soon would
be handed down against me, I could not have recounted any
personal grievances that my family members would have lodged
against the government or the Muslim majority. Our family had been
treated well and had prospered, first as farmers with some 50,000
acres devoted to rice, dates and Arab horses. Then, with the
Ottomans, we bought and purified gold that was shipped to Istanbul
and turned into coinage. The Turks were responsible in fact for
changing our name to reflect our occupation-we became Khalaschi,
meaning "Makers of Pure."

I did not volunteer the information to my father that I had joined the
Zionist underground. He found out several months before I was
arrested when he saw me writing Hebrew and using words and
expressions unfamiliar to him. He was even more surprised to learn
that, yes, I had decided I would soon move to Israel myself. He was
scornful. "You'll come back with your tail between your legs," he

About 125,000 Jews left Iraq
for Israel in the late 1940s and
into 1952, most because they
had been lied to and put into a
panic by what I came to learn
were Zionist bombs. But my
mother and father were among
the 6,000 who did not go to
Israel. Although physically I
never did return to Iraq-that
bridge had been burned in any
event-my heart has made the
journey there many, many times.
My father had it right.
About 125,000
Jews left Iraq for
Israel in the late
1940s and into
1952, most
because they had
been lied to and
put into a panic by
what I came to
learn were Zionist

I was imprisoned at the military camp of Abu-Greib, about 7 miles
from Baghdad. When the military court handed down my sentence
of death by hanging, I had nothing to lose by attempting the escape I
had been planning for many months.

It was a strange recipe for an escape: a dab of butter, an orange
peel, and some army clothing that I had asked a friend to buy for me
at a flea market. I deliberately ate as much bread as I could to put
on fat in anticipation of the day I became 18, when they could
formally charge me with a crime and attach the 50-pound ball and
chain that was standard prisoner issue.

Later, after my leg had been shackled, I went on a starvation diet
that often left me weak-kneed. The pat of butter was to lubricate my
leg in preparation for extricating it from the metal band. The orange
peel I surreptitiously stuck into the lock on the night of my planned
escape, having studied how it could be placed in such a way as to
keep the lock from closing.

As the jailers turned to go after locking up, I put on the old army
issue that was indistinguishable from what they were wearing-a long,
green coat and a stocking cap that I pulled down over much of my
face (it was winter). Then I just quietly opened the door and joined
the departing group of soldiers as they strode down the hall and
outside, and I offered a "good night" to the shift guard as I left. A
friend with a car was waiting to speed me away.

Naeim Giladi in 1947

Later I made my way to the new state of Israel, arriving in May,
1950. My passport had my name in Arabic and English, but the
English couldn't capture the "kh" sound, so it was rendered simply
as Klaski. At the border, the immigration people applied the English
version, which had an Eastern European, Ashkenazi ring to it. In one
way, this "mistake" was my key to discovering very soon just how
the Israeli caste system worked.

They asked me where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. I
was the son of a farmer; I knew all the problems of the farm, so I
volunteered to go to Dafnah, a farming kibbutz in the high Galilee. I
only lasted a few weeks. The new immigrants were given the worst
of everything. The food was the same, but that was the only thing
that everyone had in common. For the immigrants, bad cigarettes,
even bad toothpaste. Everything. I left.

Then, through the Jewish Agency, I was advised to go to al-Majdal
(later renamed Ashkelon), an Arab town about 9 miles from Gaza,
very close to the Mediterranean. The Israeli government planned to
turn it into a farmers' city, so my farm background would be an
asset there.

When I reported to the Labor Office in al-Majdal, they saw that I
could read and write Arabic and Hebrew and they said that I could
find a good-paying job with the Military Governor's office. The
Arabs were under the authority of these Israeli Military Governors.
A clerk handed me a bunch of forms in Arabic and Hebrew. Now it
dawned on me. Before Israel could establish its farmers' city, it had
to rid al-Majdal of its indigenous Palestinians. The forms were
petitions to the United Nations Inspectors asking for transfer out of
Israel to Gaza, which was under Egyptian control.

I read over the petition. In signing, the Palestinian would be saying
that he was of sound mind and body and was making the request for
transfer free of pressure or duress. Of course, there was no way
that they would leave without being pressured to do so. These
families had been there hundreds of years, as farmers, primitive
artisans, weavers. The Military Governor prohibited them from
pursuing their livelihoods, just penned them up until they lost hope of
resuming their normal lives. That's when they signed to leave.

I was there and heard their grief. "Our hearts are in pain when we
look at the orange trees that we planted with our own hands. Please
let us go, let us give water to those trees. God will not be pleased
with us if we leave His trees untended." I asked the Military
Governor to give them relief, but he said, "No, we want them to

I could no longer be part of this oppression and I left. Those
Palestinians who didn't sign up for transfers were taken by force-just
put in trucks and dumped in Gaza. About four thousand people
were driven from al-Majdal in one way or another. The few who
remained were collaborators with the Israeli authorities.

Subsequently, I wrote letters trying to get a government job
elsewhere and I got many immediate responses asking me to come
for an interview. Then they would discover that my face didn't match
my Polish/Ashkenazi name. They would ask if I spoke Yiddish or
Polish, and when I said I didn't, they would ask where I came by a
Polish name. Desperate for a good job, I would usually say that I
thought my great-grandfather was from Poland. I was advised time
and again that "we'll give you a call."

Eventually, three to four years after coming to Israel, I changed my
name to Giladi, which is close to the code name, Gilad, that I had in
the Zionist underground. Klaski wasn't doing me any good anyway,
and my Eastern friends were always chiding me about the name they
knew didn't go with my origins as an Iraqi Jew.

I was disillusioned at what I found in the Promised Land,
disillusioned personally, disillusioned at the institutionalized racism,
disillusioned at what I was beginning to learn about Zionism's
cruelties. The principal interest Israel had in Jews from Islamic
countries was as a supply of cheap labor, especially for the farm
work that was beneath the urbanized Eastern European Jews. Ben
Gurion needed the "Oriental" Jews to farm the thousands of acres of
land left by Palestinians who were driven out by Israeli forces in

And I began to find out
about the barbaric methods
used to rid the fledgling state
of as many Palestinians as
possible. The world recoils
today at the thought of
bacteriological warfare, but
Israel was probably the first
to actually use it in the
Middle East. In the 1948
war, Jewish forces would
empty Arab villages of their
populations, often by threats,
sometimes by just gunning
down a half-dozen unarmed
Arabs as examples to the
rest. To make sure the Arabs
couldn't return to make a
fresh life for themselves in
these villages, the Israelis put
typhus and dysentery
bacteria into the water wells.

Uri Mileshtin, an official
historian for the Israeli
Defense Force, has written
and spoken about the use of
bacteriological agents[1].
According to Mileshtin,
Moshe Dayan, a division
commander at the time, gave
orders in 1948 to remove
Arabs from their villages,
bulldoze their homes, and
render water wells unusable
with typhus and dysentery


The Haganah put
typhus bacteria into
the water going to
Acre, the people got
sick, and the Jewish
forces occupied
Acre. This worked
so well that they
sent a Haganah
division dressed as
Arabs into Gaza,
where there were
Egyptian forces,
and the Egyptians
caught them putting
two cans of
bacteria, typhus and
dysentery, into the
water supply in
wanton disregard of
the civilian

Acre was so situated that it could practically defend itself with one
big gun, so the Haganah put bacteria into the spring that fed the
town. The spring was called Capri and it ran from the north near a
kibbutz. The Haganah put typhus bacteria into the water going to
Acre, the people got sick, and the Jewish forces occupied Acre.
This worked so well that they sent a Haganah division dressed as
Arabs into Gaza, where there were Egyptian forces, and the
Egyptians caught them putting two cans of bacteria, typhus and
dysentery, into the water supply in wanton disregard of the civilian
population. "In war, there is no sentiment," one of the captured
Haganah men was quoted as saying.

My activism in Israel began shortly after I received a letter from the
Socialist/Zionist Party asking me to help with their Arabic
newspaper. When I showed up at their offices at Central House in
Tel Aviv, I asked around to see just where I should report. I
showed the letter to a couple of people there and, without even
looking at it, they would motion me away with the words, "Room
No. 8." When I saw that they weren't even reading the letter, I
inquired of several others. But the response was the same, "Room
No. 8," with not a glance at the paper I put in front of them.

So I went to Room 8 and saw that it was the Department of Jews
from Islamic Countries. I was disgusted and angry. Either I am a
member of the party or I'm not. Do I have a different ideology or
different politics because I am an Arab Jew? It's segregation, I
thought, just like a Negroes' Department. I turned around and
walked out. That was the start of my open protests. That same year
I organized a demonstration in Ashkelon against Ben Gurion's racist
policies and 10,000 people turned out.

There wasn't much opportunity for those of us who were second
class citizens to do much about it when Israel was on a war footing
with outside enemies. After the 1967 war, I was in the Army myself
and served in the Sinai when there was continued fighting along the
Suez Canal. But the cease-fire with Egypt in 1970 gave us our
opening. We took to the streets and organized politically to demand
equal rights. If it's our country, if we were expected to risk our lives
in a border war, then we expected equal treatment.

We mounted the struggle so tenaciously and received so much
publicity that the Israeli government tried to discredit our movement
by calling us "Israel's Black Panthers." They were thinking in racist
terms, really, in assuming the Israeli public would reject an
organization whose ideology was being compared to that of radical
blacks in the United States. But we saw that what we were doing
was no different than what blacks in the United States were fighting
against-segregation, discrimination, unequal treatment. Rather than
reject the label, we adopted it proudly. I had posters of Martin
Luther King, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and other civil rights
activists plastered all over my office.

With the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the Israeli-condoned Sabra
and Shatilla massacres, I had had enough of Israel. I became a
United States citizen and made certain to revoke my Israeli
citizenship. I could never have written and published my book in
Israel, not with the censorship they would impose.

Even in America, I had great difficulty finding a publisher because
many are subject to pressures of one kind or another from Israel
and its friends. I ended up paying $60,000 from my own pocket to
publish Ben Gurion's Scandals: How the Haganah & the Mossad
Eliminated Jews, virtually the entire proceeds from having sold my
house in Israel.

I still was afraid that the printer would back out or that legal
proceedings would be initiated to stop its publication, like the Israeli
government did in an attempt to prevent former Mossad case officer
Victor Ostrovsky from publishing his first book[2]. Ben Gurion's
Scandals had to be translated into English from two languages. I
wrote in Hebrew when I was in Israel and hoped to publish the
book there, and I wrote in Arabic when I was completing the book
after coming to the U.S. But I was so worried that something would
stop publication that I told the printer not to wait for the translations
to be thoroughly checked and proofread. Now I realize that the
publicity of a lawsuit would just have created a controversial interest
in the book.

I am using bank vault storage for the valuable documents that back
up what I have written. These documents, including some that I
illegally copied from the archives at Yad Vashem, confirm what I
saw myself, what I was told by other witnesses, and what reputable
historians and others have written concerning the Zionist bombings
in Iraq, Arab peace overtures that were rebuffed, and incidents of
violence and death inflicted by Jews on Jews in the cause of creating


If, as I have said, my family in Iraq was not persecuted personally
and I knew no deprivation as a member of the Jewish minority, what
led me to the steps of the gallows as a member of the Zionist
underground? To answer that question, it is necessary to establish
the context of the massacre that occurred in Baghdad on June 1,
1941, when several hundred Iraqi Jews were killed in riots involving
junior officers of the Iraqi army. I was 12 years of age and many of
those killed were my friends. I was angry, and very confused.

What I didn't know at the time was that the riots most likely were
stirred up by the British, in collusion with a pro-British Iraqi

With the breakup of the Ottoman Empire following WW I, Iraq
came under British "tutelage." Amir Faisal, son of Sharif Hussein
who had led the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman sultan, was
brought in from Mecca by the British to become King of Iraq in
1921. Many Jews were appointed to key administrative posts,
including that of economics minister. Britain retained final authority
over domestic and external affairs.

Britain's pro-Zionist attitude in Palestine, however, triggered a
growing anti-Zionist backlash in Iraq, as it did in all Arab countries.
Writing at the end of 1934, Sir Francis Humphreys, Britain's
Ambassador in Baghdad, noted that, while before WW I Iraqi Jews
had enjoyed a more favorable position than any other minority in the
country, since then "Zionism has sown dissension between Jews and
Arabs, and a bitterness has grown up between the two peoples
which did not previously exist."[3]

King Faisal died in 1933. He was succeeded by his son Ghazi, who
died in a motor car accident in 1939. The crown then passed to
Ghazi's 4-year-old son, Faisal II, whose uncle, Abd al-Ilah, was
named regent. Abd al-Ilah selected Nouri el-Said as prime minister.
El-Said supported the British and, as hatred of the British grew, he
was forced from office in March 1940 by four senior army officers
who advocated Iraq's independence from Britain. Calling
themselves the Golden Square, the officers compelled the regent to
name as prime minister Rashid Ali al-Kilani, leader of the National
Brotherhood party.

The time was 1940 and Britain was reeling from a strong German
offensive. Al-Kilani and the Golden Square saw this as their
opportunity to rid themselves of the British once and for all.
Cautiously they began to negotiate for German support, which led
the pro-British regent Abd al-Ilah to dismiss al-Kilani in January
1941. By April, however, the Golden Square officers had reinstated
the prime minister.

This provoked the British to send a military force into Basra on
April 12, 1941. Basra, Iraq's second largest city, had a Jewish
population of 30,000. Most of these Jews made their livings from
import/export, money changing, retailing, as workers in the airports,
railways, and ports, or as senior government employees.

On the same day, April 12, supporters of the pro-British regent
notified the Jewish leaders that the regent wanted to meet with them.
As was their custom, the leaders brought flowers for the regent.
Contrary to custom, however, the cars that drove them to the
meeting place dropped them off at the site where the British soldiers
were concentrated.

Photographs of the Jews appeared in the following day's
newspapers with the banner "Basra Jews Receive British Troops
with Flowers." That same day, April 13, groups of angry Arab
youths set about to take revenge against the Jews. Several Muslim
notables in Basra heard of the plan and calmed things down. Later,
it was learned that the regent was not in Basra at all and that the
matter was a provocation by his pro-British supporters to bring
about an ethnic war in order to give the British army a pretext to

The British continued to land more forces in and around Basra. On
May 7, 1941, their Gurkha unit, composed of Indian soldiers from
that ethnic group, occupied Basra's el-Oshar quarter, a
neighborhood with a large Jewish population. The soldiers, led by
British officers, began looting. Many shops in the commercial district
were plundered. Private homes were broken into. Cases of
attempted rape were reported. Local residents, Jews and Muslims,
responded with pistols and old rifles, but their bullets were no match
for the soldiers' Tommy Guns.

Afterwards, it was learned that the soldiers acted with the
acquiescence, if not the blessing, of their British commanders. (It
should be remembered that the Indian soldiers, especially those of
the Gurkha unit, were known for their discipline, and it is highly
unlikely they would have acted so riotously without orders.) The
British goal clearly was to create chaos and to blacken the image of
the pro-nationalist regime in Baghdad, thereby giving the British
forces reason to proceed to the capital and to overthrow the
al-Kilani government.

Baghdad fell on May 30. Al-Kilani fled to Iran, along with the
Golden Square officers. Radio stations run by the British reported
that Regent Abd al-Ilah would be returning to the city and that
thousands of Jews and others were planning to welcome him. What
inflamed young Iraqis against the Jews most, however, was the
radio announcer Yunas Bahri on the German station "Berlin," who
reported in Arabic that Jews from Palestine were fighting alongside
the British against Iraqi soldiers near the city of Faluja. The report
was false.

On Sunday, June 1, unarmed fighting broke out in Baghdad
between Jews who were still celebrating their Shabuoth holiday and
young Iraqis who thought the Jews were celebrating the return of the
pro-British regent. That evening, a group of Iraqis stopped a bus,
removed the Jewish passengers, murdered one and fatally wounded
a second.

About 8:30 the following morning, some 30 individuals in military
and police uniforms opened fire along el-Amin street, a small
downtown street whose jewelry, tailor and grocery shops were
Jewish-owned. By 11 a.m., mobs of Iraqis with knives,
switchblades and clubs were attacking Jewish homes in the area.

The riots continued throughout Monday, June 2. During this time,
many Muslims rose to defend their Jewish neighbors, while some
Jews successfully defended themselves. There were 124 killed and
400 injured, according to a report written by a Jewish Agency
messenger who was in Iraq at the time. Other estimates, possibly
less reliable, put the death toll higher, as many as 500, with from
650 to 2,000 injured. From 500 to 1,300 stores and more than
1,000 homes and apartments were looted.

Who was behind the rioting in the Jewish quarter? Yosef Meir, one
of the most prominent activists in the Zionist underground movement
in Iraq, known then as Yehoshafat, claims it was the British. Meir,
who now works for the Israeli Defense Ministry, argues that, in
order to make it appear that the regent was returning as the savior
who would reestablish law and order, the British stirred up the riots
against the most vulnerable and visible segment in the city, the Jews.
And, not surprisingly, the riots ended as soon as the regent's loyal
soldiers entered the capital.[4]

My own investigations as a journalist lead me to believe Meir is
correct. Furthermore, I think his claims should be seen as based on
documents in the archives of the Israeli Defense Ministry, the agency
that published his book. Yet, even before his book came out, I had
independent confirmation from a man I met in Iran in the late

His name was Michael Timosian, an Iraqi Armenian. When I met
him he was working as a male nurse at the Anglo-Iranian Oil
Company in Abadan in the south of Iran. On June 2, 1941,
however, he was working at the Baghdad hospital where many of
the riot victims were brought. Most of these victims were Jews.

Timosian said he was particularly interested in two patients whose
conduct did not follow local custom. One had been hit by a bullet in
his shoulder, the other by a bullet in his right knee. After the doctor
removed the bullets, the staff tried to change their blood-soaked
cloths. But the two men fought off their efforts, pretending to be
speechless, although tests showed they could hear. To pacify them,
the doctor injected them with anesthetics and, as they were sleeping,
Timosian changed their cloths. He discovered that one of them had
around his neck an identification tag of the type used by British
troops, while the other had tattoos with Indian script on his right arm
along with the familiar sword of the Gurkha.

The next day when Timosian showed up for work, he was told that
a British officer, his sergeant and two Indian Gurkha soldiers had
come to the hospital early that morning. Staff members overheard
the Gurkha soldiers talking with the wounded patients, who were
not as dumb as they had pretended. The patients saluted the visitors,
covered themselves with sheets and, without signing the required
release forms, left the hospital with their visitors.

Today there is no doubt in my mind that the anti-Jewish riots of
1941 were orchestrated by the British for geopolitical ends. David
Kimche is certainly a man who was in a position to know the truth,
and he has spoken publicly about British culpability. Kimche had
been with British Intelligence during WW II and with the Mossad
after the war. Later he became Director General of Israel's Foreign
Ministry, the position he held in 1982 when he addressed a forum at
the British Institute for International Affairs in London.

In responding to hostile questions about Israel's invasion of Lebanon
and the refugee camp massacres in Beirut, Kimche went on the
attack, reminding the audience that there was scant concern in the
British Foreign Office when British Gurkha units participated in the
murder of 500 Jews in the streets of Baghdad in 1941.[5]

THE BOMBING OF 1950-1951

The anti-Jewish riots of 1941 did more than create a pretext for the
British to enter Baghdad to reinstate the pro-British regent and his
pro-British prime minister, Nouri el-Said. They also gave the
Zionists in Palestine a pretext to set up a Zionist underground in
Iraq, first in Baghdad, then in other cities such as Basra, Amara,
Hillah, Diwaneia, Abril and Karkouk.

Following WW II, a succession of governments held brief power in
Iraq. Zionist conquests in Palestine, particularly the massacre of
Palestinians in the village of Deir Yassin, emboldened the anti-British
movement in Iraq. When the Iraqi government signed a new treaty
of friendship with London in January 1948, riots broke out all over
the country. The treaty was quickly abandoned and Baghdad
demanded removal of the British military mission that had run Iraq's
army for 27 years.

Later in 1948, Baghdad sent an army detachment to Palestine to
fight the Zionists, and when Israel declared independence in May,
Iraq closed the pipeline that fed its oil to Haifa's refinery. Abd
al-Ilah, however, was still regent and the British quisling, Nouri
el-Said, was back as prime minister. I was in the Abu-Greib prison
in 1948, where I would remain until my escape to Iran in September

Six months later-the exact date was March 19, 1950-a bomb went
off at the American Cultural Center and Library in Baghdad, causing
property damage and injuring a number of people. The center was a
favorite meeting place for young Jews.

The first bomb thrown directly at Jews occurred on April 8, 1950,
at 9:15 p.m. A car with three young passengers hurled the grenade
at Baghdad's El-Dar El-Bida Café, where Jews were celebrating
Passover. Four people were seriously injured. That night leaflets
were distributed calling on Jews to leave Iraq immediately.

The next day, many Jews, most of them poor with nothing to lose,
jammed emigration offices to renounce their citizenship and to apply
for permission to leave for Israel. So many applied, in fact, that the
police had to open registration offices in Jewish schools and

On May 10, at 3 a.m., a grenade was tossed in the direction of the
display window of the Jewish-owned Beit-Lawi Automobile
Company, destroying part of the building. No casualties were

On June 3, 1950, another grenade was tossed from a speeding car
in the El-Batawin area of Baghdad where most rich Jews and
middle class Iraqis lived. No one was hurt, but following the
explosion Zionist activists sent telegrams to Israel requesting that the
quota for immigration from Iraq be increased.

On June 5, at 2:30 a.m., a bomb exploded next to the Jewish
owned Stanley Shashua building on El-Rashid street, resulting in
property damage but no casualties.

On January 14, 1951, at 7 p.m., a grenade was thrown at a group
of Jews outside the Masouda Shem-Tov Synagogue. The explosive
struck a high-voltage cable, electrocuting three Jews, one a young
boy, Itzhak Elmacher, and wounding over 30 others. Following the
attack, the exodus of Jews jumped to between 600-700 per day.

Zionist propagandists still maintain
that the bombs in Iraq were set
off by anti-Jewish Iraqis who
wanted Jews out of their country.
The terrible truth is that the
grenades that killed and maimed
Iraqi Jews and damaged their
property were thrown by Zionist

Among the most important
documents in my book, I believe,
are copies of two leaflets
published by the Zionist
underground calling on Jews to
leave Iraq. One is dated March
16, 1950, the other April 8,

The terrible
truth is that the
grenades that
killed and
maimed Iraqi
Jews and
damaged their
property were
thrown by
Zionist Jews.

The difference between these two is critical. Both indicate the date
of publication, but only the April 8th leaflet notes the time of day: 4
p.m. Why the time of day? Such a specification was unprecedented.
Even the investigating judge, Salaman El-Beit, found it suspicious.
Did the 4 p.m. writers want an alibi for a bombing they knew would
occur five hours later? If so, how did they know about the
bombing? The judge concluded they knew because a connection
existed between the Zionist underground and the bomb throwers.

This, too, was the conclusion of Wilbur Crane Eveland, a former
senior officer in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), whom I had
the opportunity to meet in New York in 1988. In his book, Ropes
of Sand, whose publication the CIA opposed, Eveland writes:

In attempts to portray the Iraqis as
anti-American and to terrorize the
Jews, the Zionists planted bombs
in the U.S. Information Service
library and in synagogues. Soon
leaflets began to appear urging
Jews to flee to Israel. . . .

Although the Iraqi police later
provided our embassy with
evidence to show that the
synagogue and library bombings,
as well as the anti-Jewish and
anti-American leaflet campaigns,
had been the work of an
underground Zionist organization,
most of the world believed reports
that Arab terrorism had motivated
the flight of the Iraqi Jews whom
the Zionists had "rescued" really
just in order to increase Israel's
Jewish population."[6]

Eveland doesn't detail the evidence linking the Zionists to the
attacks, but in my book I do. In 1955, for example, I organized in
Israel a panel of Jewish attorneys of Iraqi origin to handle claims of
Iraqi Jews who still had property in Iraq. One well known attorney,
who asked that I not give his name, confided in me that the
laboratory tests in Iraq had confirmed that the anti-American leaflets
found at the American Cultural Center bombing were typed on the
same typewriter and duplicated on the same stenciling machine as
the leaflets distributed by the Zionist movement just before the April
8th bombing.

Tests also showed that the type of explosive used in the Beit-Lawi
attack matched traces of explosives found in the suitcase of an Iraqi
Jew by the name of Yosef Basri. Basri, a lawyer, together with
Shalom Salih, a shoemaker, would be put on trial for the attacks in
December 1951 and executed the following month. Both men were
members of Hashura, the military arm of the Zionist underground.
Salih ultimately confessed that he, Basri and a third man, Yosef
Habaza, carried out the attacks.

By the time of the executions in January 1952, all but 6,000 of an
estimated 125,000 Iraqi Jews had fled to Israel. Moreover, the
pro-British, pro-Zionist puppet el-Said saw to it that all of their
possessions were frozen, including their cash assets. (There were
ways of getting Iraqi dinars out, but when the immigrants went to
exchange them in Israel they found that the Israeli government kept
50 percent of the value.) Even those Iraqi Jews who had not
registered to emigrate, but who happened to be abroad, faced loss
of their nationality if they didn't return within a specified time. An
ancient, cultured, prosperous community had been uprooted and its
people transplanted to a land dominated by East European Jews,
whose culture was not only foreign but entirely hateful to them.


Zionist Leaders
From the start they knew that in order to establish a Jewish state
they had to expel the indigenous Palestinian population to the
neighboring Islamic states and import Jews from these same states.

Theodor Herzl, the architect of Zionism, thought it could be
done by social engineering. In his diary entry for 12 June 1885, he
wrote that Zionist settlers would have to "spirit the penniless
population across the border by procuring employment for it in the
transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own

Vladimir Jabotinsky, Prime Minister Netanyahu's
ideological progenitor, frankly admitted that such a transfer of
populations could only be brought about by force.

David Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, told a Zionist
Conference in 1937 that any proposed Jewish state would have to
"transfer Arab populations out of the area, if possible of their own
free will, if not by coercion."[8] After 750,000 Palestinians were
uprooted and their lands confiscated in 1948-49, Ben Gurion had to
look to the Islamic countries for Jews who could fill the resultant
cheap labor market. "Emissaries" were smuggled into these
countries to "convince" Jews to leave either by trickery or fear.

In the case of Iraq, both methods were used: uneducated Jews were
told of a Messianic Israel in which the blind see, the lame walk, and
onions grow as big as melons; educated Jews had bombs thrown at

A few years after the bombings, in the early 1950s, a book was
published in Iraq, in Arabic, titled Venom of the Zionist Viper. The
author was one of the Iraqi investigators of the 1950-51 bombings
and, in his book, he implicates the Israelis, specifically one of the
emissaries sent by Israel, Mordechai Ben-Porat. As soon as the
book came out, all copies just disappeared, even from libraries. The
word was that agents of the Israeli Mossad, working through the
U.S. Embassy, bought up all the books and destroyed them. I tried
on three different occasions to have one sent to me in Israel, but
each time Israeli censors in the post office intercepted it.

British Leaders.
Britain always acted in its best colonial interests. For that reason
Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour sent his famous 1917 letter to Lord
Rothschild in exchange for Zionist support in WW I. During WW II
the British were primarily concerned with keeping their client states
in the Western camp, while Zionists were most concerned with the
immigration of European Jews to Palestine, even if this meant
cooperating with the Nazis. (In my book I document numerous
instances of such dealings by Ben Gurion and the Zionist

After WW II the international
chessboard pitted communists
against capitalists. In many
countries, including the United
States and Iraq, Jews represented
a large part of the Communist
party. In Iraq, hundreds of Jews
of the working intelligentsia
occupied key positions in the
hierarchy of the Communist and
Socialist parties. To keep their
client countries in the capitalist
camp, Britain had to make sure
these governments had
pro-British leaders. And if, as in
Iraq, these leaders were
overthrown, then an anti-Jewish
riot or two could prove a useful
pretext to invade the capital and
reinstate the "right" leaders.

Moreover, if the possibility
existed of removing the
communist influence from Iraq by
transferring the whole Jewish
community to Israel, well then,
why not? Particularly if the
leaders of Israel and Iraq
conspired in the deed.

Britain had to
make sure
had pro-British
leaders. And if,
as in Iraq,
these leaders
then an
anti-Jewish riot
or two could
prove a useful
pretext to
invade the
capital and
reinstate the
"right" leaders.

The Iraqi Leaders.
Both the regent Abd al-Ilah and his prime minister Nouri el- Said
took directions from London. Toward the end of 1948, el-Said,
who had already met with Israel's Prime Minister Ben Gurion in
Vienna, began discussing with his Iraqi and British associates the
need for an exchange of populations. Iraq would send the Jews in
military trucks to Israel via Jordan, and Iraq would take in some of
the Palestinians Israel had been evicting. His proposal included
mutual confiscation of property. London nixed the idea as too

El-Said then went to his back-up plan and began to create the
conditions that would make the lives of Iraqi Jews so miserable they
would leave for Israel. Jewish government employees were fired
from their jobs; Jewish merchants were denied import/export
licenses; police began to arrest Jews for trivial reasons. Still the
Jews did not leave in any great numbers.

In September 1949, Israel sent
the spy Mordechai Ben-Porat,
the one mentioned in Venom of
the Zionist Viper, to Iraq. One of
the first things Ben-Porat did was
to approach el-Said and promise
him financial incentives to have a
law enacted that would lift the
citizenship of Iraqi Jews.

Soon after, Zionist and Iraqi
representatives began formulating
a rough draft of the bill, according
to the model dictated by Israel
through its agents in Baghdad.
The bill was passed by the Iraqi
parliament in March 1950. It
empowered the government to
issue one-time exit visas to Jews
wishing to leave the country. In
March, the bombings began.

Sixteen years later, the Israeli
magazine Haolam Hazeh,
published by Uri Avnery, then a
Knesset member, accused
Ben-Porat of the Baghdad
bombings. Ben-Porat, who would
become a Knesset member
himself, denied the charge, but
never sued the magazine for libel.
And Iraqi Jews in Israel still call
him Morad Abu al-Knabel,
Mordechai of the Bombs.

In September
1949, Israel
sent the spy
Ben-Porat to
Iraq. One of
the first things
Ben-Porat did
was to
el-Said, the
prime minister
of Iraq, and
promise him
incentives to
have a law
enacted that
would lift the
citizenship of
Iraqi Jews.

As I said, all this went well beyond the comprehension of a
teenager. I knew Jews were being killed and an organization existed
that could lead us to the Promised Land. So I helped in the exodus
to Israel. Later, on occasions, I would bump into some of these
Iraqi Jews in Israel. Not infrequently they'd express the sentiment
that they could kill me for what I had done.


After the Israeli attack on the Jordanian village of Qibya in October,
1953, Ben Gurion went into voluntary exile at the Sedeh Boker
kibbutz in the Negev. The Labor party then used to organize many
buses for people to go visit him there, where they would see the
former prime minister working with sheep. But that was only for
show. Really he was writing his diary and continuing to be active
behind the scenes. I went on such a tour.

We were told not to try to speak
to Ben Gurion, but when I saw
him, I asked why, since Israel is a
democracy with a parliament, does
it not have a constitution? Ben
Gurion said, "Look, boy"-I was 24
at the time-"if we have a
constitution, we have to write in it
the border of our country. And this
is not our border, my dear." I
asked, "Then where is the border?"
He said, "Wherever the Sahal will
come, this is the border." Sahal is
the Israeli army.

Ben Gurion told the world that
Israel accepted the partition and
the Arabs rejected it. Then Israel
took half of the land that was
promised to the Arab state. And
still he was saying it was not
enough. Israel needed more land.
How can a country make peace
with its neighbors if it wants to take
their land? How can a country
demand to be secure if it won't say
what borders it will be satisfied
with? For such a country, peace
would be an inconvenience.

I know now that from the beginning
many Arab leaders wanted to
make peace with Israel, but Israel
always refused. Ben Gurion
covered this up with propaganda.
He said that the Arabs wanted to
drive Israel into the sea and he
called Gamal Abdel Nasser the
Hitler of the Middle East whose
foremost intent was to destroy
Israel. He wanted America and
Great Britain to treat Nasser like a

I asked why,
since Israel is a
with a
does it not
have a

Ben Gurion
said, "Look,
boy if we have
a constitution,
we have to
write in it the
border of our
country. And
this is not our
border, my

I asked, "Then
where is the

He said,
"Wherever the
Sahal will
come, this is
the border."

Sahal is the
Israeli army.

In 1954, it seemed that America was getting less critical of Nasser.
Then during a three-week period in July, several terrorist bombs
were set off: at the United States Information Agency offices in
Cairo and Alexandria, a British-owned theater, and the central post
office in Cairo. An attempt to firebomb a cinema in Alexandria failed
when the bomb went off in the pocket of one of the perpetrators.
That led to the discovery that the terrorists were not anti-Western
Egyptians, but were instead Israeli spies bent on souring the
warming relationship between Egypt and the United States in what
came to be known as the Lavon Affair.

Ben Gurion was still living on his
kibbutz. Moshe Sharett as prime
minister was in contact with Abdel
Nasser through the offices of Lord
Maurice Orbach of Great Britain.
Sharett asked Nasser to be lenient
with the captured spies, and
Nasser did all that was in his
power to prevent a deterioration of
the situation between the two

Then Ben Gurion returned as
Defense Minister in February,
1955. Later that month Israeli
troops attacked Egyptian military
camps and Palestinian refugees in
Gaza, killing 54 and injuring many
more. The very night of the attack,
Lord Orbach was on his way to
deliver a message to Nasser, but
was unable to get through because
of the military action. When
Orbach telephoned, Nasser's
secretary told him that the attack
proved that Israel did not want
peace and that he was wasting his
time as a mediator.

In November, Ben Gurion
announced in the Knesset that he
was willing to meet with Abdel
Nasser anywhere and at any time
for the sake of peace and
understanding. The next morning
the Israeli military attacked an
Egyptian military camp in the
Sabaha region.

In 1954
terrorist bombs
were set off at
the United
Agency offices
in Cairo and
Alexandria. An
attempt ..
failed when
the bomb went
off in the
pocket of one
of the
That led to the
discovery that
the terrorists
were Israeli
spies bent on
souring the
between Egypt
and the United

Although Nasser felt pessimistic about achieving peace with Israel,
he continued to send other mediators to try. One was through the
American Friends Service Committee; another via the Prime
Minister of Malta, Dom Minthoff; and still another through Marshall
Tito of Yugoslavia.

One that looked particularly promising was through Dennis
Hamilton, editor of The London Times. Nasser told Hamilton that if
only he could sit and talk with Ben Gurion for two or three hours,
they would be able to settle the conflict and end the state of war
between the two countries. When word of this reached Ben Gurion,
he arranged to meet with Hamilton. They decided to pursue the
matter with the Israeli ambassador in London, Arthur Luria, as
liaison. On Hamilton's third trip to Egypt, Nasser met him with the
text of a Ben Gurion speech stating that Israel would not give up an
inch of land and would not take back a single refugee. Hamilton
knew that Ben Gurion with his mouth had undermined a peace
mission and missed an opportunity to settle the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Nasser even sent his friend Ibrahim Izat of the Ruz El Yusuf weekly
paper to meet with Israeli leaders in order to explore the political
atmosphere and find out why the attacks were taking place if Israel
really wanted peace. One of the men Izat met with was Yigal Yadin,
a former Chief of Staff of the army who wrote this letter to me on
14 January 1982:

Dear Mr. Giladi:

Your letter reminded me of an event
which I nearly forgot and of which I
remember only a few details.

Ibrahim Izat came to me if I am not
mistaken under the request of the
Foreign Ministry or one of its
branches; he stayed in my house and
we spoke for many hours. I do not
remember him saying that he came on
a mission from Nasser, but I have no
doubt that he let it be understood that
this was with his knowledge or

When Nasser decided to nationalize the Suez Canal in spite of
opposition from the British and the French, Radio Cairo announced
in Hebrew:

If the Israeli government is not influenced
by the British and the French imperialists,
it will eventually result in greater
understanding between the two states,
and Egypt will reconsider Israel's request
to have access to the Suez Canal.

Israel responded that it had no designs on Egypt, but at that very
moment Israeli representatives were in France planning the
three-way attack that was to take place in October, 1956.

All the while, Ben Gurion continued to talk about the Hitler of the
Middle East. This brainwashing went on until late September, 1970,
when Gamal Abdel Nasser passed away. Then, miracle of miracles,
David Ben Gurion told the press:

A week before he died I received an
envoy from Abdel Nasser who asked to
meet with me urgently in order to solve
the problems between Israel and the
Arab world.

The public was surprised because they didn't know that Abdel
Nasser had wanted this all along, but Israel sabotaged it.

Nasser was not the only Arab leader who wanted to make peace
with Israel. There were many others. Brigadier General Abdel
Karim Qasem, before he seized power in Iraq in July, 1958, headed
an underground organization that sent a delegation to Israel to make
a secret agreement. Ben Gurion refused even to see him. I learned
about this when I was a journalist in Israel. But whenever I tried to
publish even a small part of it, the censor would stamp it "Not

Now, in Netanyahu, we are witnessing another attempt by an Israeli
prime minister to fake an interest in making peace. Netanyahu and
the Likud are setting Arafat up by demanding that he institute more
and more repressive measures in the interest of Israeli "security."
Sooner or later I suspect the Palestinians will have had enough of
Arafat's strong-arm methods as Israel's quisling-and he'll be killed.
Then the Israeli government will say, "See, we were ready to give
him everything. You can't trust those Arabs-they kill each other.
Now there's no one to even talk to about peace."


Alexis de Tocqueville once
observed that it is easier for the
world to accept a simple lie than a
complex truth. Certainly it has been
easier for the world to accept the
Zionist lie that Jews were evicted
from Muslim lands because of
anti-Semitism, and that Israelis,
never the Arabs, were the pursuers
of peace. The truth is far more
discerning: bigger players on the
world stage were pulling the

These players, I believe, should be
held accountable for their crimes,
particularly when they willfully
terrorized, dispossessed and killed
innocent people on the altar of
some ideological imperative.

I believe, too, that the descendants
of these leaders have a moral
responsibility to compensate the
victims and their descendants, and
to do so not just with reparations,
but by setting the historical record

That is why I established a panel of
inquiry in Israel to seek reparations
for Iraqi Jews who had been
forced to leave behind their
property and possessions in Iraq.
That is why I joined the Black
Panthers in confronting the Israeli
government with the grievances of
the Jews in Israel who came from
Islamic lands. And that is why I
have written my book and this
article: to set the historical record
straight. is easier for
the world to
accept a
simple lie than
a complex

Certainly it has
been easier for
the world to
accept the
Zionist lie that
Jews were
evicted from
Muslim lands
because of
and that
Israelis, never
the Arabs,
were the
pursuers of

The truth is far
bigger players
on the world
stage were
pulling the

We Jews from Islamic lands did not leave our ancestral homes
because of any natural enmity between Jews and Muslims. And we
Arabs-I say Arab because that is the language my wife and I still
speak at home-we Arabs on numerous occasions have sought
peace with the State of the Jews. And finally, as a U.S. citizen and
taxpayer, let me say that we Americans need to stop supporting
racial discrimination in Israel and the cruel expropriation of lands in
the West Bank, Gaza, South Lebanon and the Golan Heights.


Mileshtin was quoted by the Israeli daily, Hadashot, in an
article published August 13, 1993. The writer, Sarah
Laybobis-Dar, interviewed a number of Israelis who had
knowledge of the use of bacteriological weapons in the
1948 war. Mileshtin said bacteria was used to poison the
wells of every village emptied of its Arab inhabitants.
On Sept. 12, 1990, the New York State Supreme Court
issued a restraining order at the request of the Israeli
government to prevent publication of Ostrovsky's book,
"By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a
Mossad Officer." The New York State Appeals Court
lifted the ban the next day.
Marion Woolfson, "Prophets in Babylon: Jews in the Arab
World," p. 129
Yosef Meir, "Road in the Desert," Israeli Defense Ministry,
p. 36.
See my book, "Ben Gurion's Scandals," p. 105.
Wilbur Crane Eveland, "Ropes of Sand: America's Failure
in the Middle East," NY; Norton, 1980, pp. 48-49.
T. Herzl, "The Complete Diaries," NY: Herzl Press &
Thomas Yoncloff, 1960, vol. 1, p. 88.
Report of the Congress of the World Council of Paole
Zion, Zurich, July 29-August 7, 1937, pp. 73-74.

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