The Nazi-inspired Pogrom That Triggered Iraqi Jews’ “Escape to Israel”

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.

THE JEWS OF IRAQ

By Naeim Giladi

My Story

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.

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.

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.

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

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 leadership.)

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.