Monday, May 28, 2012

At Shavuot, we remember the Farhud

From Point of No Return, 27 May 2012:
This Shavuot marks 71 years since the outbreak of the pro-Nazi pogrom in Iraq known as the Farhud....
Jihad is considered no less important of the five pillars of Islam (أركان الإسلام) but this aspect of militant Islam had been neglected in the 20th century... The cause of such neglect was not only European military power, but also the fact that Hashemite Hejaz family led by Sharif Hussein Ben Ali and his sons Princes Faisal and Abd - Allah cooperated against the Ottoman Empire.
Muslims found many similarities between Nazi doctrine and Islamic military power: the rise of Islam as a religion, which must be spread by the sword, protects its followers against hellfire. The British, who saw the rich oil wells of Iraq were a strategic area of ​​utmost importance, always strove to maintain friendly relations with the Hashemite family. Therefore, they crowned Prince Faisal king of Iraq. Britain's agreements with the new state fanned the hatred of nationalists in the secular Iraqi army. With the founding of Iraq in 1921, most army officers studied in the German education system in Ottoman Turkey. The Nazi doctrine advocated force, racism and superiority of the Aryan race and favored Germany. King Ghazi, who hated the British because they betrayed his grandfather's Sharif Hussein Ben Ali dream to establish a new Arab empire, was disappointed with British support of the Jewish national home in Eretz Yisrael. Therefore, the young King worked to cement a friendship with Hitler and founded the Hitler Youth scouts.
The organization was taken over by exiled Palestinians in Iraq. It spread hatred of Jews and harassed them in the streets. Sunni Palestinians took over the school system and replaced Iraqi Shi'ites. The predominance of Jews in commerce and in the new state as bookkeepers and financial policy makers advisers to the British in the running of Iraq's economy, aroused the envy and hatred of the people. The incited was fuelled by the Palestinian students at the School of the Templars, who were full of hostility to the British for the Balfour Declaration.
In the midst of the Second World War the Germans sought to control the Iraqi oil wells. They promised air support and political patronage to the Iraqi nationalist officers. The Palestinians, headed by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al - Husseini, were given a free hand. Palestinians and Syrians exiles incited the masses against the Jews in the press, in radio broadcasts and educational institutions.
On the advice of Haj Amin al - Husseini, they surrounded the British Army Air Force base at Habbaniya in western Iraq. British counterattack Glubb Pasha Join Major Glubb Pasha G. John Bagot. Iraqi Jewish officers serving in the British Army broadcast announcements that the Iraqi government headquarters under the Rashid Ali government had been overrun: the British army had defeated the Iraqi army and heavy tank columns were advancing on Baghdad. This caused panic among the officer corps and the pro - Nazi government and they fled to Persia and Turkey, and then Rashid Ali al - Gilani and Haj Amin al - Husseini and their entourage fled to Berlin and joined forces with the Nazis in Eastern Europe, especially Muslims in Bosnia.
The defeat of the Iraqi army by Glubb Pasha, commander of the British Legion in Jordan, and the flight of the leaders of the revolt to Iran, Turkey and Germany , with the British Army at the gates of Baghdad, left a political vacuum. Defeated and humiliated soldiers and the mob vented their anger against the Jews. They murdered 179 Jews, injured 2,500, and raped girls and women, and robbed and burned their property over the days days of Shavuot in 1941.
A returning monarchist government headed by Regent Abd al - Ila'a and the strongly pro- British Nuri al - Said were put in place. The Iraqi army, composed of rebel soldiers, opened live fire on the looters when they began to rob the stores of Muslim merchants. Dozens of looters killed by troops loyal to the royal family died. Today some amateur leftists and Arab nationalists argue brazenly to flatter that about 200 Muslims were murdered to protect the Jews. Two scholars from Iraq are fighting unfounded allegations: journalist, broadcaster and writer Salim Fattal - whose uncle was murdered in the first hours of the Farhud wrote a book, An idol in the Temple of the Israeli Academy, in 2010: and Dr. Nissim Kazzaz wrote a book too. His father died and so did Salim Fattal's uncle died too when trying to rescue his racehorse-breeder partner the Shiite neighborhood of Bab El - Sheikh.
After the Farhud the Iraqi government established a committee to investigate the events of the 1 June 1941 and submitted its report on July 8, 1941. A list of victims recorded by Dr. Zvi Yehuda came to 145. The community put the number of victims at 179. We still do not have a final tally because from time to time families of relatives that are not included in the list come forward.
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