Zionism, Palestine and Iraqi Jews

History May 08, 2021 2 min read

This story was submitted by Benjamin Shabi. Benjamin is an Iraqi jew and shares the story of the deportation of his family and with them many Iraqi and Arab jews.

Jewish wedding in Baghdad, Iraq (1930s)

This story is a mix of my grandparent's story, Religion and Zionism as I would like to point out the differences between Zionism and Judaism.

When my  grandfather was 17 years old he fled to Israel or more correctly occupied Palestine, during the 50s because of the deportation of Iraqi Jews. Not only my grandparents, but 130.000 other Iraqi jews were deported as well. This deportation was part of a deal for money between Ben Gurion and Nuri Said with the help of a British intermediary in Switzerland during the 1948 war. Simply put, I would say they sold us, they sold us because Israel in the 50s needed soldiers and workers to function as a state. In line with the agreement between Iraqi Government, Israel and Britain, Iraq took our citizenship by law, put economic pressure on us and fired many Jews from high positions. Jews even had occupations in the Iraqi government.

There were no problems between the Muslims and Jews in Iraq, even after 1948. My family lost all their properties in Baghdad. We used to have a foodstore in Baghdad, in Souk Hinnouni, before they locked it. The Zionist movement went as far as to throw bombs into Iraqi synagogues so the Jews would think the Arabs did it and to force the Jews to come to Israel. Iraqis may have carried out the attacks but the ones responsible are the Zionist movement who planned all of this.

The Zionist movement went as far as to throw bombs into Iraqi synagogues so the Jews would think the Arabs did it and to force the Jews to come to Israel.

My grandparents lived many years in Israel, you would think they would acclimatize to the society along with other jews that came from different parts of the world, but that was not the case. My grandfather came from the highest level of society to living in a tent and came to settle in refugee camps, living 9 to 10 years in tents and shacks in Israel. How can you acclimatize to that? Israel demeaned us. There was discrimination against the Sephardic jews and Jews that came from the Arab states and that discrimination still exists today. There is also discrimination against the Mizrahim jews in education and job applications to this day.

So how can you call that a Jewish state? How can you call that a Jewish land when there is another nation there? Therefore, I want people to know that there's a great difference between Judaism and Zionism. All the state of Israel stands for is in contrary and total violation of Jewish teachings, killing and stealing, occupying and oppressing an entire people. The whole concept of building a Jewish state is a contradiction to jewish beliefs. The philosophy of Zionism, building a jewish state was invented by Theodor Hezl and his men, people who didn’t follow anything within Judaism.

Benjamin Shabi.

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