Shades of Freedom Fries: Israeli Company Pressured to Eliminate ‘Turkish’ Coffee
For those of you who thought the whole “freedom fries” bit circa 2003 was hilarious, the Israeli right has a companion campaign: to do away with the term “Turkish coffee.” For those of you who’ve never traveled to the Middle East, the intense espresso known as Turkish coffee is about as popular and ubiquitous as French fries here in the U.S. Which is why this campaign promoted by a right-wing Israeli religious group is just about as funny.
Note this report in Maariv has a new revionist version of the Mavi Marmara attack:
The right wing religious group, Our Israel, has turned to Struass-Elite with a request to rename its Turkish coffee in light of the attack on Israeli commandos connected to the Gaza flotilla.
…Shai Geffen, general secretary of the group wrote to the company: “Turkey stands behind the murderous terror against IDF soldiers as we all saw saw in the terrible pictures from the Gaza flotilla. Turkey acted crazily and has become part of the Axis of Evil, a symbol of terror and enemy of Israel.
We hope that as a patriotic company active in the Israeli market, that you would be sensitive to the opinion of the Israeli public. Your positive response to our request would undoubtedly be received favorably by the Israeli public. Honoring our heroic soldiers who fought so bravely against the murderers on the Marmara, and the Jewish people is very important to you and to us.”
It’s pertinent to note that Turks actually prefer to drink tea to their “black coffee.” And they didn’t invent the drink, but rather imported it from Ethiopia as part of the Ottoman conquest, which was considerably more violent than Israel’s partial control of Gaza.
Now, that’s debatable. I wonder whether a Gazan would agree? And how would an Israeli reporter who’s never been to Gaza even begin to be able to make such a judgement??
It’s also interesting to note that certain Israeli circles have created a revisionist version of the Marmara incident in which Israeli soldiers faced nearly certain death at the hands of cruel Turkish terrorists. The power of the human mind to fall prey to delusion…
Should we begin our own little contest to come up with a replacement name for “Turkish coffee” for Israelis? It seems the least we can do to do our patriotic bit to eliminate any reference to that perfidious nation formerly known as Turkey. How ’bout instead of a “cup of java,” a cup of Gaza? Or “commando coffee?”
H/t Promised Land.
97 thoughts on “Shades of Freedom Fries: Israeli Company Pressured to Eliminate ‘Turkish’ Coffee – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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This reminds me of Greece, where many people also insist that the drink not be called ‘Turkish coffee’, but ‘Greek coffee’. (Other Greeks have told me they consider this ridiculous as it was definitely the Turks who introduced the drink there.)
It would be possible, of course, to use the term ‘Greek coffee’ in Israel from now on, but what to do then, when a Greek boat joins the next flotilla?
This is a serious problem that needs a concerted effort of the best Israeli minds.
Hi Elisabeth, I was just going to mention that!
They already call it Greek Coffe here – they have for the past 10 years that I’ve been coming or lived here, but we all know what it is. Plus there were 43 (I think) Greeks that were on the flotilla, and the only two boats that have made it all the way to Gaza were two Greek boats in (I think) 2008. How about we just call it coffee and enjoy? lol
Nicely put, Elisabeth.
I guess “Arab coffee” is out. How about “Cypriot coffee” in honour of the coward… I mean brave Greek Cypriot decision to bar the flotilla from docking at its ports for repairs and to take on European parliamentar… I mean terrorists.
Kafeh Kafrisa’i – it’s even alliterative!
This is a sad story, I only read about this now. Any ideas why they did this?
“Honoring our heroic soldiers […] and the Jewish people is very important to you and to us.”
Can someone here please explain to me why the Israeli right always thinks they can speak on behalf of all the Jews in this world?
They certainly don’t speak on behalf of those Jews from Jewish Voice for Peace who are planning to sail their own ships to Gaza (“Jewish flotilla to break Gaza siege” – http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3899915,00.html) or on behalf of those from Jews for Justice for Palestinians.
I am so proud of you!
I just tried to access your link from Greece and I got an Access Denied Message – Don’t know if it was from here or there, but I’d love to learn more about your organization.
It is not actually my organisation but I just happen to know about them.
The link is from an Israeli news website and I wonder why you cannot access it. Interestingly enough, I could not find an awful lot of other media outlets that report on the planned Jewish Flotilla.
Try this one here and scroll down a few paragraphs:
I have a feeling of Nausea.
Look at this:
( in hebrew )
I am so mad at this.
Hi Dori, this is the article in English: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/knesset-panel-recommends-revoking-arab-mk-s-privileges-1.294669
In light of this Knesset proposal to expel Zoabi: I don’t know which will happen sooner: Israel will become an outright fascist state & expel all non-Jews; or Israel will self-destruct entirely.
I’m very sad to say I’m not surprised.
Instead of focusing on Turkish coffee, you should focus on the media lynching of Helen Thomas, who has braveley stated what we are all thinking. A defence from you would mean a lot to her
“What we are all thinking”?
Are you refering to her saying that Jews should “get the hell out of Palsetine” and go back to “Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else?
Because it would be very sad if that’s what you think.
I raised my eyebrows too when I read that.
Since she apologized, maybe she wouldn’t want such a defense.
People here favor either a one state solution or a two state solution–nobody (except maybe you?) wants ethnic cleansing as a cure for ethnic cleansing.
I hadn’t seen the rest of the thread–I was echoing almost everyone else here. Good.
What did you raise your eyebrow about exactly?
The fact that European Jews have displaced an indigenous population and continues to starve and murder a population of over 1.5 million in Gaza? Or the fact that this “Jewish” state has 3 nuclear-armed submarines off the coast of Iran?
Never mind raising your eyebrows about the frustration of good people who can see the truth and your own cowardly inability to reject Zionism and what it stands for
Having the colonial settlers leave Palestine for their original land sounds about the most humanitarian and just solution there possibly is.
“Having the colonial settlers leave Palestine for their original land sounds about the most humanitarian and just solution there possibly is”
The Jews have no “original land” so this solution your’e suggesting (of solving one Nakbeh by creating another) is as crazy as suggesting that the Amrericans should now move to their “original land” and leave America for the Indians.
We cannot undo crimes that happened in the middle of last century. Too many years have passed and there are two many Jews there.
Now the only soultion which will not mean some kind of mass genocide is to find a way that Jews, Muslims, Christians and all other religions will manage to live together without fighting between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean (Either via a one-state or a two-state soultion).
“Jews, Muslims, Christians and all other religions will manage to live together…”
Let’s avoid any suggestion that this is a religious dispute, shall we? It is not now, nor has it every been, despite the efforts of a minority on both sides to pretend it is.
the dispute has two aspects to it, one religious and one which is not religious. As in most cases, things are complex, and are also extremely muddled up by the duality (promoted by Zionism since the 19th century) that Judaism is both a religion and a nation.
“the dispute has two aspects to it, one religious and one which is not religious.”
Not really. Zionism was a secular ideology, not a religious one, and the objections to Zionism cross all religious boundaries and are shared by Muslims, Christians, and secularists, along with adherents to the numerous minority religions in the region, including a significant number of Jews. The objection is to a group of European colonists moving in, taking over, and ethnically cleansing Palestine, and it wouldn’t matter what religion they were.
“…the duality (promoted by Zionism since the 19th century) that Judaism is both a religion and a nation.”
Perhaps you meant to say that they promoted the idea that Jewishness involved both a religion and a nationality?The Zionist leaders, the great majority of whom were secular, promoted the idea that the Jews constitute a nation as a calculated move to justify to the European powers the creation of a Jewish state. However, they did not argue that Judaism was a nation. That does not make the conflict a religious one, however.
Before WWII that was the norm in the Middle East – I think the colonialist that should be blamed are a bit more waspish. I’m sure that there were issues, but I just watched an incredible documentary about displaced Greeks (Orthodox Christians) being accepted with open arms by Palestine, Egypt, and Syria during WWII.
One state, one (wo)man, one vote
Oh, come on! No one is more anti-Zionist than I am, and if I can recognize the injustice in what you are suggesting, then surely you can.
Since 40% of of Israeli Jews come from Muslim lands, it would be interesting how they could go ‘home’ to Germany and Poland.
Of course with the huge numbers of Turks in Germany, that would hardly be a recipe for peace, would it?
The Jewish community in Germany is growing fast, did you know that?
Yes, I’ve read that. Many Israelis, of all things, moving there along w. former Soviet Jews (though that’s in the past).
I seem to remember to heave read somewhere that there are more Jews living in Germany today than there were before the Nazis came to power.
I am glad that other readers have already expressed my sense of outrage at this “solution.” “Humanitarian?” To whom?
And what’s sad about that, Lena?
Sad that the truth hurts?
Truth? What truth are you talking about?
Should I move to Poland because of crimes committed 40 years before I was born? You can’t solve one injustice by creating another.
The Jews have no “original land” so this solution your’e suggesting (of solving one Nakbeh by creating another) is as crazy as suggesting that the Amrericans should now move to their “original land” and leave America for the Indians”.
Starting a debate with a falsehood isn’t going to do it, Dori.
Many many Jews in Palestine are first, second and third generation Russians, Polish, Germans, Americans.
I would also remind you that Israel has a law that allow any Jew from any land automatic Israeli citizenship, while Arab nationals are discriminated against under Israeli law and Arabs in occupied territories have no rights at all
It would be very simple to repeal the law of return for Jews. All Jewish settlers in occupied territories must — MUST – vacate and return to where they came from. Like in Gaza. These aren’t just ideas – these are requirements under international law…
“All Jewish settlers in occupied territories…”
You did not make that important distinction earlier and nor did Helen Thomas.
“Many many Jews in Palestine are first, second and third generation Russians, Polish, Germans, Americans.”
So are many Americans. So what.
And of course you forgot to mention that MOST of the Jews in Israel are first, second and third generation of Arab countries. So a full solution, according to what you suggest, is that these millions of Jews return to the Arab counties from where they have been kicked out of.
You are suggesting a mass movement of about 7 million people out of Palestine, and you don’t call THAT another Nakbeh? Common.
Please stick to realistic solutions.
@ Dori: “these millions of Jews return to the Arab countries from where they have been kicked out”.
Oh come on ! This is pure Hasbara or ignorance, I dont know which. Tell me from where Jews were kicked out ? You should do some reading on Mossad’s role in the Iraqi Jews leaving Iraq, the “Lavon affair” in Egypt. In Algeria where most Jews had French nationality, the reality was a little more complicated. They left with the French after Independence in 1962, but they were not kicked out.
The mythology of the “Jews being kicked out of the Arab world” started approximately at the same time as the “New Historians” deconstructed the myth of “A land without a people for a people without a land”. What a coincidence !! We kicked out 800.000 Palestinians, and the Arabs kicked out 800.000 Jews. We’re quit !
Read Naïm Giladi ‘The Jews in Iraq, Ella Shofat: “Zionism from the point of view of it’s Jewish Victims”, the sociologist Shenhav of Iraqi origin, on the Black Panthers (Moroccan Jews) etc etc.
Thanks for the information.
Quoting Arie Brand below:
“it is to me an open question to what extent the migration of the Moroccon Jews was a matter of the push from Morocco or the pull of Israel”
Deir, you may be right about the jews from Arab countries, and this is definitely not a glorious chapter in Israeli history.
Still, there are 7 million jews in Israel. Most of them were born here. They simply did not come from anywhere.
The Jews have committed grave sins against the Palestinians. The first settlers acted like typical colonialists, and with time they simply deteriorated. But sadly there is no perfect justice. You can’t turn the clock back and undo this evil.
Believe, I’d be happy if Poland would take my family back – I would have a European passport which is pretty cool. But they don’t want to, and they have their reasons.
It’s time for both people to stop dreaming about the impossible disappearance of the other, understand that we’re stuck with each other, and start thinking how to build our mutual future.
“It’s time for both people to stop dreaming about the impossible disappearance of the other, understand that we’re stuck with each other, and start thinking how to build our mutual future.”
How very well said. History is very important and we should never stop studying it but to move forward, the starting point has to be the present. European nations (minus the Balkans maybe) stopped quarreling about the shifting borders and decided it’s enough. After the many, many terrible events that took place, they decided to move forward with each other. (Granted, the European continent doesn’t have quite the same spatial issues as Israel/Palestine but still.)
So how do we move forward? What steps can we take? How can these two people come to an arrangement that works? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights could be the basis for such an arrangement.
I’m not at all proposing that the Jews should go ‘back to from where they come’! 🙂 I do entirely agree that Arabs and Jews are stuck together.
First of all, I’m definitely a One-Stater and, yes, you’re right, we can’t turn back the clock, though I sometimes (often) daydream about the Zionists going somewhere else back in the 1880’e.
But if Jew and Arabs have to live together, and they have to, one way or the other, recognizing what happened back in 1948 and even before is essential, and so is the fact to recognize that the Jews were not kicked out of the Arab world. I live in Paris, here is a huge North African Jewish community, and lots of them are very nostalgic of their homecountry, which they left due to Independence and the aftermath of the 1967 war.
Here a very beautiful song by Line Monty, an Algerian Jewish singer singing the “Chaabi”, and the sound of her voice is simply heartbreaking:
To peaceful coexistence !
I often daydream about Buber/Magnes et al being a bit more politically astute; or Ben Gurion being a bit more visionary & multi-ethnic & what might’ve happened had Brit Shalom’s program held sway instead of the ZIonist brutalism that prevailed.
To peaceful coexistence indeed!
And one of the things I find most sad about all this is that on the day-to-day level, Israelis and Palestinians get on rather well!
I was in a home for the elderly recently and it was full of Jews from Europe, many of whom had escaped the camps there, and they were all so full of praise for the Israeli-Palestinian caretakers who work at the home and said they wouldn’t want to miss them.
Now this is coexistence in practice and it’s happening now.
Well, Palestinians of ’48 (Israeli Arabs) taking care of elder Jews in a home for the elderly is not exacly what I call coexistence. I’ve seen a documentary fron South Africa during Apartheid where the Whites explained how happy they were about their Black servants.
Coexistence in based on equality, i.e. Jewish staff would eventually take care of elder Arabs too, but Arabs don’t abandon their elders in a home 😀
Getting back to the renaming of Turkish coffee, how about “Israeli dreck”? That would also apply to the aromatic propaganda that is flowing.
As for where the Jews should go, just let them stay where they are, but change the status from “Jewish State” to a state inclusive of both, Jews and Palestinians. There will obviously never be two separate states.
How about ‘nationalist dreck’?
Please tell my why there will obviously never be a two state solution?
This is a genuine question.
Or refer me to some information. A two state solution is the international consensus at the moment. There is little support for a one state solution (although I also think this is the best and most just solution).
I heard Norman Finklestein saying those who are fighting for justice in Palestine should favour the two state solution precisely because it has broad based support in the “international community”, the EU and the US.
Yes, your question is legitimate. And it is a legitimate position to favor a two-state solution. But as much as I admire Norman Finkelstein, I think he is unconsciously misleading people by implying that a two-state solution is possible. The Zionist ideologists have never been for a Palestinian state, and they will do everything possible to prevent one from coming about. The past sixty-odd years of history attest to that, and current events emphasizes it. If there was ever a suggestion that two-states were desired, the West Bank settlements would not exist. Not for one moment do I believe the Israelis would give them up, except by force. And I don’t see any forces out there.
The only solution, in my opinion, is that of Elan Pappe – one-state. Of course, that means Israel giving up its status as a “Jewish” state. That, too, is unlikely, except by force. Thus, a long term impasse.
If I had any influence, my solution would be to advise the Palestinians to convert to Judaism and demand their “right of return” just as all other Jews. Once they get it, the rest is up to them. LOL.
I didn’t see your post before answering. I’ve been proposing the conversion strategy to exiled Palestinians, too. And in Islam, particularly the Shia theology, the concept of “taqiyq” (dissimulation) is allowed and even recommended to save lives. Many Muslims in Spain converted to Christianity after the Reconquista, keeping their Islamic faith hidden (I know Jews did the same). I think it’s a brilliant idea but the Mossad may get a hint and blow up the project 😀
The support for the One-State solution is increasing among the Palestinians. I don’t have the exact numbers in mind but approximately 35% are supporting a One-State solution.
Maybe the International community wants a two state solution, but facts on the ground make this completely unrealistic. The Likud is digging it own grave as far as the Jewish State in concerned, and I’m convinced (or lrt’s say I hope) that after what is actually a ‘de facto’ annexation, or to be correct, a pre-Apartheid situation, we’ll pass unto a ‘de jure’ annexation’ and along the line a One Democratic State. Incha’allah 😀
If you read the Zionist classics, you know they never intended on staying neither on the 1947-Un based borders nor on the 1848 borders. The only difference from the original masterplan: they didn’t succeed in kicking out the Palestinians. And with the legendary “sumud”, the One State will come some day. Amen 😀
So what? Americans’ aren’t occupying another’s land – or starving and humiliating millions of people; ethnically cleansing citizens’ for Jewish settlers; etc etc.(in America, anyway)- that’s what. What a silly thing to say.
I agree totally with Shulman – if Israel can be forced to do that. They will only do it forced -preferably through diplomatic channels, and through BDS. But if it doesn’t happen we’ll be dealing with a far bigger threat down the road from this extremist nation; there’s no doubt at all about that, imo…
The fact that you are promoting ethnic cleansing of the Jews from Israel/Palestine as as outrageous as the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians that is promoted by the right in Israel. In this respect you are being as racist as those you are criticizing.
apart from that, there are many historical parallels between the Zionist colonialism and the American colonialism (in different eras and different times scales). So what I say is not “silly”, as you state above.
I have to agree with you. The parallels are, in fact, striking, although the worst actions by the Zionists occurred during a period when the world view on these things was supposedly more enlightened.
To say that the world view was enlightened three years after Nazi Germany is a bit of an exaggeration
Please respond to what I actually said.
And given what I actually did say, are you suggesting that the world view of three years after Nazi Germany was NOT more enlightened than that of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Or for that matter, that it was not more enlightened than that of the Nazi period? I submit, in fact, that the world view in 1948 was considerably more enlightened than it was in the ’30’s and earlier in the ’40’s precisely because of what happened in Nazi Germany.
Of course the 30ies and 40ies were the darkest and blackest period of all. However the question whether the world in 1948 was more or less enlightened than the world in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries is arguable. In some ways it was more, in some ways less, this is a question for historians. There is no clear answer to this question to my knowledge. In 1948 it was still very close to WWII, so many things were still not considered outrageous, for example mass deportations of large populations from place to place.
Dori, once again, please read carefully what I actually wrote, and do not oversimplify it. The world view of the mid-20th century was a great deal more enlightened in the matter of human rights, and in particular the treatment of indigenous peoples than it was in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and furthermore, it had just taken a major leap forward as a direct result of the horrors of Nazi Germany. The United States could in no way have undertaken the genocidal actions against the indigenous Americans that they had conducted throughout the history of North American colonization and development because by the mid-twentieth century it was recognized as wrong.
Shirin, I read carefullly what you write, and I answer to your points, so stop saying that I don’t. Since WWII there were cases of genocides, without the world stopping them. Things are now more open and spoken about, yes, that’s true, but still many parts of the world are not so enlightened.
No, you don’t read carefully what I write, and you do not respond specifically to it. You grab a generalized idea and argue with me as though that is what I said. It’s understandable when you do it once, but after I have pointed it out to you and asked you to kindly reread my statement, and you continue to do it again and again, and repeatedly miss my point it becomes boring at best. During the period in which Israel was created by means of massive ethnic cleansing the world, and in particular the western world of which the Zionists were a part, was indeed more enlightened about human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples than it was when the European Americans were slaughtering the indigenous Americans. Some of the most important instruments of human rights law were coming into being in 1948 as a direct result of the crimes of the Nazis. Imperial regimes were coming to an end, and the idea of colonial domination was coming under more and more negative scrutiny. It is ridiculous to suggest that the world view was not more enlightened regarding these matter in 1948 than it was in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
Perhaps, Shirin, the trouble was that you did not make the point clearly before, now I believe I understand what you were trying to say. In any case, I agree with you that this discussion is becoming boring.
I actually don’t believe it was necessary for Helen to make that distinction. Truly the fair solution is for Israel to move back to ’48 borders and fulfill their agreed-to requirement that they will not do anything to interfere with the indigenous population of Palestine. Which they totally ignored from day one.
The onus is on Israel – not me, not Helen Thomas, not you.
Again – fulfilling international law is a realistic solution. Because Israel has created “facts on the ground” doesn’t change it – in fact it makes it even more imperative that they move out of occupied territory given the history of extreme atrocities and aggression.
These questions weren’t asked when the Germans had to move their people out of Poland and Austria etc. Or when Saddam had to get out of Kuwait – despite the legitimate historical grievances of Iraq. No – when you use your military to ethnically cleanse people and replace them with your own – you are at fault – nobody else.
Is is realistic to allow Israel to continue to spit in the face of the international community because any criticism might be “anti-Semitic”??
Yes -only realistic solutions, indeed….
“These questions weren’t asked when the Germans had to move their people out of Poland and Austria etc. ”
I hope you will agree that the expulsion of the ethnic German populations of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, the Baltic states etc. (but not Austria), who had lived there for centuries, was a terrible injustice. It is just that no one at the time really cared about them, because they were collectivelt held responsible for the Nazi atrocities.
No – I’m not talking about long established, ethnic German communities . And I’m not very learned in that area, truth be told. But from what you describe I would probably see it as a terrible injustice as well.
I don’t see that in that situation we’re describing in Israel. But even so, I’m not saying that necessarily it has to be a question of all or nothing. I just see it as a zero-sum game from where Israel is sitting.
I had to look up ‘zero-sum game’ to tell you the truth. I found:
In game theory and economic theory, zero-sum describes a situation in which a participant’s gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s).
You cannot apply an idea from game theory or economic theory in this way: You seem to think that the loss and gain will be exacly balanced, but I think it is no way to make up for a historical injustice. Forcibly moving around populations that have established roots in a certain area only means that everybody looses.
It was just a vague way of saying Israel is blackmailing the international community, basically.
I don’t agree obviously in regards to the Israel situation, but I do respect where you’re coming from, which is fair enough…
The issue boils down, I suppose, to the fact that it is impossible to reverse time. A while ago a commenter on this blog asked another commenter: “How would you have voted in 1948? For or against the establishment of a Jewish state?”
That set me thinking of my own response as well of course, and the following has been on my mind for a while:
I can only think that at the time I would have voted as a child of my time and background: I would have been a European who was still reeling from the realization of what we had allowed to happen to our Jewish population, and my frame of thought would have been colonial. So I have no doubt that I would have voted ‘yes’.
But knowing all that has happened since…
Its has been disastrous for the Palestinians, there can be no question about that.
But has the result for the Jewish communities around the world been altogether positive?
I am not just talking about the European Jews, from whom the Zionist idea originated, and who wanted a place of their own more than ever after the Holocaust: I am often saddened by the demise of the multicolored Jewish communities all over the world that is a by-product of the establishment of Israel.
Mind you: I think it is perverse to count the forcible expulsion of the Jewish communities from a number of Arab countries – which Dori referred to – as a result of the establishment of Israel. That was an outrage and totally uncalled for. (It should not, and would not have been a result of the establishment of Israel, if the governments of these countries had treated their Jewish citizens with any kind of justice.)
I am talking about another thing: The slow drain of the young and enterprising from Jewish communities in economically less developed countries all over the world, communities that are not facing expulsion. This drain is making these communities slowly die.
Because of what happened to the ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe, Germany has a law that is similar to the law of return of Israel: People of German descent are allowed automatic citizenship in Germany. (I am not too familiar with the particulars of the law, but it is something like this.) This law has had a devastating effect on minority ethnic German communities in Eastern Europe.
I saw a film a couple of years ago (Neodachino) which documented the slow but steady demise of the Mennonite communities in Siberia, which were being destroyed by this law. It was heartbreaking: The elders of the community begging the young ones, who were leaving one by one to work in the factories of the Ruhrgebiet in Germany, not to abandon the community, trying to remind them of their long history in the region, telling them that it would be worth using their strength to build their community in Siberia, where they could preserve their identity.
In the end, even the sons of the most devoted leader of the community left. It ended with him reading a letter from them, asking him to come and live with them in their little flat in Germany.
When I saw a film recently about the last two elderly Jews in Kabul – where there used to be a thriving Jewish community until a few years ago – I was reminded of Neodachino. These two old men insisted that the Taliban had not bothered them. Instead, they said, it was the lure of economic opportunities in Israel that had drained their community. It was just as in Neodachino: The same slow demise, the same story of the elders of the community begging the young ones not to abandon them, telling them about their long history in the country, the same letters (this time from Israel) asking them to come. And in this case, just as in case of the Mennonites, I wondered: Are these young ones in the end so much happier in Germany and Israel? So much happier that it is worth the destruction of these communities?
Let me just say that I am really glad that I did not have to vote in 1948, and be responsible for all the consequences that followed from that vote.
Elisabeth, I agree with you completely that it was inexcusable for Arab governments to restrict the rights of their Jewish citizens in reaction to events in Palestine. However, in general Jews were not expelled from Arab countries, and their exodus was a direct result of Zionist actions, and more often than not was directly engineered by the Zionists. In Egypt it was the Lavon affair, in Iraq it was a combination of factors, not the least of which was the bribing by the Zionists of the corrupt Nouri Sa`id with contracts for his family to transport the Jews from Iraq to Israel.
The exodus of the Jews from Arab countries is a far more complex story than the hasbara suggests, and is a bit different for each country. In the end, though, it was a great loss for the Arab countries, especially those such as Iraq, Egypt, and Yemen, whose Jewish communities were an integral part of society. Further, those Jews were treated very badly in Israel, which was envisioned by its founders as a European country, not an Asian or “oriental” one, and to a significant extent they are still second class citizens.
The Germans in East Europe had lived there often for centuries. As we know from history nation states are a relative new invention, also in Europe. The difference between the Germans in East Europe and Jews in Israel/Palestine is that most Jews in Israel have lived there a short time and many of those Jewish citizens live now in reality abroad (0.5 to one million). The Germans of the East had to pay the price Hitler’s lebensraum dreams even they as individuals had little or nothing to do with those. It would be unrealistic to believe that there had not been ethnic cleansing of Germans in the end of this costly and brutal war. Also the more violently Israel behaves the more costly will the “solution” be one day to the Jewish population in Israel.
Israel in all possible and impossible factual connections portrays itself as a European country, not a Middle Eastern and an Asian country which it is if we use the map. Israel “sings” in the European song tournament and participates in European sport events, but not actively in Asian events. Israel has more spiritual, cultural and economical ties to USA and Europe and more or less openly loathes the surrounding region, their religions, culture and habits. Everyone knows these facts but speaking about them seems to be a taboo.
Lieberman and his over one million Soviet Jew brothers and sisters are a good example of the problem. Have those people really the moral right to take by force the lands of those who whose ancestors have lived there for centuries using basically thousands of years old incoherent myths, religious beliefs and creative history writing. In any case Jews have created in Israel a country which is no good model. Jews around the world will face hard times if this one religion absolute dominance model will spread and undo all the development on the last hundreds of years.
The question of what is Israel and what is occupied territory isn’t decided by Israel. Not under international law it isn’t.
If might makes right, than maybe. But that’s only a matter of time – and time is short….
Well, Richard, I’m glad you got a laugh out of the “freedom fries” thing, but I for one thought it was an embarrassment that reflected very poorly on America.
As for the “Turkish coffee” affair, Struass-Elite should say, “Yahweh commands us to ignore right-wing morons who claim to speak for Israel but clearly do not, so we will continue to call the product in question ‘Turkish coffee’.”
I always thought the Freedom Fries thing was hilarious, and predictable. Rather than give up the so-called “French” fries altogether and avoid fattening greasy foods, Americans knew their weaknesses, nationalists adopted that Freedom Fries thing… for about 10 minutes…
Can’t israelis just give up Turkish coffee if they feel so strongly about it? Probably not…
How about “National Irrational Blend”?
Speaking of ethnic food, google ‘bagel’ and ‘Siege of Vienna’
(Another action of Turkish peace activists, of course.)
Thank you for your deeply insightful and relevant comment. In Europe that old anecdote is usually told in reference to the croissant though, and not to the bagel.
Some of the posters above referred to the Jews being kicked out of or expelled from Muslim lands? This claim is, though not for the posters concerned of course, a standard item of Zionist apologetics. They were kicked out too so what are those Palestinian Muslims whining about ?
It is important to have a closer look at this and perhaps I am allowed to repeat what I wrote elsewhere years ago:
Some of the biggest Jewish communities were in Morocco and Iraq.
As far as Morocco is concerned I will quote some statements from Professor Pinto, a Jewish Dutchman of Moroccan origin, who was then (and perhaps still is) president of the European Federation of Moroccan Jews. The quote is from the Dutch paper “De Telegraaf” of 9/20/2005.
“Many young Dutch people of Moroccan origin don’t realise, according to Pinto, that Morocco was for a long time a quite pleasant land for Jews to live in.” In my time there were 300,000 Jews living in Morocco” said the Professor who moved to Holland in 1963. Jews could function in all sections of society, he said. There was absolutely no question of discrimination.
Pinto refers to the adviser of King Mohammed VI, A.Azoulay, as an example of the fact that Jews and Moroccans can live well together.”
Thus far Pinto.
What also seems to be forgotten is that, when in 1940 the German controlled French Vichy government issued racist laws excluding Jews from public functions and obliging them to wear the yellow star of David, Sultan Mohammed V refused to apply these laws in his country, then still a French colony, and made a point of inviting Moroccon rabbis to the enthronement celebrations.
It is true that after the foundation of Israel there have been locally some anti-Jewish riots but it is to me an open question to what extent the migration of the Moroccon Jews was a matter of the push from Morocco or the pull of Israel.
At any case, according to Job Cohen, Mayor of Amsterdam, who a few years ago visited the place, the remaining Jewish population there is doing quite well.
Also, King Hassan II issued invitations for the Jewish migrants to return. These seem not to have been taken up.
As far as Iraq is concerned:
Let me start with a quote from an erstwhile Iraqi Jew:
“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.” Naeim Giladi
When I first encountered this article from which this quote is taken, on the internet, I took some trouble to get some more information regarding his claim that the Jewish community in Iraq was around 1950 driven out by a bombing campaign inspired by Israel. This is what I found. If anybody has more information on this I would be pleased to hear about it.
Giladi himself referred to the late Wilbur Crane Eveland, erstwhile CIA operative, whose book “Ropes of Sand: America’s Failure in the Middle East”, N.Y. Norton 1980, was quite unwelcome to the foreign policy establishment.
Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht, who wrote an equally unwelcome book that was suppressed after the first print run of 7,000 copies (The fate of the Jews: a people torn between Israeli power and Jewish ethics, New York Times Books 1983) quotes extensively from Eveland:
“Just after I arrived in Baghdad an Israeli citizen had been recognized in the city’s largest department store: his interrogation led to the discovery of fifteen arms caches brought into Iraq by an underground Zionist movement. 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’…”
Indeed, the habitual assertion is that the two Jews who were hung for the affair after a trial had been ‘falsely accused’. I don’t know of any evidence that can lead to that assertion. And in case any one sniffs at the idea that the Iraqi police of around 1950 could come up with such a thing as reliable evidence s/he should consult the book of David Hirst, Middle East correspondent for the Guardian and contributor to such publications as the Christian Science Monitor, The Nation and others.
Hirst is in “The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East” 1977, 1st ed., reissued 2003, quite emphatic about these Zionist bombings and he provides some further evidence for them.
As Eveland mentioned above, the whole affair started rolling when an Israeli citizen was recognized in a Baghdad department store by a Palestinian refugee.
This Israeli, Yehudah Tajjar, was in the first instance sentenced to life imprisonment, but released after ten years. He broke Jewish silence on this Zionist conspiracy when he was back in Israel. This led, in 1966, to a publication in the weekly magazine Ha’olam Hazeh. The full story was published, in 1972, in the organ of militant Sephardim Jews “The Black Panther”, which also drew on the testimony of two Israeli citizens who were in Baghdad at the time, a certain Kaduri Salim and an Iraqi lawyer, then living in Tel Aviv.
The Black Panther article is apparently very bitter about the fact that Iraqi Jews were ‘induced’ in this way to move to Israel. David Hirst quotes its statement that a community that “ruled over most of the resources of Iraq … was turned into a ruled group, discriminated against and oppressed in every aspect”. This transformation took place in Israel.
One of those erstwhile Iraqi Jews is Ella Shohat, Professor of media and cultural studies at the City University of New York (CUNY). In her article “Rupture and Return : A Mizrahi Perspective on the Zionist Discourse” she is quite categorical on the Zionist bombings. She writes:
“The displacement of Iraqi Jews for example was not, simply, a choice of the Arab Jews themselves. Even if some Arab-Jews expressed a desire to go to Israel, or to “Zion”, the question is why, suddenly, after millennia of not doing so, would they leave overnight? I would argue that Arab-Jewish displacement was the product of complex circumstances in which panic rather than desire for Aliya was the key factor. The ‘in-gathering’ seems less natural when one takes into account the circumstances forcing their departure: the efforts of the Zionist underground in Iraq to undermine the authority of the community leaders such as that of Hassam Sasson Khturi, Zionist attempts to place a ‘wedge’between the Jewish and Muslim communities, for example by placing bombs in synagogues to generate anti-Arab panic on the part of Jews…”
Who smuggled the weapons, for the Zionist organization called “The Movement”, into Iraq. Hirst quotes a letter from Yigal Allon, then chief of the Palmach commandos and later Foreign Minister of Israel, which seems to reveal that his group was responsible for this ( below I will quote Ben Cohen regarding a telling statement by Allon on this).
In his article Neve Shalom / Wahat al-Salam, Israel, published in the School for Peace Annual Review, January 2001, Yehudah Shenhav also refers to the bombing as if it is a matter that is commonly known. He writes:
“Around this time, working undercover as representatives of Solel Boneh, Israeli Mossad agents began underground activities in Iraq. All of a sudden there was an explosion in the Mas’uda Shem Tov synagogue and immediately afterwards 24,000 Jews registered to leave the country. Abbas Shiblak describes in his book how each time there was a fall in registration, another bomb went off followed by another mass exodus. Five of these bombs did the job”.
Shenhav also makes short shrift with the ‘argument’ that Israel did not even want these Iraqi Jews because they were deemed to be inferior to its own Ashkenaze elite. He writes:
“The Zionist movement began to pay attention to Mizrahi Jewry in the years 1941 – 1942. It was then that Ben Gurion introduced his ‘one million plan’ Anticipating that many Jews will be annihilated by Nazi persecution causing problems for the Zionist movement, Ben Gurion decided that a plan must be introduced based on Jews from Arab lands. In 1950 an agreement was reached with Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri Sa’id, as a result of which a law was passed allowing Jews to forfeit their Iraqi citizenship and leave the country without their property.”
Is there any scholarly weight now to the publications that have denied that there was a Zionist conspiracy here? The most authoritative of these seems to me the book by the Israel historian Moshe Gat, entitled “The Jewish Exodus from Iraq, 1948 -1951” London: Frank Cass, 1997.
Daniel Pipes, the auctor intellectualis of ‘campus watch’, says, in his review of this book, inter alia:
“The author puts to rest the notion that Israeli agents used terrorism to get Iraqi Jews to make aliyah; ‘there was no connection between the bomb-throwing incidents and the departure of the Jews'”.
The scholar who reviewed the book for the Journal of Palestine Studies (in Vol.27, No.4, Summer 1998), Ben Cohen, was considerably less complacent on this point.
“Gat lists a number of writers who have concluded that Israel was behind these attacks to terrorize the Jews into leaving. For Gat, however, it is ‘unlikely that there will ever be’ a definitive answer to the question of responsibility (p.187). But then he exonerates Israel in an example of the periodic inconsistencies that mar the text; he argues that the Zionist underground would not have adopted such a risky strategy at a time when the Iraqi police was closing in on them (p.186). Yet, he does not consider the possibility that leading Iraqis, whose pockets were being lined, turned a blind eye; nor does he take into account Yigal Allon’s admission, in comments on the ‘Lavon affair’ of 1954 (i.e. a Zionist bombing campaign in Egypt – AB) that such a method of operation – a bombing campaign – ‘was first tried in Iraq’ “
Thanks Arie, this is great information, and I must admit I did not know much about that aspect. I shall do further reading in that direction and you provided some great prompts here!
I am not sure that Naeim Giladi is the most convincing source. Much of his evidence falls a bit short in my view.
I had heard of the theory that the bombings in Bagdad were the work of Zionist organizations wanting the get the Iraqi Jews to leave, but I did not know how serious it was to be taken. (More serious than I thought, it seems.)
Morocco is often quoted as an example of a country with an excellent record in its treatment of the Jewish minority, but what about other countries?
I know that the Jews expelled from Arab countriess are used as a propaganda tool to distract attention from the Palestinian refugees (who would in any case not be responsable for any of this) but surely the issue is not entirely made up??
I saw your comment just now, thanks Shirin.
Thanks for this information. Why not move Mizrachi Jews back to Iraq today? They could turn it into a “Startup Nation”
A little unrealistic don’t you think considering that non-Muslims in Iraq seem to be under threat and an endangered species? Some day, though I would love to see a Jewish community restored to Iraq and other Arab countries like Lebanon.
It will take a while in Iraq but I have great hopes for Lebanon:
I didn’t see your long post before answering the guy with the Hasbara “the-Jews-were-kicked-out”-struff. I recommended to read Naim Giladi, Ella Shofat and Shenhav too. Just so that you won’t think that I ‘stole’ your informations 😀
Shohat, not Shofat.
Nice revisionist history, Brand. If things were so great in the Arab countries, why do Israeli who came from them have such bitter memories about how they were treated, in general?
I have a friend from Iraq. He told me about the Farhud massacre of Jews in 1941, which you leave out. This is before the rise of the state of Israel. He told me about the constant general feeling of insecurity for Jews there. So was it hard for Jews in 1949-50 to think it might happen again, especially considering what was happening to Jews in places like Aleppo where there were riots at the time of the declaration of Israel’s independence.
Regarding the myth about how good things were in Morocco..it is true the king did not allow Nazi persecution there. But there was massive antisemitism, which George Orwell wrote about in 1939 (and he was an anti-Zionist) in an article called “Marrakesh” which is available on-line. I have a friend who was born there. He told me how his grandfather was almost lynched one time because he was a Jews, the pogrom in Fez and, again, the general feeling of insecurity.
Decolonialization in the Arab countries led the Muslim populations to turn against both the Christian and Jewish populations who were viewed as benefitting from close association with the colonial powers. The Christian population of the Middle East had dropped preciptously in the last 60 years. Even if Israel never had arisen, most of the Jews would have been forced to leave the Arab countries.
No, not revisionist. Only “revisionist” for dyed in the wool classical Zionists like you who refuse to believe or concede that your ideological forebears engaged in terribly nasty strategems to force Arab Jews to emigrate. What Arie has presented are historical facts which it in inconvenient for you to grapple w. honestly.
No one is denying there was some level of hostility fr. local Muslim citizens in these countries toward the Jews. But the diff. bet “some anti Semitic hostility” and an orchestrated campaign of violence inducing the Jews to flee is monumental.
This is a typical one of yr sweeping generalizations supported w/o a source, link or quotation. No one is contending that life for Jews in Arab lands was idyllic (was life for Jews in Europe much better?). But you string together a few unsupported anecdotes, a name of an essay w. no quotation fr it & expect that anyone here will attach any crediblity to what you say.
The Pope just made a statement about this today noting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict contributes to the overall hostility of Muslims toward non-Muslims among them, which contributes to anti-Christian sentiment in those countries. The fanatial support of Christian ZIonists like John Hagee can’t help much either.
A completely unsupported, ridiculous ahistorical statement.
“The Pope just made a statement about this today noting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict contributes to the overall hostility of Muslims toward non-Muslims among them, which contributes to anti-Christian sentiment in those countries.”
Although the pope said that, I belive that in general the majorities don’t like the minorities in their contries. I don’t believe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a major issue here.
Oh dear, I wish I had more time for this topic right now.
The Farhud was so significant because it was a singular event that shocked not only the Jewish community, but the rest of Iraqis as well. The Farhud happened as a result of a very particular set of events and circumstances, and involved a very limited portion of non-Jewish Iraqis. There were also many, many instances in which Muslim and Christian Iraqis risked, and in some cases lost their lives protecting Jewish friends, neighbors, and colleagues. And yet, after the Farhud, the Jewish community continued to invest heavily in its institutions and its presence in the community, and on the whole did not indicate any inclination to go elsewhere. And oddly, when the doors were opened for Jews to emigrate, there was not exactly a headlong rush toward mass emigration. Furthermore, migration to Israel nearly came to a complete halt when Iraqi Jews began receiving communications from friends and relatives who HAD gone telling them not to come, that the experience there was anything but positive.
In the absence of The Zionist-Arab conflict (which bar_kochba132 doesn’t seem to realize predates 1948), the fate of Jews in Arab countries would have been very different.
Well, well, with a name as bar kochba, i’m not surprised 😀 Google some serious stuff on the British manipulation in the Farhud massacre. That was a typical example of their “divide-and-rule” policy.
From the very interesting “road-movie “ROUTE 181” by Palestinian Michel Khleifi and the Israeli exiled Eyal Sivan. You don’t hear those people too much in Israel, I’ve been told:
I’m sorry. It’s in Hebrew with French subtitles. There’s an Italian version, too. I couldn’t find an English one.
About George Orwell and Marrakesh: I have great respect for Orwell but he was only a tourist there. Professor Pinto actually lived in Morocco and though his judgment might be colored by a bit of nostalgia yet I would rather rely on that than on Orwell’s necessarily superficial impressions.
Reading this blog is an such an education — thanks to all of you for all your comments which help me, a WASP from South Dakota, understand events in the past and present on this very complicated issue in the Middle East. And another big THANK YOU to Richard for making all of this possible with his blog.
In Iraq, before the Farhud massacre of Jews in Iraq in 1941, there was a massacre of Assyrian Christians in Iraq, in the 1930s. Then there was the massacre of Kurds with poison gas in the 1980’s. Then there was the public hanging of several Jews in 1970 (“good Jews” who weren’t in Israel), then there is the ongoing mutual massacre of Shi’ites and Sunnis.
Waiting to here Shirin’s explanation for those (let me guess-“one-time singular events, the fault of the British, the fault of the Americans, the fault of the Zionists, the fault of the Martians, etc”)
And you think this type of sectarian violence is limited to Iraq or even Muslim countries? Kosovo anyone? Bosnia anyone? Rwanda anyone? Burundi anyone? NOrthern Ireland anyone? Darfur anyone?
Most of the “sectarian” violence in Iraq has not really been sectarian anyway, but political. One of the realities that has been very conveniently ignored is how much of the intra-Iraqi violence has not been even remotely sectarian, but among different Shi`a groups competing for dominance.
It always surprises me, given Zionism’s and Israel’s rich and full list of massacres and atrocities just in the last seventy years or so, how eager some people are to bring up the relatively small number of such events that have occurred elsewhere.
Oh, and isn’t it interesting that they seem to think that the only people who have ever been publicly hanged in Iraq are Jews, and that, of course, they were hanged simply because they WERE Jews and for no other reason, justified or unjustified.