Indigenous Middle Eastern Jewry, from Lebanon, Morocco, and Iran, have issued recent condemnations of the Israeli assaults on Lebanon and Palestine.
The first here is from the Jews of Lebanon website. Lebanese Jewry goes back to 1000 B.C., and did not empty out in 1948, as many Middle Eastern Jewish populations did, most emigrating to Israel. The bulk of Lebanese Jewry left during the Lebanese civil wars from 1975-92. There are some 100 members of the community remaining today.
According to Ed Corrigan in the Journal of the Middle East Policy Council, Winter 1990-91, Number 35, Beirut Jewry had close ties with the Palestinian community:
Two little-known facts are that the PLO helped protect the Beirut Jewish community (and also the American embassy) during the Lebanese Civil War, and it was the Israelis who destroyed their synagogue during the siege of Beirut. [Some 60 Muslims and Jews were sheltering in the synagogue when its roof was blown off by IDF fire – WW4] Nor has it been widely publicized that nine Palestinian Jews were among the victims of the Sabra and Shatila massacre.
From the Jews of Lebanon website:
Condemnation of the War in Lebanon
July 26, 2006
We once again renew our appeal for people to differentiate between Zionism and Judaism and ultimately between our mission and the current crisis in our beloved Lebanon. Hundreds have been killed in the latest violence between Israel and Lebanon and we pray that this will open the door to a final and comprehensive peace agreement. Though we believe in the universal principal of the right to self-defense we condemn the indiscriminate and disproportionate response from the State of Israel. Ultimately, we condemn the violence wholeheartedly.
Our heartfelt condolences to the innocent lives that are lost in this conflict- whether Lebanese and Israeli.
At the end of the site’s mission statement, it says:
Long Live the Lebanese (no matter what their religious convictions are!)
“Lebanon…not a nation but a message”
One of the three prisoners Hezbollah wants freed from Israeli jail is Nasser Nissim, an Israeli citizen of Lebanese origin, with a Jewish mother and Shi’ite father. He was convicted of spying for Hezbollah in 2002. (BBC, July 26)
Moroccan Jewry was once one of the largest Jewish groups in the Middle East. Some of the Berbers in the Atlas mountain range converted to Judaism before Muslim Arab forces invaded, and in fact the Jewish warrior princess Dihya al-Kahina held out against the invaders for 40 years at the end of the seventh century, C.E. The Jewish Virtual Library says Moroccan Jews numbered 250,000-265,000 in 1948, after which Jews left for Israel. Today some 5,230 remain. The current Israeli Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, is Moroccan-born. Abraham Serfaty, perhaps Morocco’s best-known political dissident, was a communist who was tortured and exiled by the current king’s father, Hassan II, only to be invited back by Mohammed VI as a government official. An anti-Zionist, one of Serfaty’s regrets is that he failed to persuade Moroccan Jewry not to leave for Israel.
Moroccan Jews condemn Israeli “crimes” in Lebanon, Palestine
2 August 2006
Text of report by Moroccan news agency MAP
Rabat: A group of Moroccan Jewish intellectuals launched, on Wednesday [2 August], an appeal to “all those who have the privilege of calling themselves Moroccan Jews or Jewish Moroccans to clearly express their indignation and their suffering for the crimes committed by Israel” in Lebanon and Palestine.
In this appeal, a copy of which was sent to the Moroccan news agency MAP, the signatories, Messrs Edmond Amran Elmaleh, Abraham Serfaty and Sion Assidon, invite the Moroccan Jews “here in our country and throughout the world” to “clearly express their indignation and their suffering as men and women for the crimes which are being committed in the name of Israel’s security”.
They also invite them to stand up to demand an end to the bloodbath which is resulting from this suicidal policy of terror, stressing that Qana, the Lebanese village bombarded by the Israeli army, “is the symbol of a policy, that of destruction and the killing of civilians in Gaza and Lebanon, which is continuing as we launch this appeal”.
As far as the signatories are concerned, “Israel is once again possessed by a murderous rage, taking its suicidal policy to its height, with the active diplomatic and logistical complicity of the United States”.
They said that “the State of Israel remains fixed on an invariable objective, namely to force the Palestinian people out of a land which is theirs” by trying to hold the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance responsible for this dialectics which means that repression begets resistance” [quotation marks as received].
According to AP, Aug. 3:
Moroccan Jews: Try local born Peretz for war crimes
Three Jewish Moroccans have submitted Rabat’s high court with a petition against Defense Minister Amir Peretz, accusing the Moroccan-born Israeli of war crimes.
Leftist activist Abraham Tsarfati, author Amran al-Malich and human rights group official Zion Asidon claim Peretz may be tried in their country due to his Moroccan citizenship.
“The criminal terrorist, Zionist Amir Peretz, has retained his Moroccan citizenship and is still registered in Morocco’s census,” the three told reporters during a press conference. “Moroccan law allows the trial of any Moroccan national who has committed war crimes in or out of the country.”
Lawyer Abd al-Rahim Ga’ami, who represents the three, said: “Amir Peretz’s political statements and the orders he has issued to his soldiers have brought about crimes of war and massacres against innocent civilians.”
Persian Jewry goes all the way back to the Babylonian exile in the six century BCE, preceeding the Muslim presence. The community now numbers approximately 15,000-30,000. Iranian Jewry’s position can be precarious — 13 members were arrested for allegedly spying for Israel in 1999, although they’ve since been freed. There is a Jewish representative in the Iranian parliament. The leader of Iran’s Jewish community was outspoken in condemning President Ahmednejad’s Holocaust revisionism. (Washington Post, Nov. 20, 2005)
Shiraz, Fars prov, July 24
The Association of Jews in Iran’s southern city of Shiraz on Monday condemned Zionists’ crimes in attacking the defenseless Lebanese and Palestinian civilians.
In a statement, a copy of which was made available to IRNA on Monday, the Jews said, “We Iranian Jews, like our compatriots voice hatred and resentment against the crimes committed in the region, southern Lebanon and the Palestinian occupied lands, condemning such actions.”
The Jews hoped for an end to all wars, bloodshed and invasions in the world and for the restoration of peace and calm instead.
See our last post on the Lebanon crisis.