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Three Worlds: Memoirs of an Arab-Jew –  Avi Shlaim

 Zionist role in 1950s attacks on Iraqi Jews ‘confirmed’ by operative and police report

British-Israeli historian Avi Shlaim cites ‘incontrovertible evidence’ from former Jewish agent showing Zionists bombed sites to encourage migration to Israel

A police report and an interview with a former Zionist operative form the basis of Avi Shlaim’s claim that he has uncovered “undeniable proof” of Israeli involvement in bombings which drove Jews out of Iraq in the early 1950s, the British-Israeli historian told Middle East Eye.

Shlaim’s autobiography Three Worlds: Memoirs of an Arab-Jew, published earlier this month, details his childhood as an Iraqi Jew and subsequent exile to Israel.

It also includes research about a number of bombings in Iraq which prompted a mass exodus of Jews from the country between 1950 and 1951, most of whom, like he and his family, ended up in Israel.

On Sunday, Shlaim told Middle East Eye that he had uncovered “incontrovertible evidence of Zionist underground involvement in the bombs”.

As part of the evidence, the historian cited an extensive interview he carried out with Yaakov Karkoukli, a former member of the Zionist underground in Baghdad in the 1950s.

Karkoukli – who was aged 89 when he spoke to Shlaim for the book – was an associate of Yusef Basri, a Zionist intelligence operative in Iraq who was convicted by Iraqi authorities of having carried out bombings targeting Iraqi Jews.
‘Terrorise and not kill’

The bombings at the time included attacks on a coffee shop, a car dealership and a synagogue, among other attacks on Jewish communities and businesses.

Karkoukli said that Basri carried out three of those attacks on Jewish sites upon the orders of Meir Max Bineth, an Israeli intelligence officer who supplied Basri with grenades and TNT explosives.

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The Israeli government has denied any link to the Baghdad bombings, and blamed Iraqi nationalists for the attacks on the Iraqi Jews. However, according to Shalom Cohen, when the Lavon affair broke in Israel, Lavon remarked, “This method of operating was not invented for Egypt. It was tried before in Iraq.”[64]

The Iraqi Jewish anti-Zionist[65] author Naeim Giladi maintains that the bombings were “perpetrated by Zionist agents in order to cause fear amongst the Jews, and so promote their exodus to Israel.”[66] This theory is shared by Uri Avnery,[67] who wrote in My friend, the enemy that “After the disclosure of the Lavon Affair… the Baghdad affair became more plausible”[14] and Marion Wolfsohn.[67]

Palestinian historian Abbas Shiblak believes that the attacks were committed by Zionist activists and that the attacks were the pre-eminent reason for the subsequent exodus of Iraqi Jews to Israel.[18] Shiblak also argues that the attacks were an attempt to sour Iraq-American relations, saying “The March 1951 attack on the US Information Centre was probably an attempt to portray the Iraqis as anti-American and to gain more support for the Zionist cause in the United States”.[22] Wikipedia

Three Worlds: Memoirs of an Arab-Jew Hardcover –  Avi Shlaim

In July 1950, Avi Shlaim, only five, and his family were forced into exile, fleeing from their beloved Iraq into the new state of Israel.

Now the rump of a once flourishing community of over 150,000, dating back 2,600 years, has dwindled to single figures. For many, this tells the story of the timeless clash of the Arab and Jewish civilisations, the heroic mission of Zionism to rescue Eastern Jews from their backwards nations, and unceasing persecution as the fate and history of Jewish people.

Avi Shlaim tears up this script. His mother had many Muslim friends in Baghdad, but no Zionist ones. The Iraqi Jewish community, once celebrated for its ancient heritage and rich culture, was sprayed with DDT upon arrival in Israel. As anti-Semitism gathered pace in Iraq, the Zionist underground may have inflamed it – deliberately.

This memoir celebrates the disappearing heritage of Arab-Jews – caught in the crossfire of secular ideologies.