I've just recieved Abbas Shiblak's Iraqi Jews: A History which looks fascinating. I think it was the excellent and ever-provocative Lenin's Tomb which first brought this to my attention:

If anyone is interested in the actual history of the Jewish exodus to Israel, you could do worse than read, for instance, Abbas Shiblak's Iraqi Jews: A History of Mass Exodus, 2005, which documents the complicity between the Jewish Agency in Israel and the pro-British Hashemite monarchy in forcing Jews to flee Iraq. Just like the Mizrahi Jews of the Maghreb, the Sephardic Jews in Arab countries were treated by the Zionists as a pool of useful labour, not to mention as footsoldiers for expansionist war.

The publisher blurb runs:

The Jews of Iraq constituted one of the oldest and most deeply rooted Jewish communities in the world. But in the early 1950s most of them left for Israel, under circumstances that remain the subject of heated controversy.

Iraqi Jews: A History examines the role of this community, highlighting the critical years of the late 1940s - after the establishment of the state of Israel - when deep rifts began to appear Iraqi society. The sad sequence of events that finally led to the mass exodus of Jews in the 1950s was marked by dishonesty on all sides.

An honest, impartial and well-documented account of a formerly well-integrated and vibrant community, Iraqi Jews: A History is a landmark in the political and social history of the Middle East.

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