"There was no local Zionist movement in Iraq to serve as a foundation on which the emissaries could build.The Jews of Iraq had not experienced a Zionist “awakening” and did not consider Palestine an attractive option. In 1941, Eliahu Epstein (Elath), from the Jewish Agency’s Political Department, had already met with a group of affluent Iraqi Jews who had fled to Tehran. However, he was unable to convince them to settle in Palestine and invest their capital there. Some of them told him bluntly that they did not believe in Zionism. They explained that they had no intention of displacing the Arabs of Palestine and that migration to Palestine was feasible only for Jews who were indigent or had relatives there. In like fashion, the first meeting of Yishuv emissaries with the Jewish community in Iraq, in 1942, showed how wide was the gulf that separated Iraq’s Jews from the idea of political Zionism. Enzo Sireni, from Kibbutz Givat Brenner, who arrived in Iraq under cover of a Solel Boneh construction worker, but whose real mission was to organize the activity of the emissaries sent by the Mossad l’Aliya Bet (the Yishuv unit that handled illegal Jewish immigration to Palestine), said of Iraq’s Jews, “They lack Zionist political awareness. Even those young people who have organized for Jewish defense ‘have national and human dignity but lack a Zionist outlook and even a Zionist instinct …. Hardly any of them possess Zionist political awareness."
Yehouda Shenhav THE JEWS OF IRAQ, ZION IST IDEOLOGY, AND THE PROPERTY OF THE PALESTINIAN REFUGE ES OF 194 8: AN ANOMALY OF NATIONAL ACCOUNTING (via basedbrezhnev)
Yehouda Shenhav is so…so necessary.
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