----------------

MrBagel Funny: Latest Joke Listed

MrBagel News: Hottest News Stories

Bodgey Bagels Latest Caption Contest

Mr Bagels Latest Cartoon

Mr Bagel Latest Videos

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Blogger has Polls!

Polls: out of draft!
As of today, the Polls feature has graduated from Blogger in Draft, and is now an official Page Element on www.blogger.com! Polls lets you add a poll to your blog's sidebar, which your visitors can vote on and see results. This video shows how to create a poll:

video

For more information about the Polls feature, see these posts on the Draft blog.

This is one feature I personally have been waiting for, its just so clumsy to create polls for Blogger Blogs, well no longer its a push of a button!

To see this groovy new feature check the left hand top of Mr Bagels side Bar. There you will find a poll on Gilad Shalit!


Thanks to Eric from Blogger for the update and tips


Read More...

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Shortage of Gas Masks in Israel

A IDF issue Gas Mask

Jerusalem Post learns of shortage in gas masks


While tension is mounting in the Golan Heights and senior defense officials are warning of the possibility of imminent war with Syria, less than 50 percent of the population will have their gas masks renewed by the end of the year, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The cabinet on Sunday decided to cut NIS 480 million from the overall defense budget - mostly from administrative expenses - and instead redirect the funds to the Home Front Command and for defense procurement.

In total, the defense establishment received in Sunday's decision NIS 400 million for procurement of new weaponry and military platforms as well as NIS 344m. for the home front, out of which NIS 110m. is designated for the renewal of gas masks.

Syria is believed to have a large stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. According to the Global Security Web site, the Syrian arsenal is comprised mostly of large amounts of Sarin and mustard gas and is reportedly producing and weaponizing VX. The US, the report says, has estimated Syria to possess several hundred liters of chemical weapons with hundreds of tons of agents produced annually.

Acknowledging that the population's gas masks will not be renewed and effective for at least another two years, defense officials told the Post Sunday that the IDF Home Front Command was currently considering proposals, if the need arises, to make emergency purchases of gas masks from Israeli and American companies.

A Bedouin woman is helped with trying on a civilian Gas Mask
If war were to break out in the coming months, the Home Front Command would only have enough gas masks for 1.5 million adults and half-a-million children.

The shortage in gas masks stems from a 2003 Defense Ministry decision to collect the public's gas masks, a project that only began at the beginning of 2007. Due to a lack of funds, the project was recently suspended and is expected to be renewed - following Sunday's government decision - in the coming weeks.

"This situation could be interpreted as neglect," a senior official told the Post. "If war breaks out and non-conventional weapons are used then we could find ourselves in a major crisis."

Meanwhile the Post has learned that the defense establishment plans to set up a National Emergency Administration in the coming weeks that will integrate the IDF, Israel Police, Magen David Adom and Fire and Rescue Service and which will have a headquarters at the Kirya military complex in Tel Aviv.

The administration - the brainchild of former deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh - will serve as a war room at a time of emergency and be responsible for collecting all information from emergency services and presenting updated reports to the military and political leadership.

Following the government's decision to cut half a billion shekels from the defense budget on Sunday, military and defense officials warned that the government's decision will come at the expense of training and equipment for reservists.

Before the cabinet vote, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned the ministers of what will happen if the defense budget is cut. "National responsibility obligates us not to harm the defense budget," he said. "The government needs to properly assess the situation in the home front and the threats Israel is facing and to provide them with financial support."


Children in kindergarten with their gas masks during the Gulf War in 1991.

Defense officials said that following the decision to cut the budget they will now need to decide which projects to suspend or even completely shut down. A senior IDF officer said that the procurement of anti-missile defense systems for tanks could become the first victim of the new fiscal decrees.

In addition, he warned, reservist units would also be subjected to cuts and the IDF might be forced to suspend the procurement of new equipment needed to refill emergency warehouses.


Bagel's Thoughts
When I read this story, I immediately thought of my friend Yid with Lid, and just couldn't stop chuckling at the kind of headline he might write.

He wouldn't be so worried about being a gas mask short as long as it was only 1 and it was Olmerts.

Any way, I was thinking recently, that things seem to be hotting up on the border of Syria, and how a government such as Israels might actually try to prepare for war and all its possible outcomes with out actually starting one in the process of preparing.

Apart from the obvious military preparations that would be needed, (obvious for most, but lets cut the military budget any way) , one of the concerns I went through was how would you deal with the issue/ re issue of civilian gas masks.

I think its fair to say that Israel is a rather unique democratic state in the world of politics. Its not just the usual percentage of the population who aren't happy with the current government, there's also a large contingent of the population who would actually support the total defeat of the state of Israel.

With this background it kind of makes it hard to distribute and re-issue millions of gas masks quietly with out 'arising suspicion'.

I said to myself last week, as soon as I saw an article come out of Israel about a shortage of gas masks, then it might just be an indicator of possible hostilities breaking out in the future..

Less than a week later, I'm reading this JPost article.

Anyway browsing Ebay I came across this little bargain:

Israel Military Gas Masks MIB US$5, US$5 , US$5
the astute observer will notice that they are actually civilian masks,

Now with the news there's a shortage of gas masks in Israel right now, maybe theres a bargain to be had on Ebay.

Seems there's a shortage of common sense in the Knesset, I wonder if they have any of that for sale on Ebay?

Mr Bagel isn't making light of the situation, in fact the need for Israel's civilian population to be so readily prepared for the hostile use of WMD is a sad indictment of the lengths its neighbor(s) may goto.

Read More...

'Israel' banned from Canadian passports

A federal policy that bans Canadians from listing Jerusalem, Israel, as their birthplace on their passport does not violate the Charter of Rights, the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal has ruled.

Right: Eliyahu Veffer points to the information on his passport.

In 2006, Eliyahu Veffer, a 19-year-old Canadian citizen born in Jerusalem, requested that the minister of foreign affairs list Israel as his country of birth on his Canadian passport. His request was rejected, and last week a three-judge panel ruled against his appeal.

"Mr. Veffer has not been discriminated against in that his human dignity has not been invaded," the judges wrote. "Mr. Veffer still maintains the freedom to express his faith and his subjectively held views as to the status of Jerusalem, he is just not able to do so in his Canadian passport."

The decision maintains that the ban on listing Israel as the birth country alongside Jerusalem is not discriminatory, despite the fact that Israel is the only country that is banned from being listed when cities in disputed territories are concerned.

The appeals court wrote that Veffer's passport was no more than a travel document showing proof of citizenship and "there is no evidence that the absence of a country name beside Jerusalem hinders his ability to travel in any way."

Veffer immigrated to Canada with his family nine years ago. He is now a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The ruling emphasized that Canada's refusal to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel was consistent with the UN's stance on the issue.

"We are of the view therefore that a reasonable person in the position of Mr. Veffer would consider the special status of Jerusalem under international law and would not be offended by the current Passport Canada policy," the judges wrote.

But according to Veffer's lawyer, David Matas, an honorary senior counsel to B'nai B'rith, the purpose of the court was not to talk about the status of Jerusalem.

"The problem is rather that Canadian policy, which says that you can choose when it comes to disputed territories, does not apply to Israel," he said.

Matas said the reason for this exception was that if Canada allowed choice with regard to Israel, it would compromise its involvement in the peace process.

"This is facetious argumentation, since Canada won the peace prize in the old days when you could put Jerusalem, Israel, on your passport," he said.

Veffer has 90 days from the day of the ruling to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Bagelblogger: Why is it, in almost every case Israel is treated differently. Access to the Kotel was denied to Jews when parts of Jerusalem were in the hands of Jordan for almost 20 years.
Since Israel has had control of Jerusalem the desecration of religious sites has stopped and far greater access has been given to all three monotheistic religions.


References:
JPost: 'Israel' banned from Canadian passports


Read More...

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Pope Benedict XVI revives old Latin Mass
Including a prayer to convert Jews


Latin mass a 'body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations,'

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday removed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin mass, reviving a rite all but swept away by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

The decision, a victory for traditional, conservative Roman Catholics, came over the objections of liberal-minded Catholics and angered Jews because the Tridentine mass contains a Good Friday prayer for their conversion.

Benedict issued a document authorizing parish priests to celebrate the Tridentine rite if a ''stable group of faithful'' requests it.

The Anti-Defamation League called the move a ''body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations,'' the Jewish news agency JTA reported.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged Benedict to point out publicly that such phrases ''are now entirely contrary to the teaching of the church.''

In reviving the rite, Benedict was reaching out to the followers of an excommunicated ultratraditionalist, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who split with the Vatican over Vatican II.

Mr Bagel: I'm sure Jews will start burning down churches any day now, seems its so much easier to take actions that are seen to be anti Jewish than Anti Islamic. A rumor that Mel Gibson will be guest officiating the First Latin Mass has not been substantiated.

UPDATE: Although I'm not a Catholic theologian, and have little interest in Catholic prayers, I actually bothered to read the English translation of the Latin Mass. I've been informed by a commenter on my blog,[thankyou to bryan] that the particular offending prayer which is featured in the Latin Mass is only ever read during the Easter Triduum, and will not be read due to a Papal prohibition of not reading the Latin Mass during
the Easter Triduum. If this is the case then the prohibition is noteworthy.

It is also of worthy note thou, that the return and usage of the Latin Mass by some in the Catholic Church, may indicate a return to a more 'ultra conservative' dogma, which may be viewed by some warily.

References:
Chicago Sun Times: Latin Mass a 'body blow to catholic - Jewish relations,' group says

Read More...

Monday, 9 July 2007

Why Jews Fled the Arab Countries
An article written 12 years ago is even more relevant today.


I came across the article on the internet, and to be frank, I often read articles to gain an historical perspective of both what may have happened in history, but also to get 'the feeling' of what was culturally happening in the era the article was written.

This particular article is even more relevant today than it was back then in 1995. If you have any interests in the middle east, politics, history and culture I implore you to read this article.

Mr Bagel



Why Jews Fled the Arab Countries

by Ya'akov Meron
Middle East Quarterly
September 1995

Ya'akov Meron holds a doctorate in law from the Faculté de Droit de Paris and is an authority on Islamic law and the law of Arab countries. He was a member of the Israeli delegation to negotiate the peace treaty with Egypt and to solve the Taba issue.

COORDINATING A PROGRAM OF EXPULSION

In a key address before the Political Committee of the U.N. General Assembly on November 14, 1947, just five days before that body voted on the partition plan for Palestine, Heykal Pasha, an Egyptian delegate, made the following key statement in connection with that plan:

The United Nations . . . should not lose sight of the fact that the proposed solution might endanger a million Jews living in the Moslem countries. Partition of Palestine might create in those countries an anti-Semitism even more difficult to root out than the anti-Semitism which the Allies were trying to eradicate in Germany. . . If the United Nations decides to partition Palestine, it might be responsible for the massacre of a large number of Jews.

Heykal Pasha then elaborated on his threat:

A million Jews live in peace in Egypt [and other Muslim countries] and enjoy all rights of citizenship. They have no desire to emigrate to Palestine. However, if a Jewish State were established, nobody could prevent disorders. Riots would break out in Palestine, would spread through all the Arab states and might lead to a war between two races.1

Heykal Pasha's thinly veiled threats of "grave disorders," "massacre," "riots," and "war between two races" did not at the time go unnoticed by Jews;2 for them, it had the same ring as the proposition made six years earlier by the Palestinian leader Hajj Amin al-Husayni to Hitler of a "final solution" for the Jews of Arab countries, including Palestine. But the statement appears to have made no lasting impression, to the point that a historian of the Jews in Egypt has described Heykal Pasha as "a well-known liberal."3

Particularly noteworthy is that although Heykal Pasha spoke at the United Nations in his capacity as a representative of Egypt, he continuously mentioned the Jews "in other Muslim countries" and "all the Arab states," suggesting a level of coordination among the Arab governments. Indeed, four days after his statement, Iraq's Foreign Minister Fadil Jamali declared at the United Nations that "interreligious prejudice and hatred" would bring about a great deterioration in the Arab-Jewish relationship in Iraq and in the Arab world at large,4 thereby reinforcing the impression that Heykal Pasha was talking not just on behalf of Egypt but for all the independent Arab states. Further confirmation came several days later, after the General Assembly had decided in favor of partitioning Palestine, when, "following orders issued by the Arab League,"5 Muslims engaged in outrages against Jews living in Aden and Aleppo.6

Another indication that Arab rulers coordinated the expulsion of Jews from their terrorites comes from a Beirut meeting one and a half years later of senior diplomats from all the Arab States. By this time, March 1949, the Arab states had already lost the first Arab-Israeli war; they now used this defeat to justify an expulsion that had been officially proclaimed before the war even began. As reported in a Syrian newspaper, "If Israel should oppose the return of the Arab refugees to their homes, the Arab governments will expel the Jews living in their countries."7

According to Walid Khalidi, perhaps the leading Palestinian nationalist historian and a highly reputable source, "The Arabs held their ground throughout the period from November 1947 to March 1948. Up to March 1, not one single Arab village had been vacated by its inhabitants, and the number of people leaving the mixed towns was insignificant."8 The mass departure from Palestine of 590,000 Arabs began only in April 1948; yet , Heykal Pasha had publicly and very formally announced a program to expel Jews from Arab countries fully five months earlier.

To understand how and when the expulsion of Jews from the Arab countries was actually carried out, we look at the Iraqi case in some detail, then others more breifly.

IRAQ

As mentioned above, the Iraqi authorities openly and formally identified themselves with Heykal Pasha's threats just four days after he uttered them. Foreign Minister Jamali addressed the United Nations in this manner:

The masses in the Arab world cannot be restrained. The Arab-Jewish relationship in the Arab world will greatly deteriorate. . . . Harmony prevails among Muslems, Christians and Jews [in Iraq]. But any injustice imposed upon the Arabs of Palestine will disturb the harmony among Jews and non-Jews in Iraq; it will breed interreligious prejudice and hatred.9

By "the masses in the Arab world," Jamali in fact meant his own government, which soon took a series of steps, including anti-Semitic legislation, against its Jewish population. This began with a 1948 amendment to the Penal Code of Baghdad, adding Zionism to other ideologies and behavior (communism, anarchism, and immorality) whose propagation constituted a punishable offense. Laws in 1950 and 1951 the deprived Jews of their Iraqi nationality and their property in Iraq, respectively.10

At times, Iraqi politicians candidly acknowledged that they wanted to expel their Jewish population for reasons of their own, having nothing to do with retaliation for the Palestinian exodus. Perhaps the most interesting incident took place at the tail end of the Israeli war of independence, in late January or early February 1949, when Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Sa'id described a plan to expel Jews from Iraq to Alec Kirkbride, then the British ambassador at Amman, and Samir El-Rifa'i, head of the Jordanian government. Kirkbride recounts that Nuri

Came out with the astounding proposition that a convoy of Iraqi Jews should be brought over in army lorries escorted by armoured cars, taken to the Jordanian-Israeli frontier, and forced to cross the line. Quite apart from the certainty that the Israelis would not consent to receive deportees in that manner, the passage of Jews through Jordan would almost certainly have touched off serious trouble amongst the very disgruntled Arab refugees who were crowded into the country. Either the Iraqi guards would have had to shoot other Arabs to protect the lives of their charges. . .

Samir and I were flabbergasted and our faces must have shown our feelings. . . .

I replied, at once, that the matter at issue was no concern of His Majesty's Government. Samir refused his assent as politely as possible but Nuri lost his temper at being rebuffed and he said: "So, you do not want to do it, do you?" Samir snapped back: "Of course I do not want to be party to such a crime." Nuri thereupon exploded with rage and I began to wonder what the head of the diplomatic mission would do if two Prime Ministers came to blows in his study. We then broke up in disorder, but I got them out of the house whilst preserving a minimum of propriety.11

Nuri probably chose the British embassy in Amman as the site at which to disclose his plan to the head of the Jordanian government because high-ranking British officials had often spoken of the need to exchange Palestinian Arab and Arab Jewish populations,12 and he most likely expected British understanding of, it not support for, his scheme.

Similarly, when Nuri visited Jerusalem on January 13, 1951, he met 'Arif al-'Arif, the Palestinian leader who served as Jordan's district commissioner for Jerusalem. 'Arif asked Nuri to hold up the departure of Jews from Iraq "until the problem of Palestine and of the refugees had been solved," or at least "for one or two years." Nuri refused to do so. Revealingly, his reasons bore only on considerations of internal Iraqi policy:

The Jews have always been a source of evil and harm to Iraq. They are spies. They have sold their property in Iraq, they have no land among us that they can cultivate. How therefore can they live? What will they do if they stay in Iraq? No, no my friend, it is better for us to be rid of them as long as we are able to do so.13

Nuri candidly acknowledges here that he wanted the Jews out of Iraq, and never mind what consequences their exodus might have for the future of the Palestinian Arabs.

In conversation with foreign diplomats, however, Nuri presented the expulsion of Iraq's Jews in a very different light-as an exchange of population. On no less than six occasions in 1949, he made this point with foreigners.

(1) In talks with the U.N. Reconciliation Commission in Baghdad on February 18, 1949 (in other words, even before the Beirut meeting of Arab diplomats in March 1949, when the Arab states coordinated their stand on the matter), he threatened harm to the Jews: "Iraq has thus far been able to protect its 160,000 Jews but . . . unless conditions improve and unless Jews now demonstrated their good faith with deeds not words Iraq might be helpless to prevent spontaneous action by its people."14

(2) To an American diplomat in Baghdad on May 8, 1949, Nuri mentioned his idea of a "voluntary exchange on pro rata basis of Iraqi Jews for Pal[estinian] Arabs," adding the threat that "firebrand Iraqis might take matters into [their] own hands and cause untold misery to thousands [of] innocent persons."15

(3) On August 8, 1949, he raised with an official of the British Foreign Office the idea of "an exchange of population."16

(4) On September 29, 1949, a member of the British embassy in Baghdad reported Nuri's wish "to force an exchange of population under U.N. supervision and the transfer of 100,000 Jews beyond Iraq in exchange for the Arab refugees who had already left the territory in Israeli hands."17

(5) On October 14, 1949, Nuri spoke with U.N. officials about the exchange of "100,000 Baghdad Jews and 80,000 other Jews in Iraq for [an] equivalent number [of] urban Arab Palestinian refugees."18

(6) To the Clapp Mission in 1949,19 Nuri presented the Jewish expulsion from Iraq as part of a population exchange.20

This (and other evidence) leads to the conclusion that while the Iraqi government sought to present the explusion of Jews as a crowd-driven retaliatory act for the exodus of the Arab refugees from Palestine, it in fact had a full-fledged plan in place before the Arab refugee problem even came into existence.

This interpretation resolves a number of historical questions. It explains the origins of the otherwise mysterious legislation in 1950 depriving Jews of their Iraqi nationality. For example, Shlomo Hillel cannot understand how this complete reversal of the Iraqi attitudes happened, and suggests that Nuri Sa'id did not really intend immediately to apply the law.21 This author respectfully disagrees: take into account the U.N. declarations, the anti-Jewish legislation, and the government persecution of Jews, and it becomes clear that the deprivation of Iraqi nationality was but another step in a plan of expulsion.

The Iraqi plan of expulsion also explains the bombing of the Mas'uda Shem Tob Synagogue in Baghdad on January 14, 1951, as Jews were registering there to emigrate to Israel. Zionists have been accused of causing the violence in the hopes of spurring the Jews to leave Iraq, an accusation whose truth so eminent an authority as Elie Kedourie has said "must remain an open question."22 But knowing of the authorities' expulsion plan suggests that not Zionists but Muslim Iraqis were behind the incident . That an Iraqi army officer arrested for throwing the bomb belonged to the opposition Istiqlal Party points to that faction's responsibility.23

OTHER ARAB COUNTRIES

Similar patterns of Jewish exodus existed in other Arabic-speaking countries, including Yemen, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Algeria and Jordan.

Yemen. Yemeni persecution of Jews prompted a trickle of Jewish emigration to Palestine from the third quarter of the nineteenth century on. Heykal Pasha's speech merely added momentum to the longstanding Yemeni policy of discrimination against and degradation of Jews, based on a particularly pedantic interpretation of the Islamic law. A bribe from the American Joint Distribution Committee to Yemen's ruler, Imam Ahmad ibn Yahya, led to his agreeing to the mass exodus of Jews to Israel in 1949-50 by airplane via Aden, an operation known as "On Eagle's Wings" (or, in journalistic lore, "Magic Carpet"). The Jews of Yemen, relying on their own means, sufferng losses of life and deprivations, traversed the desert to Aden by foot and on donkeys. There, the Jewish Agency lodged them in camps and eventually boarded them onto planes that took them to Israel. In this way, some 50,000 Yemeni Jews reached Israel during the two-year period.

We lack information about the Yemeni government's decision-making process. But this case provides the clearest example of Jews' being persecuted and expelled for reasons having to do with Islamic law.

Libya. In Libya, as in Yemen, the exodus of the Jews began even before Heykal Pahsa's declaration at the United Nations. Attacks on Jewish quarters in Tripoli and other cities occurred in 1945, leading to a death toll the British put at 130 Jews.24 In other words, Jews began leaving Libya three years before the establishment of Israel and seven years before Libya gained independence. Their departure turned into a mass exodus as soon as Israel gained independence and the gates opened to Libyan Jewry. As in Iraq, internal policy appears to be the reason both for the Jews' expulsion and for later rhetoric inviting them back.

Syria. In Syria, too, the majority of Jews departed before independence in 1946, and long before Heykal Pasha's statement and the establishment of Israel. As in Yemen and Libya, crude pressure on the Jews of Syria-such as the 1947 pogrom in Aleppo and the rape and murder of four Jewish girls who allegedly tried to smuggle themselves out of Syria-caused a substantial emigration.

While Syria is distinguished from other Arab countries by the fact that its legislation does not manifest discrimination against Jews, Heykal Pasha's policy was indeed applied there, too. The government seized control of Jewish property in Syria on the basis of emergency legislation and gave it to Arab refugees. Thus, Palestinians were settled in Damascus's Jewish ghetto, while the Alliance Israélite Universelle School, finished 1n 1939, became a school for Palestinian children. A diplomat at the French embassy in Damascus intervened with the Syrian authorities about this school and was told that the Syrian Jews had to provide room for the Arab refugees, the latter having been expelled by their Palestinian co-religionsits.25

Egypt. In some cases, the execution of the Arab plan of expulsion extended over a period much longer than that of the military hostilities. In Egypt, the expulsion reached its climax only after the overthrow of the monarchy by disgruntled army officers back from the Palestinian battlefield. In Algeria, which did not attain independence until 1962, the expulsion took place later yet.

Jews in Egypt faced acute problems in the 1940s but these did not set their mass departure in motion. Rioting against Jews occurred in November1945, then resumed in June-November 1948,26 the latter time inspired by the war with Israel. An amendment to the Egyptian Companies Law dated July 29, 1947, required that 40 percent of a company's directors and 75 percent of its employees be Egyptian nationals, causing the dismissal and livelihood of many Jews, 85 percent of whom did not possess Egyptian nationality.27 A letter to the editor of Akhir Sa'a in 1948 offers some insight into the predicament of Egyptian Jews:

It would seem that most people in Egypt are unaware of the fact that among Egyptian Muslisms there are some who have white skin. Every time I board a tram I hear people pointing at me with a finger and saying "Jew," "Jew." I have been beaten more than once because of this. For that reason I humbly beg that my picture (enclosed) be published with the explanation that I am not Jewish and that my name is Adham Mustafa Galeb.28

This testimony rather directly refutes the fine rhetoric of Heykal Pasha about Jews' enjoying "all rights of citizenship."

Cairo was slow in carrying out the plan proclaimed by its own diplomat, Heykal Pasha; only during and after the Suez Crisis of 1956 did Egyptian Jews leave in substantial numbers. At that time, the Egyptian Nationality Law was amended to prohibit "Zionists" from holding Egyptian nationality,29 Army Order no. 4 then confiscated property of individuals and associations;30 and supervision, imprisonment, or expulsion followed. The amendment to the Nationality Law of 1956 defined the term Zionism as "not a religion but the spiritual and material bond between those defined as Zionists and Israel."31 A furthur ministerial decree in 1958 indicates that all Jews between the ages of ten and sixty-five leaving Egypt would be added to the list of persons prohibited from reentering the country.32 Clearly, these decrees had little to do with the Arab refugees of a decade earlier.

Algeria. In Algeria, no significant Jewish emigration occurred until the summer of 1961, and then nearly the entire population was gone within the year.33 Algeria's independence from France was the key event here; Jews were no longer welcome after the French depature. The Algerian Nationality Code of 1963 made this clear by granting Algerian nationality as a right only to those inhabitants whose fathers and paternal grandfathers had Muslim personal status in Algeria.34 In other words, although the National Liberation Front in Algeria was known for its slogan "A Democratic Secular State," it adhered to strictly religious criteria in granting nationality.

Jordan. No Jews lived in Transjordan in 1946 (when it became an independent state), as a result of Winston Churchill's 1921 decision in favor of "preserving [the] Arab character" of Transjordan35 and the resulting British policy forbidding Jews from settling there. Legislation passed in 1954 declared that only non-Jews coming from the former British Mandate of Palestine were entitled to Jordanian citizenship.36 What is so striking about Jordan is that although it lacked a Jewish population, it still shared in the general Arab trend of excluding Jews. Further, it actively discriminated against Lebanese and Syrian Jews.37

SILENCE, DENUNCIATION, AND ACCEPTANCE

A strange silence prevails over the expulsion of the Jews from Arab countries. Out of fifteen books (mainly autobiographies) written by Iraqi politicians and other public figures, only two make any reference to the farhud,38 the Iraqi pogrom of 1941 that first shook feelings among the Jews for the land of their very ancient residence and was the first step in their leaving the country. In his memoirs, Tawfiq as-Suwaydi, head of the Iraqi government and the man with whom the agreement to transport Jews from Baghdad to Israel by air was reached, "does not recall, if only by way of a mere hint, the actual departure of the Jewish communities from his country."39

On the Israeli side, the establishment did little to break the silence about the dire circumstances of the Jewish exodus from Arab countries.40 Quite the contrary, the romantic "magic carpet" image for the migration from Yemen and the "Ezra and Nehemiah Operation" name attached to the Iraqi migration stress the positive, glossing over the unhappy circumstances of the Arab expulsions. Jean-Peirre Péroncel-Hugoz, a Frence orientalist and journalist at Le Monde, notes with surprise "that Israel only very rarely emphasizes the fact that a part if its population left property and space it legitimately owned in the Arab countries of its origin."41

Palestinians are the only Arabs vocally to denounce the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries. This began in January 1951 with a telegram from 'Aarif to the Arab Legue after he failed in his efforts to persuade Nuri to stop the exit of Jews from Iraq. "Were every area of Arab land where Jews reside to retain the Jews and their property as a pledge, two problems would easily be solved, that of Palestine generally and that of the refugees in particular."42 Along these lines, the Palestinian National Covenant calls for sending the Jews back to their lands of origin. Nabil Hga'th, Yasir Arafat's advisor, twenty years ago drew attention to the invitation that the Sudan and Libya sent to "their" Jews to return, and called upon the Arab states to legislate a kind of "Law of Return" for Jews of Arab origins.43

Remarkably, some Palestinians have come to see Jewish sovereignty in Israel in terms of a population exchange, and as the necessary price to be paid for the Arab expulsions. 'Isam as-Sirtawi, who participated in some well-known terrorist operations but later excelled in seeking contact with the Israelis, told Ha-'Olam Ha-zé editor Uri Avneir that he gave up terrorism against Israel and instead began promoting negotiations when he realized that Israel serves as the asylum for Jews expelled from Arab countries; and that there is no going back along that path.44 Sabri Jiryis, director of the Institute of Palestine Studies in Beirut, enumerated in 1975 the factors leading to the establishment of the State of Israel. The Arab states had much to do with this, for they expelled the Jews "in a most ugly fashion, and after confiscating their possessions or taking control thereof at the lowest price." These Jews then

Participated in the reinforcement of Israel, its strengthening and fortification to the degree we see it as present. . . . There is no need to say that the problem of those Jews and their passage to Israel is not merely theoretical, at least from the viewpoint of the Palestinian problem. Clearly, Israel will raise the question in all serious negotiation that may in time be conducted over the rights of the Palestinians. . . . Israel's arguments take approximately the following form: "It is true that we Israelis brought about the exodus of the Arabs from their land in the war of 1948 . . . and that we took control of their property. In return however you Arabs caused the expulsion of a like number of Jews from Arab countries since 1948 until today. Most of these went to Israel after you seized control of their property in one way or another. What happened, therefore, is merely a kind of 'population and property transfer,' the consequences of which both sides have to bear. Thus Israel gathers in the Jews from Arab countries and the Arab countries are obliged in turn to settle the Palestinians within their own borders and work towards a solution of the problem". Israel will undoubtedly advance these claims in the first real debate over the Palestinian problem.45

In brief, 'Arif, Sirtawi, and Jiryis recognize that the expulsion of a million Jews from the Arab countries renders the return of Arab refugees infeasible. This realization is compounded by the fact that almost half a century has elapsed since the beginning of the refugee problem, both Arab and Jewish, within the Arab-Israeli conflict. Those individuals to be involved in any future rehabilitation program will mostly be heirs, and even grandchildren, of the original refugees.

CONCLUSION

Accounts of the late 1940s widely assume that the Arab exodus occurred first, followed by the Jewish expulsion. Kirkbride refers to "a decision of the Iraqi government to retaliate for the expulsion of Arab refugees from Palestine by forcing the majority of the Jewish population of Iraq to go to Israel."46 In Libya, too, there is a similar tendency to associate the uprooting of the Jewish community with the establishment of the State of Israel. "Jews," John Wright argues, "were forced out of Libya as a result of events leading up and following the foundation of the State of Israel in May 1948."47

But these accounts oversimplify the actual sequence of events: as we have seen, in a good many cases, Jews were forced out well before the Palestinian exodus. As 'Arif, Sirtawi, and Jiryis acknowledge, the Arab states contributed substantially to the Palestinians' present predicament. A recognition of the full wrong done to the Jews of the Arab countries should put to rest Palestinian claims for restitution by Israel. As Péroncel-Hugoz correctly points out, the Jews "left property and space [they] legitimately owned" in the Middle East. In coming to Israel, then these Jews brought with them certain rights.

This information not only straightens out the sequence of events fifty years ago but it refutes exorbitant claims made in the name of Palestinians. A recognition of the true nature of those events represents the best chance for a swift resolution of the Palestinian refugee question today. With so many issues that will have a lasting effect on the future of their populations awaiting the attention of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, this is one case where the two sides would do well to let history stand and call it even.

Thanks to the Middle East Quarterly and Ya'akov Meron
Original Article: Why Jews Fled the Arab Countries


Footnotes:

1 U.N. General Assembly, Second Session, Official Records, Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question, Summary Records of Meetings, Lake Success, N.Y., Sept. 25-Nov. 15, 1947, p. 185. The original language of this statement is French, so we have altered the U.N's English translation to bring it into harmony with the equally official French text.
2 For example, Emile Najjar, the last president of the Egyptian Zionist Federation and a future Israeli diplomat, pointed out Heykal Pasha's remarks in a lecture delivered in Paris at the Centre d'Etudes de Politique Etrangére on Dec. 20, 1947.
3 Gurdron Krämer, "Aliyatah u-shki'atah shel Kehilat Kahir," Pe'amim, Spring 1981, pp. 28-30-34.
4 U.N. General Assembly, Second Session, Official Records, Verbatim Record of the Plenary Meeting, vol. II, 110th-128th meetings, Lake Success, N.Y., Sept. 16-Nov. 29, 1947, p. 1391.
5 H.J. Cohen, The Jews of the Middle East, 1860-1972 (Jerusalem: Israel Universities Press, 1973), p. 67.
6 Daniel Pipes, Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990) p. 57, records 75 victims of the Aleppo massacre.
7 Al-Kifah, Mar. 28, 1949, quoted Shlomo Hillel, Ruah Kadim (Jerusalem: 'Idanim, 1985) p. 244. This book is available in English as Operation Babylon, trans. Ina Friedman (New York: Doubleday, 1987).
8 Walid Khalidi, "Plan Dalet, Master Plan for the Conquest of Palestine," Middle East Forum, Nov. 1961, p. 27.
9 U.N. General Assembly, Second Session, Official Records, Verbatim Record of the Plenary Meeting, p. 1391.
10 Cohen, Jews of the Middle East, pp. 29-35: Hillel, Ruah Kadim, pp. 135-42.
11 Sir Alec Kirkbride, From the Wings: Amman Memoirs, 1947-1951 (London: Frank Cass, 1976), pp. 115-16.
12 For example, the colonial secretary spoke of this to the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations in 1937. League of Nations, Minutes of the 32d (Extraordinary Sessions of the permanent Mandates Commission, Geneva, July 30-Aug. 18, 1932, p. 21; Hugh dalton, Memoirs: The Fatal Years, 1931-1945 (London: Frederick Muller, Ltd., 1957) pp. 426-427.
13 'Arif al-'Arif, An-Nakba, 1947-1955, vol. 4 (Sidon and Beirut: Al-Maktaba al-'Asriya, 1960) p. 893.
14 Telegram from the American embassy in Damascus to Washington, D.C., Feb. 21, 1949. I am grateful to Ron Zweig for making this and other U.S. government telegrams available to me.
15 Telegram from the American embassy in Baghdad to Washington, D.C., May 9, 1949.
16 Moshe Gat, A Jewish Community in Crisis: The Exodus from Iraq, 1948-1951 (Jerusalem: The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, 1989), p. 40.
17 Hillel, Ruah Kadim, p. 245.
18 Telegram from the American embassy in Baghdad to Washington, D.C., Oct. 15, 1949.
19 Formally, the Economic Survey Mission, a U.N. effort headed by the Tennessee Valley Authority chairman, Gordon R. Clapp, which led to the establishment of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
20 Information related to the author on Dec. 12, 1990, by Paul Marc Henry, secretary to the Clapp Mission (and later French ambassador to Lebanon).
21 Hillel, Ruah Kadim, p. 224.
22 Elie Kedourie, The Chatham Version and Other Middle Eastern Studies (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1970), p. 449n. 72.
23 Gat, Jewish Community in Crisis, pp. 151-52. An Israeli court has confirmed that Zionists were not behind the explosion: Barukh Nadel, an Israeli journalist, wrote that Israel's emissaries in Iraq were involved in this crime. In 1980, Mordekhaï Ben- Porat, a former member of parliament (and later a government minister) who had played a major role in organizing the mass immigration of Jews from Iraq to Israel, brought a libel suit against Nadel. Ben-Porat produced the results of an inquiry by the Israeli secret services in 1951, which concluded that none of the Israeli emissaries was involved in the crime. The defendant retracted his allegations and the case was closed. See Ma'ariv, Dec. 7, 1981.
24 John Wright, Libya: A Modern History (Baltimore, Md.: The John Hopkins University Press, 1982), p. 75n. 1; "The Jewish Case before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine as presented by the Jewish Agency for Palestine" (Jerusalem: Publishing Department of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, 1947), pp. 392-94.
25 The French diplomat (whose name is no longer known) told this in the early 1950s to Eugene Weill, secretary-general of the Alliance Israélite Universelle; Mr. Weill repeated it to the author in the early 1970s.
26 Cohen, Jews of the Middle East, pp. 49-51.
27 Ibid., p. 88; Shimon Shamir, The Jewis of Egypt (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1987), pp. 33-67.
28 Published originally in Akhir Sa'a, then translated into French as part of a newspaper survey in La Bourse Egyptienne of July 22, 1948; cited in Yehudiya Masriya, Les Jufis en Egypte (Geneva: Editions de l'Avenir, 1971), p. 54.
29 Law no. 391 of 1956, section 1(a). See Al-Waqa 'i' al-Misriya, no. 93 repeated (1), Nov. 30, 1956.
30 Egyptian Official Gazette, no. 88 repeated (1) of Nov. 1, 1957.
31 "Egyptian Nationality," in Revue Egyptienne de Droit International, vol. 12 (1956), pp. 80,87.
32 Egyptian Official Gazette no. 31, Apr. 15, 1958.
33 For a compelling account of how the "very old and well-established " Jewish community of one Algerian town, Ghardaia, "could be blasted loose from its deep and ancient roots almost overnight, and could be shattered so completely," see the compelling account by Lloyd Cabot Briggs and Norina Lami Guéde, No More For Ever; A Saharan Jewish Town (Cambridge, Mass.: Peabody Museum, 1964).
34 See section 34 of the Algerian Nationality Code, Law no. 63-69 of Mar. 27, 1963 p. 306; also cited in Annuaire de l'Afrique du Nord 1973, pp. 806-14.
35 Quoted in Aaron S. Klieman, Foundations of British Policy in the Arab World: The Cairo Conference of 1921 (Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970), p. 230.
36 Section 3(3) of Jordanian Nationality Law no. 6 of 1954, recorded in Al-Jarida ar-Rasmiya, no. 1171, Feb. 16, 1954, p. 105.
37 Anti-Jewish discrimination appears in order no. 1282 of July 1, 1957 (attributed to the Official Gazette of Jordan, no. 1282 by the Collection of Laws and Regulations [in Arabic], vol. 1 issued by the Jordanian Bar, Amman, 1957, p. 186), which exempts Syrian nationals from showing their passports on entering or leaving Jordan. They may use any other identifying document provided that "they are not Jews." The same discriminatory legislation against Jews from Lebanon appears in Majmu'at al-Qawanin wa'l-Anzima, vol. 1 (Amman: Jordanian Bar, 1966), p. 188
38 Yehuda Tagar "Ha-Farhud bi-Ktavim be-'Aravit me'et Medina'im u-Mehabrim 'Iraqiyim,"Pe'amim, Summer 1981, pp. 38-45.
39 Hillel, Ruah Kadim, p. 285.
40 Mordekhaï Ben-Porat is one exception,: at the end of 1975, he established the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries. He also spoke up on this topic in the Israeli parliament (see, for example, Divrei ha-Knesset, vol. 72, Jan. 1, 1975, p. 1112).
41 Jean-Pierre Péroncel-Hugoz, Une Croix sur le Liban (Paris: Lieu Commun, 1984), p. 114. The issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries is likely to grow in importance as many of their number reach the forefront of public life in Israel. In the imd-1980s, for example, the chief of staff of the Israel army, the parliamentary speaker, the minister of justice, the minister of energy, and the minister of health all were of Iraqi origin. The secretary-general of the Histadrut (the labor federation) was born in Yemen. The deputy prime minister and the minister of the interior were born in Morocco. The countries of the Arab League have by now an impressive representation in the government of Israel.
42 'Arif, Al-Nakba, p. 894.
43 Jeune Afrique, July 4, 1975; Ma'ariv, July 3, 1975.
44 Kol Ha'ir, Oct. 30, 1986.
45 An-Nahar, May 15, 1975.
46 Kirkbride, From the Wings, p. 115.
47 Wright, Libya, p. 75n 1.



Read More...

Jemaah Islamiah plans terror attacks:
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer

Australians could be the target of imminent terrorist attacks in Indonesia, including Bali, the Federal Government has warned in a revamped travel alert.

Right: Alexander Downer. [File]

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, numerous attacks are being planned against Westerners, despite the recent arrests of "high-level operatives" of Jemaah Islamiah.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the department had been receiving reports for some time about possible attacks from groups associated with JI, which is linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda. "People should be awake to that," he said, despite "a sense in the community" having taken hold that the terrorist threat in the region had dissipated.

"The reason we've reissued the travel advisory is that, in the context of a number of high-profile arrests in recent times in Indonesia, we still nevertheless remain very concerned about the possibility of terrorist attacks and those terrorist attacks could be imminent," he said.

"It can't be ruled out."

The warning does not change the overall level of threat to Australians.

"We're not predicting an attack at a particular location," Mr Downer said. "We're just reminding people that terrorist attacks are possible in Indonesia."

The warning came as Prime Minister John Howard announced for Australia what he billed as the world's best border-security arrangements, set to take effect ahead of both the Sydney meeting of Asia-Pacific heads of government and the federal election.

The new deal, which involves better data matching and more extensive background checks, was unveiled in the wake of the probe of the links of foreign-trained doctors in Australia to the recent failed terrorist attacks in Britain. The border-security initiative was bolstered by a pledge from Attorney-General Philip Ruddock to consider amending anti-terrorist legislation to extend the detention and questioning time of suspects, if he received advice from police or security services that it was warranted.

The department's warning on Indonesia specified Western targets.

"We continue to receive reports indicating that terrorists are planning attacks against Western interests, against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners," it said.

"If you are in Indonesia, including Bali, and are concerned for your safety, you should consider departing. If you do decide to travel to Indonesia, including Bali, you should exercise extreme caution."

Attacks could take place at any time and could be imminent. The warning referred to the Bali and Jakarta bombings of 2002, 2004 and 2005 and noted "these areas are a priority target for terrorists".

Eighty-eight Australians were killed in the 2002 bombings, for which nine terrorists have been found guilty.

Bagel: I wonder how many months it will be before:

"John Howard announced for Australia what he billed as the world's best border-security arrangements"
becomes a pie slapped in John Howards face. Probably enough time for us all to duck under our Fridge Magnets.

Cross posted at Aussie Bagel
References:
The Canberra Times: JI plans terror attacks: Downer

Read More...

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Bodgey Bagels Caption Contest
Week 27 is now Up!

The 'Almost Famous'
Bodgey Bagels
Caption Contest
Number 27

Entries in by 17th JULY

Bodgey Bagels Caption Contest
will now always be available from:
Or see the caption link in the Mr Bagel Menu.

Leave your entries in the comments section
before Tuesday 17th July.
Take Note of New weekly Tuesday Deadline

May the best caption win!

Check out the other caption contests around the blogosphere by going to: Bodgey Bagels


Read More...

How to tell if your doctor is a terrorist.


A very 'topical' cartoon

Kippertip: Thanks to Jeremy from Corporate Presenter



IF you haven't had the chance to check out the rest of Mr Bagel's blogs may I recommend you take the time to view all the different segments of the Mr Bagel blog. They're all accessible via the top menu, and include over 20 different areas.

Read More...