The Bombings of 1950-1951
The anti-Jewish riots of 1941 did more than create a pretext for the British to enter Baghdad to reinstate the pro-British regent and his pro-British prime minister, Nouri el-Said. They also gave the Zionists in Palestine a pretext to set up a Zionist underground in Iraq, first in Baghdad, then in other cities such as Basra, Amara, Hillah, Diwaneia, Abril and Karkouk.
Following WW II, a succession of governments held brief power in Iraq. Zionist conquests in Palestine, particularly the massacre of Palestinians in the village of Deir Yassin, emboldened the anti-British movement in Iraq. When the Iraqi government signed a new treaty of friendship with London in January 1948, riots broke out all over the country. The treaty was quickly abandoned and Baghdad demanded removal of the British military mission that had run Iraq's army for 27 years.
Later in 1948, Baghdad sent an army detachment to Palestine to fight the Zionists, and when Israel declared independence in May, Iraq closed the pipeline that fed its oil to Haifa's refinery. Abd al-Ilah, however, was still regent and the British quisling, Nouri el-Said, was back as prime minister. I was in the Abu-Greib prison in 1948, where I would remain until my escape to Iran in September 1949.
Six months later—the exact date was March 19, 1950—a bomb went off at the American Cultural Center and Library in Baghdad, causing property damage and injuring a number of people. The center was a favorite meeting place for young Jews.
The first bomb thrown directly at Jews occurred on April 8, 1950, at 9:15 p.m. A car with three young passengers hurled the grenade at Baghdad's El-Dar El-Bida Caf�, where Jews were celebrating Passover. Four people were seriously injured. That night leaflets were distributed calling on Jews to leave Iraq immediately.
The next day, many Jews, most of them poor with nothing to lose, jammed emigration offices to renounce their citizenship and to apply for permission to leave for Israel. So many applied, in fact, that the police had to open registration offices in Jewish schools and synagogues.
On May 10, at 3 a.m., a grenade was tossed in the direction of the display window of the Jewish-owned Beit-Lawi Automobile Company, destroying part of the building. No casualties were reported.
On June 3, 1950, another grenade was tossed from a speeding car in the El-Batawin area of Baghdad where most rich Jews and middle class Iraqis lived. No one was hurt, but following the explosion Zionist activists sent telegrams to Israel requesting that the quota for immigration from Iraq be increased.
On June 5, at 2:30 a.m., a bomb exploded next to the Jewish-owned Stanley Shashua building on El-Rashid street, resulting in property damage but no casualties.
On January 14, 1951, at 7 p.m., a grenade was thrown at a group of Jews outside the Masouda Shem-Tov Synagogue. The explosive struck a high-voltage cable, electrocuting three Jews, one a young boy, Itzhak Elmacher, and wounding over 30 others. Following the attack, the exodus of Jews jumped to between 600-700 per day.
Zionist propagandists still maintain that the bombs in Iraq were set off by anti-Jewish Iraqis who wanted Jews out of their country. The terrible truth is that the grenades that killed and maimed Iraqi Jews and damaged their property were thrown by Zionist Jews.
Among the most important documents in my book, I believe, are copies of two leaflets published by the Zionist underground calling on Jews to leave Iraq. One is dated March 16, 1950, the other April 8, 1950.
The difference between these two is critical. Both indicate the date of publication, but only the April 8th leaflet notes the time of day: 4 p.m. Why the time of day? Such a specification was unprecedented. Even the investigating judge, Salaman El-Beit, found it suspicious. Did the 4 p.m. writers want an alibi for a bombing they knew would occur five hours later? If so, how did they know about the bombing? The judge concluded they knew because a connection existed between the Zionist underground and the bomb throwers.
This, too, was the conclusion of Wilbur Crane Eveland, a former senior officer in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), whom I had the opportunity to meet in New York in 1988. In his book, Ropes of Sand, whose publication the CIA opposed, Eveland writes:
In attempts to portray the Iraqis as anti-American and to terrorize the Jews, the Zionists planted bombs in the U.S. Information Service library and in synagogues. Soon leaflets began to appear urging Jews to flee to Israel. . . . Although the Iraqi police later provided our embassy with evidence to show that the synagogue and library bombings, as well as the anti-Jewish and anti-American leaflet campaigns, had been the work of an underground Zionist organization, most of the world believed reports that Arab terrorism had motivated the flight of the Iraqi Jews whom the Zionists had “rescued” really just in order to increase Israel's Jewish population.
Eveland doesn't detail the evidence linking the Zionists to the attacks, but in my book I do. In 1955, for example, I organized in Israel a panel of Jewish attorneys of Iraqi origin to handle claims of Iraqi Jews who still had property in Iraq. One well known attorney, who asked that I not give his name, confided in me that the laboratory tests in Iraq had confirmed that the anti-American leaflets found at the American Cultural Center bombing were typed on the same typewriter and duplicated on the same stenciling machine as the leaflets distributed by the Zionist movement just before the April 8th bombing.
Tests also showed that the type of explosive used in the Beit-Lawi attack matched traces of explosives found in the suitcase of an Iraqi Jew by the name of Yosef Basri. Basri, a lawyer, together with Shalom Salih, a shoemaker, would be put on trial for the attacks in December 1951 and executed the following month. Both men were members of Hashura, the military arm of the Zionist underground. Salih ultimately confessed that he, Basri and a third man, Yosef Habaza, carried out the attacks.
By the time of the executions in January 1952, all but 6,000 of an estimated 125,000 Iraqi Jews had fled to Israel. Moreover, the pro-British, pro-Zionist puppet el-Said saw to it that all of their possessions were frozen, including their cash assets. (There were ways of getting Iraqi dinars out, but when the immigrants went to exchange them in Israel they found that the Israeli government kept 50 percent of the value.) Even those Iraqi Jews who had not registered to emigrate, but who happened to be abroad, faced loss of their nationality if they didn't return within a specified time. An ancient, cultured, prosperous community had been uprooted and its people transplanted to a land dominated by East European Jews, whose culture was not only foreign but entirely hateful to them.