Yemen’s non-Zionist Jewish community driven out

This not so recent piece by Lyn Julius (who co-founded Harif, the association for Jews of the Middle East and North Africa) tells how the last Jews of Yemen have been harassed by jihadist gangs involved in a wider conflict.

The Yemeni government has ignored the vigorous campaigning of Yemeni human rights activists and has failed to protect its tiny Jewish community. Many of these Jews are descended from a community who declined to be airlifted by Israel in the 1950s because they were inclined toward the non-Zionist Satmar sect. Now most are packing their bags for the US and for Israel. Lyn Julius ends:

“The lesson one draws from the final exodus of the Jews of Yemen is that the Arab world does not even tolerate non-Zionist Jews. There can be no future for the pitiful remnant in Arab lands if their safety cannot be guaranteed.

In Morocco, where the Jewish community is largest, Jews traditionally repaid the king’s sympathy with tremendous loyalty. But the king of Morocco was unable or unwilling to prevent 260,000 Jews leaving in the face of rising antisemitism in the 1960s, media incitement and forced conversions.

Even benevolent rulers have been powerless to stem the rising tide of anti-Jewish hatred engulfing the Arab world. Few Arabs are now likely to meet a Jew in their lifetime, and the gullible believe the demonisation and conspiracy theories peddled by their media.

No wonder Jews have spurned official invitations for them to return to live in their countries of birth. Jews visit as tourists, but few see their future in these countries. In Tunisia and Morocco al-Qaida targeted Jews in 2002 and 2003. In April the murder of a Jew in Casablanca sent the community into a panic.In May, eight terrorists were arrested for planning attacks on Jewish sites.

If Morocco and Tunisia fail to keep a lid on jihadist terrorism and incitement, their last Jews, too, will soon be following the beleaguered Jews of Yemen into exile.”

That was June – last week Point of No Return directed readers to a Washington Post article indicating that the Yemeni security forces foiled an assassination attempt on a Jewish leader a fortnight ago.

Even where there are no Jews, antisemitism has its uses. In October Cairo hosted the 56th Congress of Liberal International, which includes delegations from the British Liberal Democrats, among many others. Two members of the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth, Amr Bargisi and Samuel Tadros wrote, with examples, that “anti-Semitism remains the glue holding Egypt’s disparate political forces together”. The hosts, Egypts Al-Gabha, or Democratic Front Party (DFP), are implicated.

I came by these pieces via Middle East Pact, whose English-language site is sadly looking as neglected as the minority groups of the Middle East it is valiantly trying to help. I hope it manages to recover soon, because its cause is the cause of everyone who cares about peace in the Middle East.

One Response to “Yemen’s non-Zionist Jewish community driven out”

  1. Lyn Says:

    Thanks for the links, Mira. Middle East Pact is looking a bit neglected at the moment because its prime mover, Masri Feki, is working on his doctoral thesis.
    We need to jump start discussion on the issue of minority rights again – any ideas gratefully received.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: