Those Who Remained: The Jews of Iraq Since 1951

2019-10-17T18:31:22Z (GMT) by Marcus Edward Smith

This dissertation examines the history of Jews in Iraq from 1951 to 1973 and their associations in diaspora thereafter. Iraqi Jews trace their community back 2500 years to the Babylonian exile and Jews played prominent roles in modern Iraqi politics, society, and culture until 1950-1951, when most Iraqi Jews left following a period of anti-Jewish hostility. The history of the remaining Jewish community after 1951 is an important case study of Jews in the Middle East (sometimes referred to as Sephardi or Mizrahi Jews) during a period when many such communities faced violence and displacement amidst the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their history also provides unique insights into changes in Iraq’s political culture under the various revolutionary regimes that followed the 1958 revolution. This dissertation shows that Jews in Iraq after 1951 successfully re-established a communal and social presence until the Israeli victory in the Six Day War of June 1967 prompted renewed anti-Jewish hostility. However, this dissertation argues that it was the Ba’th Party coup in July 1968 that led to the depopulation of the remaining Jewish community as the party manipulated anti-Israeli sentiment in its effort to consolidate power in Iraq, unleashing a deadly campaign of terror on innocent Jews.