Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Selective amnesia

Reuters reports on the arrest of an Egyptian tailor on suspicion of bombing a Jewish synagogue in Cairo "in retaliation for Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza".  Following an historical account of wholly unrelated violence in the 1980s and '90s between the Egyptian government and Islamists, Reuters offers us some background on the Jewish community in Egypt:
Egypt was once home to tens of thousands of Jews, but most left decades ago and only a few dozen live in the Arab state.
Yes, tens of thousands of Jews capriciously packed their bags and left the country.  Thanks to Mitchell Bard's excellent Myths and Facts, here's a synopsis of what actually happened to Egypt's Jews:
Between June and November 1948, bombs set off in the Jewish Quarter of Cairo killed more than 70 Jews and wounded nearly 200.
In 1956, the Egyptian government used the Sinai Campaign as a pretext for expelling almost 25,000 Egyptian Jews and confiscating their property.  Approximately 1,000 more Jews were sent to prisons and detention camps.
On November 23, 1956, a proclamation signed by the Minister of Religious Affairs, and read aloud in mosques throughout Egypt, declared that "all Jews are Zionists and enemies of the state," and promised that they would soon be expelled .  Thousands of Jews were ordered to leave the country.  They were allowed to take only one suitcase and a small sum of cash, and forced to sign declarations "donating" their property to the Egyptian government.  Foreign observers reported that members of Jewish families were taken hostage, apparently to insure that those forced to leave did not speak out against the Egyptian government.
And so on.
A slightly less abbreviated account which may serve to shed some light on the precarious situation for Jews in Arab countries.

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