Come and be killed 1

The Washington Times reports:

Essam al-Erian, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, called on Egyptian Jews to leave Israel to the Palestinians and return to their own homeland.

“Their presence in Palestine contributes to the Zionist occupation of Arab lands, and every Egyptian has the right to live in his country — nobody can deny that,” Erian said …

“Egyptian Jews should refuse to live under a brutal, bloody and racist occupation stained with war crimes against humanity,” Erian said.

How do such people say such things with a straight face? Are they cynical beyond all shame, or are they utterly without a sense of irony?

From the Jewish Virtual Library, a Division of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise:

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 be soon 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.

From the Historical Society of Jews from Egypt:

Egyptian Jews being expelled from Egypt in 1956 under the direction of President Gamal Abd El Nasser … had to sign a pledge of NEVER TO RETURN, leaving behind their possessions, amounting to billions of dollars. All their assets have been placed under sequestration and confiscated by the government of which no restitutions have been made. The policy of sequestration and confiscation was in effect from 1948-1967. During the war of 1967 many Jews were mistreated and placed in jails for no reason other than they are of the Jewish faith. Egypt has yet to apologize. Today, with a handful of Jews left in all of Egypt, our request to salvage and rescue our heritage and religious articles has been denied by Egypt stating it all has been placed under the auspices of the department of Antiquities, and therefore may not leave Egypt.

From The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:

Why was the story of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries suppressed? How did it become a forgotten exodus? …

Although they exceed the numbers of the Palestinian refugees, the Jews who fled are a forgotten case. Whereas the former are at the very heart of the peace process with a huge UN bureaucratic machinery dedicated to keeping them in the camps, the nine hundred thousand Jews who were forced out of Arab countries have not been refugees for many years. Most of them, about 650,000, went to Israel because it was the only country that would admit them. Most of them resided in tents that after several years were replaced by wooden cabins, and stayed in what were actually refugee camps for up to twelve years. They never received any aid or even attention from the UN Relief And Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, or any other international agency. Although their plight was raised almost every year at the UN by Israeli representatives, there was never any other reference to their case at the world body. …

Arab statements in the UN General Assembly and the New York Times reports prove that the intention to expel these Jewish populations preceded the establishment of Israel and the plight of the Palestinian refugees. …

What, then, happened to the nine hundred thousand Jews of the Arab countries?

In a few years, Jewish communities that had existed in the Middle East for more than 2,500 years were brutally expelled or had to run for their lives. … Following the Partition Resolution of November 1947, and in some countries even earlier during World War II, Middle Eastern Jews were the targets of official and popular incitement, state-legislated discrimination, and pogroms – again, all this before the massive flight of the Arabs from Palestine. …

In a new book Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel Through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner* by Lela Gilbert (an intelligently pro-Israel enthusiast), stories of the Jews’ expulsion from Egypt are related by individuals who were robbed of all their possessions and expelled from the country.

One recalls:

“Levana Zamir [now living in Tel Aviv] …  explains that she, her parents and her six brothers were …  part of an affluent community … Then the “catastrophe” struck.

“On May 14, 1948,” Levana recalls, “we were sleeping. All of a sudden, exactly at midnight, people were knocking very, very hard on our door. We woke up and I saw ten Egyptian officers in their black uniforms. I wasn’t afraid because my parents were there and my mother was smiling to comfort me. But the soldiers opened everything. They went through everything. They were searching for something, but we never knew what. The next day I went to school (Levana attended a Catholic elementary school). The headmaster of the nuns came to me and said, ‘They took your uncle to prison!’

“My uncle lived in a big villa. He, my father and another brother owned one of the largest printing businesses in Cairo. I rushed home and asked my mother, ‘Is it true? Is he a criminal?’ My mother told me, ‘He’s not a criminal. It’s only because we are Jews’.

“So then it was even more a trauma for me. I thought to myself, I am also a Jew! I too could go to prison!”

Eighteen months later, when her uncle was released from prison like many others — on the condition of permanent expulsion — Levana and her family fled Egypt, leaving behind their sequestrated assets and possessions.

And another:

Today, Joseph Abdel Wahed lives in California … He recalls:

“I was 12 years old in May 1948,” Joseph says, “living in Heliopolis (a Cairo suburb). I remember the words of Azzam Pasha, the head of the newly formed Arab League, talking about the founding of Israel. He said, ‘This will be a war of extermination that will be likened to the Mongolian massacre and the Crusades!’ The very next day, the Egyptian army (and four other Arab armies) headed towards the new state of Israel to ‘throw the Jews into the sea.’ It was supposed to be a slam dunk, but they lost.

“By then everything had begun to unravel and our previously secure lives in Egypt had fallen apart. The Jewish section of Cairo, the Haret el Yahud, was bombed every year until 1949 …

Many were killed by the bombs. Jewish establisments were attacked, and individuals assaulted.

“The authorities sometimes played a part in these assaults, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, which began in the late 1920s under the leadership of Hassan el Banna. In 1967, about 400 Egyptian Jews, including my uncle and other relatives were thrown in concentration camps. …

And one more:

Another man whose family fled Egypt, Yossi Ben Aharon, now lives in Jerusalem. A career Israeli diplomat, Ben Aharon served as Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office under Premier Yitzhak Shamir and represented the Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for nearly a decade in the United States. In a recent interview, Ben Aharon made it abundantly clear that the explosive violence against Jews in the Arab world following May 14, 1948 was no coincidence. He has collected a number of statements of lethal intent made by Arab leaders, calling for the death and destruction of Jews in their Arab homelands in case of the UN Partition of Palestine. …

Ben Aharon explains, “Immediately after the UN approved the Partition resolution on November 29, 1947, Arabs attacked the Jews throughout the Middle East, including Palestine. Yet, since 1949, the Arab states, together with Palestinian organizations, have mounted an intensive propaganda campaign, based on a rewriting of history, in an attempt to shift responsibility for the Palestinian refugee issue on to Israel. They describe the events of 1948 – and the estimated 762,000 Arab refugees – as an ‘ethnic cleansing’ by Israel. The facts of history point to the opposite: ethnic cleansing was perpetrated by Arab governments against their Jews, as witnessed by the fact that 850,000 Jews were forced to leave the Arab countries, while more than 4 million Arabs continue to live in geographic Palestine, including more than a million in Israel. Now, sixty years after the events, the time has come for the historical facts to be recognized and for justice to be done.

“Jews who were ethnically cleansed from the Arab world did not get one penny from the UN, while the Palestinians have received over $50 billion (including funds from the European Union) since 1950. They still are receiving financial assistance.”

Lela Gilbert gives much the same  figures as most authoritative sources, according to which the number of Jews living in Egypt at the start of 1948 was estimated between 85,000 and 100,000, and today there are fewer than 50.

She also writes about the fate of the Coptic Christians since the so-called “Arab Spring” was sprung in Egypt.

A massacre took place on Sunday, January 30 [2011] at 3 PM in the village of Sharona near Maghagha, Minya province. Two Islamists groups, aided by the Muslim neighbors, descended on the roof of houses owned by Copts, killing eleven Copts, including children, and seriously injuring four others. The two families were staying in their homes with their doors locked when suddenly the Islamists descended on them, killing eleven and leaving for dead four other family members. In addition, they looted everything that was in the two Coptic houses, including money, furniture and electrical equipment. They also looted livestock and grain.”

There have been many more murderous attacks on Christians in Egypt since then. In particular, Lela Gilbert records this appalling event:

In September, 2011, thousands of Muslims were incited by a Salafi imam during Friday prayers to attack a nearby church. The church has constructed a dome on its 70-year-old building … with legal permission from Aswan’s governor. But the iman was offended, and the mob he stirred up ransacked and torched the church … The following month[October 9, 2011], when protestors (most of them Copts) gathered on Cairo’s Maspero District to complain of ongoing attacks against Copts, including the recent destruction of churches, they were ferociously assaulted by the Egyptian military. … At least 27 protestors were killed. The military has refused to take responsibility for the deaths, even though videos of the day’s atrocities circulated widely on the Internet – including a gruesome scene in which military vehicles mowed down and crushed protestors – along with volumes of eyewitness testimony.

See our post More acts of religion, October 15, 2011, which is about this massacre. It is accompanied by this picture:

Our account of the protest, its causes, and the killings ends with these words:

The “Arab Spring” is the same old everlasting Muslim season of misery and death.

In the light of all that, it doesn’t take dyed-in-the-wool skeptics (like us) to work out that Essam al-Erian’s invitation to Jews of Egyptian origin now living in Israel to return “to their homeland” is an invitation to come and be killed. 


Postscript: A new report brings no surprise. “The Islamic Jihad has called on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Essam el-Erian to resign from his role as adviser to Morsi and to apologize to the Egyptian people for his statement asking Egyptian Jews to leave Israel and reclaim their properties. … Reaction to El-Erian’s statements was furious. ‘We shall fight them vigorously if they return,’ said Mohamed Abou Samra, the leading figure in the Islamic Jihad movement. “Islamic Shariah says they deserve to be killed. … Their return will be over our dead bodies. We will continue fighting the Jews until the liberation of Palestine or Doomsday.”


*Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel Through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner by Lela Gilbert, Encounter Books, New York, 2012

Posted under Arab States, Christianity, Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Israel, jihad, Judaism, middle east, Muslims, Palestinians, Religion general, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 5, 2013

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