MIZRAHI WANDERINGS / NANCY HAWKER

"Samir Naqqash is a leading Israeli novelist who writes only in his mother tongue: Arabic. Born into a Jewish family in Baghdad in 1938, he was a youthful witness to the turbulent period of Iraqi struggles against the British puppet government, led by Nuri Said. Iraqi Jews were by far the largest and most prosperous indigenous Jewish community in the Middle East at the time and played a significant role in the cultural, social and political life of the region. They were also, for the most part, staunchly anti-Zionist. Despite ongoing agitation for immigration to Mandate Palestine, the Iraqi Communist Party was a much stronger pole of attraction than the underground Zionist Hehalutz. ‘Iraqi patriotism’, as well as a notion of the Soviet Union as a bulwark against Nazism, were common Jewish motives for joining the ICP. In November 1947 the General Council of the Iraqi Jewish community sent a telegram to the UN General Assembly opposing the partition of Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state. On the urging of its own Jewish members, the ICP issued an official protest against the Soviet Union’s vote for the establishment of Israel at the UN Security Council—the  only Arab Communist Party to do so. [..]"

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