Re “A struggle for Jewish artifacts from Iraq,” Dec. 2
Thank you for the article about former Pentagon official Harold Rhode’s efforts to prevent the return of Jewish artifacts to the Iraqi government that seized them. This is just one chapter in a remarkable but largely ignored story: the mass expulsion of Jews from Arab lands.
In 1948, there were nearly 900,000 Jews in Arab countries. There are about 7,500 today, a reduction of more than 99%. In Iraq, the Jewish population has plunged from 135,000 in 1948 to almost none today. Jews have been similarly driven out of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria, Egypt and Libya (which has no Jews today).
The “forgotten exodus” has been perhaps the most thorough, widespread ethnic cleansing in history.
Stephen A. Silver
Whatever prompted the removal and preservation of sacred Jewish texts from Iraq to America, they should not go back to Iraq, which stole these texts from the Jewish community and forced the Jews themselves to flee the country.
Iraqi Jewry is presently scattered throughout the world, with the largest contingent being in Israel, which was created to provide a homeland for persecuted and exiled Jews.
Unite the people with their lost possessions.