Vying for a Seat on the UN Human Rights Council, Iraq Touts Jewish Life in the Country, While Hiding the Truth of Persecution, Exile
JNS.org — In a bid to land a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Iraqi government is touting thousands of years of Jewish life in its country, ignoring the destruction of Iraqi Jewry over the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
In a brochure posted online, Iraq promoted its human-rights record ahead of the annual election for the 47-seat UNHRC, being held Friday. “Jewish Iraqis have lived in the region for thousands of years, as early as the Sassanians of the Talmudic era,” it boasts.
However, by the end of the 1950s, all but 6,000 of Iraq’s 130,000 Jews, stripped of their citizenship, had fled the country, after Iraq declared that Zionism was a crime punishable by death, and economic and political persecution of Jews had become the norm.
“Iraq’s UNHRC election brochure says, ‘#Jews have lived in Iraq for thousands of years;’ right — but were all chased out decades ago,” tweeted Hillel C. Neuer of UNWatch, an advocacy group highly critical of the diplomatic organization.
“Iraq’s absurd @UN_HRC election campaign brochure also cites the happy condition of their #Christian minority — who have been decimated,” Neuer continued, citing the Iraqis’ statement that Mosul — currently being held by the Islamic State — “has the highest proportion of Christians of all the Iraqi cities.”
Likewise, the brochure speaks about the country’s Yazidi minority, but does not mention that ISIS has launched a mass murder campaign against them in recent years.
Further, representatives of the Iraqi-Jewish emigre community have recently been protesting Baghdad’s claim of ownership over a trove of Jewish books and documents uncovered after Saddam Hussein’s fall. They argue that Iraq has appropriated their Jewish history, after expelling them.
The Iraqi government has stated it believes the documents are an integral part of its national history and cannot be relinquished. The archives are currently on display in the United States.