Last Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of anti-Jewish riots in the Yemenite city of Aden, then a British protectorate. Anticipating a violent response to the November 29 UN decision to partition Palestine, local Jews had organized to defend themselves and, when the vicious attacks by their neighbors began, were at first successful. Dani Goldsmith and Sarah Ansbacher write:
[O]n the second day of rioting, the British dispatched soldiers to “protect” the Jews. They sent in the so-called Aden Protectorate Levies (APL), a British-trained Bedouin legion. Instead of protecting them, however, they directed their rifles against the Jewish community and shot them as they ran through the streets and even while they sheltered in their own homes. There are harrowing first-hand accounts, such as that of a thirteen-year-old girl whose father was hit by a sniper in front of her eyes as the family stood on the roof [of their home]. . . .
The mobs were emboldened by the actions of the APL and the terror intensified, a bloodlust kindled by hate and opportunity. They went on a rampage with knives and set fire to homes and schools. Synagogues were burned, Jewish-owned shops were looted and wrecked. Everyone and everything belonging to the community was a target. . . . On the third day, the killing, injuries, and burning of homes continued unabated. Only sometime after midday did the commanders of the British army intervene and send in marines, who were moored at the port, to quell the riots.
The results of the three days of terror were dreadful. Eighty-seven Jews, members of the local Aden community and Jewish refugees from [the independent kingdom of] Yemen, had been slaughtered or burned to death. The count included children, women, and the elderly. Nobody was given quarter. Over 70 more were seriously injured. The two Jewish schools, several synagogues, and many homes had been destroyed; almost every single Jewish-owned shop had been looted and some burned down.
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