In March, Haidar Muften Jarallah wrote an article for the liberal Arabic-language website Elaph arguing that Iraq should cultivate a strategic relationship with Israel. A few months later, he wrote another titled “Iraq’s Jewish Community: A Distinguished History.” The translators of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) offer an English abridgment:
A number of researchers, sociologists, and thinkers who lived in the era of the Jewish community in Iraq agree that most of its members were talented and respectable individuals. Additionally, our fathers and forefathers had contact with them in many areas, maintained friendships with them as sons of the same homeland, and told us many stories about them, about their lives, and about their presence in a range of fields—technical, literary, financial, administrative, medical, and scientific. [They say that] it was hard to differentiate between them and other Iraqis because of their integration . . . into Iraqi society. . . .
Despite the decades that have passed since their exodus, [Iraqi Jews] still hold Iraq in their hearts, and they are considered one of the [Jewish] communities most loyal to their motherland. Furthermore, many of their offspring born in Israel or other foreign lands, who have never seen Iraq except in the news and on television, feel an indescribable love for the land of their fathers. We see this clearly in their culture, in their way of life, and even in their celebrations, which have an Iraqi flavor, as if these people still resided in the alleyways of Baghdad.
I call on the Iraqi government, [on the] political, cultural, and media elite, and on all civil organizations to act earnestly and with haste to change the wrongheaded stereotypes about [Iraqi Jewry]. This discriminatory and racist image [of the Jews]—widespread, shaped over decades, and fixed in the minds of generations of Iraqis, which reached its peak during the dark era, over three decades, of Baath rule in Iraq—casts them as the reason for the disasters and problems afflicting Iraq, the region, and even the entire world. Today, Iraq must apologize to its Jewish community, restore its good name, compensate it materially and spiritually, and make its leaders into bridges for peace and normalization, so that the peoples of the region will enjoy tranquility and security.