From The Jewish Press:
Is Iraq Entitled to the ‘Jewish Archive?
Ben Cohen has a dream: in a JNS article – already re-published in the Arabic press – he wishes he could take his family to visit the National Archives Museum in Baghdad to see the ‘Jewish archive’along with Iraqi schoolchildren. However, he recognises that so deep is Iraq’s hatred for Jews that his dream will never be realized. My dream is more ambitious: that Iraqi schoolchildren should be allowed to see the archive in the Babylonian Heritage Center in Israel where most Iraqi Jews now live. A few years ago, in response to a Palestinian critic who made a disparaging remark about the fact that I don’t speak Arabic, I felt compelled to write an article explaining why that is the case. I said that under different circumstances, I could have been born in an Arab country and grown up speaking Arabic. My father’s family had been settled in Iraq for generations, but they fled to England in 1941, the same year that Baghdad’s Jews were convulsed by a June pogrom known as the farhud, presaging a much larger exodus of Iraqi Jews over the next decade.