I would first like to express my deep appreciation to you for inviting me to read the book. It caused me to reflect back on generations of Jews who were born and resided in Iraq and were an important part of Iraqi society. Things wouldn’t have gone so awry if it hadn’t been for racism and corrupt politicians who were controlled by companies which ran the international economy, the oil industry being a particularly big culprit in this regard. I’m not rewriting history when I say this. It is well known that Iraqi Jews underwent persecution and humiliation and were victims of injustice, being stripped of their citizenship and eventually exiled for a multitude of reasons.

The Arabic Nakba, or what you Israelis refer to as the War of Independence, ushered in a new era of intense racism against the Jewish nation. The Jews were perceived as being among the filthiest, dirtiest and deadliest of people on the planet. Jewish historical narratives were dismissed as concocted fiction which in turn, unfortunately, inflicted damage on the perception of Jewish people in other aspects as well. Although they were an integral part of society and lived among us as Iraqi citizens for centuries, from that moment on they were seen as enemies who were seeking to destroy the country that had hosted them for generations.

We were all victims of this systematic brainwashing. I won’t hide from you the fact that I believe that the European Jews who fought with the Allied Forces  during the Second World War gained much military experience which would benefit them after they were to move to Israel; benefits attested to by Israel’s glorious victories such as those in 1948. These victories directly followed the weakening of the Arab world through the Sykes-Picot agreement which brought down the Ottoman Empire, separating Turkey from the Arab world. This, in turn, was followed by many conflicts in the Middle East, such as the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait.

I don’t want to bore you by adding more to my response on this subject matter. Regarding the book itself, I considered it to be overly emotional. It expresses some historical facts according to a certain viewpoint that I personally consider misleading. For example, that the Jewish state should be established after a long period of exile because of some scriptures that date back three thousand years seems absolutely illogical to me. Indeed, if Jews have the right to exist on this land based on facts of history, so too do the Palestinians who are no less valuable than Jews.

Anyway, as I said, the book is overly emotional; It tries to bridge the huge gap between Jews and Palestinian Arabs with emotional sympathetic letters riddled with historical inaccuracies. I think that the book is, in reality, actually addressed to Western or American audiences more than Arab ones, because all it succeeds in doing is to explain the Israeli narrative from a Jewish point of view.

None of this is to say that I’m racist against Jews or Israelis. In fact, it is my wish that peace prevail in the region so that coming generations will live in security and prosperity and without constant fear of wars or armed conflict. I stand with normalization if it means returning possessions to its rightful owners.

This, at least, is my opinion on the book. I believe that we should never hesitate to state historical facts. The State of Israel has already been established and it is recognized by the international community and the United Nations. It’s a role model for the kind of democracy we wish to achieve in our countries even though it is of a deeply religious nature;  a  consequence of past tragedies such as the destruction of the Jewish temple and exile to Babylon. On this matter, it is worth pointing out that the Jews earned their right of citizenship in Babylon. And Israel’s democratic nature is still undeniable despite the fact that Israel has a tendency to incite one side against the other in geopolitical conflict which comes at the expense of Iraq’s security and stability.

My Respect and regards,

Talib from Iraq

February 4th, 2021