Iraqi Jews must leave, liaison says

The handful of Jews remaining in Iraq should flee for their lives, a representative of the community said.

Andrew White, a Church of England clergyman who tends to religious minorities in Baghdad, said in an interview published Wednesday that the eight Jews remaining in the Iraqi capital face dire risks given seething sectarian violence and the fact they live outside the protected Green Zone.

“The time has come for them to flee,” White told The Jerusalem Post, noting that the Jews’ ethnicity is written in their passports “and that only adds to the danger”.

Iraq’s Jewish community was once the world’s biggest, but was cut down by persecution and political upheavals. Around 100,000 Jews emigrated to Israel after it founding, yet White said the eight still in Iraq were not looking to the Jewish state.

“They have been fed anti-Israel propaganda all their lives,” he said. “They do not trust Israel to be a good place. If some of them do want to go to Israel, they are scared of what the repercussions might be for the ones that stay.”

Another asylum option touted for the Iraqi Jews has been the Netherlands, where many of their compatriots live. White said Dutch authorities had not been responsive to the idea, something denied by the Foreign Ministry in The Hague.

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