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Tourist Returning from Baghdad and Beirut Says Situation of Jews There is Grave

January 29, 1970
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A tourist who just arrived here from Baghdad and Beirut reported that the situation of Jews in Iraq was grave and that the condition of Jews was deteriorating in Lebanon, the only Middle East country where Jews have not been subjected to restrictions or otherwise mistreated by the authorities. The informant said that Jewish commerce has come virtually to a halt in Lebanon. He said that El Fatah guerrillas visit Jewish shops at closing time and demand that the owners turn over their daily yield. He reported that a bomb which exploded at a Jewish school in Beirut a week ago caused minor damage and that the school was re-opened the next day. The bombing was reportedly denounced by Lebanese authorities as an attempt to defame Lebanon.

The tourist said that at least 60 Jews remain in prison in Iraq without any formal charges against them. He said Iraqi Jews generally live under constant strain and have been the victims of street violence. He said Baghdad youths have attacked Jews with sticks and stones. (A committee of French jurists meeting in Paris yesterday heard first hand accounts of the plight of Jews in Iraq, Syria and Egypt. The testimony was given by Jewish refugees from those countries at an international conference attended by delegates from 26 countries. The sponsoring committee was headed by Alain Poher, president of the French Senate. He shared the podium with Arthur J. Goldberg, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations.)


(The refugee informants said the three Arab countries forbade their Jewish inhabitants from emigrating and severely curbed their liberties. The witness from Egypt said that out of 600 Jews remaining there, 81 are still in prison in a camp at Tura where conditions are poor and no impartial inspection has been permitted. He said however that Tura was a great improvement over the beatings and torture inflicted on Jews in other Egyptian prisons during the months following the June, 1967 Arab-Israeli war.)

(A Syrian refugee said the 2000-4000 Jews in that country were barred from leaving the cities and were confined to the Jewish quarters by frequent curfews. He said Jews have been barred from employment in government enterprises and some professions and have been denied credit by banks and have not been allowed to collect their debts. According to the witness from Iraq, at least 19 Jews were executed there last year. He said at least one Jew was among the 44 Iraqis executed this month in an alleged plot to overthrow the government. He identified him as Albert Nounou who has been in prison since 1967 and could hardly have been involved in plotting a coup.)

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