(JNS.org) In a bid to land a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Iraqi government is touting thousands of years of Jewish life in its country, ignoring the destruction of Iraqi Jewry during the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
In a brochure posted online, Iraq promoted its human rights record ahead of the annual election for seats on the 47-nation Human Rights Council, which will be held Friday. Baghdad boasts that the names of the Jewish calendar months come from ancient Babylonian, and that “Jewish Iraqis have lived in the region for thousands of years, as early as the Sassanians of the Talmudic era.”
However, by the end of the 1950s, all but 6,000 of Iraq’s 130,000 Jews, stripped of their citizenship, had fled the country. Iraq had declared that Zionism was a crime punishable by death, and economic and political persecution of Jews were the norm.
“Iraq's UNHRC election brochure says, "#Jews have lived in Iraq for thousands of years;" right—but were all chased out decades ago,” tweeted Hillel C. Neuer of U.N. Watch, an advocacy group highly critical of the diplomatic organization.
“Iraq's absurd @UN_HRC election campaign brochure also cites the happy condition of their #Christian minority—who have been decimated,” Neuer continued, citing the brochure’s statement that Mosul, currently held by the Islamic State, “has the highest proportion of Christians of all the Iraqi cities.”
Likewise, the brochure touts the country’s Yazidi minority but does not mention the Islamic State's mass murder campaign against them in recent years.
Further, Iraqi Jewish emigre community representatives have protested Baghdad’s claim of ownership of a trove of Jewish books and documents uncovered after Saddam Hussein’s fall. Iraq, they argue, has appropriated their history following their expulsion.
The Iraqi government has stated it believes the documents are an integral part of Iraqi history and cannot be relinquished. The archives are currently on display in the United States.