Gen. Fadhi Alwan Kazem, head of the Citizenship Department in Iraq’s Ministry of Interior, said in a March 17 debate about citizenship for persecuted minorities that aired on Al-Iraqiya TV (Iraq) that Jews are a special case with “political aspects,” and should not have a right to return to Iraq or to Iraqi citizenship if they had been kicked out from Iraq in the past. Iraqi Parliament member Hussein Al-Iqabi said that since Israel is an enemy of Iraq, Iraq cannot allow Jews with Israeli citizenship to hold Iraqi citizenship, but that Jews who have no Israeli citizenship or loyalty to Israel do not constitute any problem.

Host: If tomorrow a Jew comes and says: “You drove me out [of Iraq] but I am an original Iraqi. Add a clause to [to the Nationality Law] and let me return.” Will you do it?

General Fadhi Alwan Kazem: I will not do it.

Host: Why?

General Fadhi Alwan Kazem: The Jews are a special case with political aspects…

Host: Your colleague here says that they are not Iraqis …

General Fadhi Alwan Kazem: They are not.

Hussein Al-Iqabi: This is a special case …

Host: What do you mean by that?

Hussein Al-Iqabi: This is not a legal issue but a political one, under the responsibility of the government. In my opinion, when the Jew who was an Iraqi citizen became an Israeli citizen. … Israel is an enemy of Iraq. The legitimate rights of the Muslims and Christians over Palestine have been usurped by this country, which is based on oppression and injustice. We cannot allow for an Iraqi citizen to hold the nationality of a country that is an enemy of Iraq and in a state of war with it. This country usurps the rights of our Palestinian brothers. We cannot tell these people to come here today. But if they do not have an Israeli nationality, it is a different story. If they do not have an Israeli nationality or loyalty to Israel, they are just like all the [Iraqi] Christians, Yazidis, Sabians and so on.