November 30, 1947

BACKGROUND

For a more complete understanding of this topic, please see my post THE ISSUE OF PARTITION.

In January of 1947, the British officially decided that they’d had enough of Palestine and stated their intent to leave in August of 1948, leaving Palestine’s fate up to the United Nations.

With the British having washed their hands off the problem, in May 1947, the United Nations created the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, or UNSCOP, to investigate the best course of action. In the end, UNSCOP voted in favor of partitioning the territory. A number of different iterations of partition were put forth, with various editions along the way, establishing the groundwork for Resolution 181.

On November 29, the UN obtained the necessary two-thirds majority to pass Resolution 181, or the Partition Plan for Palestine.

The Jews celebrated the vote, with singing and dancing and champagne flowing in the streets.  The Arabs responded with a boycott of Jews in Palestine that escalated into violence, with Jews attacked by angry mobs and Jewish buildings and businesses looted and even set on fire. The day after the vote, the Arabs ambushed two Jewish buses and massacred 7 Jews, marking the start of the Palestine Civil War.

Due to the war, Resolution 181 was never actually implemented.

 

GENOCIDAL THREATS

For years, both the Arab Higher Committee of Palestine and leaders elsewhere in the Arab world had been threatening genocide should the United Nations agree to grant Jews sovereignty in any part of Palestine. These genocidal threats extended not only to the Jews living in Palestine, but to the Jews elsewhere in the Arab world.

During the period of the British Mandate (1923-1947), the official representatives of the Palestinian Arab population, the Arab Higher Committee, was under the leadership of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin Al-Husseini, a Nazi SS officer and collaborator with the Nazi regime. In November of 1933, the Nazis established a contact with the Arab Higher Committee in hopes of “adapting the Nazi program” to the Holy Land.

In 1943, Al-Husseini declared: “It is the duty of Muhammadans [Muslims] in general and Arabs in particular to...drive all Jews from Arab and Muhammadan countries...[Germany has] very clearly recognized the Jews for what they are and resolved to find a definitive solution for the Jewish danger that will eliminate the scourge that Jews represent in the world.” In a radio broadcast in 1944, he stated: “Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion.”

In the months leading up to the 1947 Partition Vote in the United Nations, Azzam Pasha, the General Secretary of the Arab League, threatened: “Personally I hope the Jews do not force us into this war because it will be a dangerous massacre which history will record similarly to the Mongol massacre or the wars of the Crusades…We will sweep [the Jews] into the sea.”

Following the Partition Vote, the Arab Higher Committee of Palestine published a leaflet stating: “The Arabs have taken the [Nazi] Final Solution to the Jewish Problem.”

Other genocidal threats were made in 1948 by the Muslim Brotherhood and other members of the Arab League.

 

SYRIA

Jewish presence in Syria dates back 2500 years, long before the Arab conquest. By the time of the partition vote in 1947, the community in Aleppo stood at about 10,000, while the community in all of Syria numbered at about 40,000.

On November 30, 1947, the day after the partition vote, the authorities in Aleppo organized the local Arab population to target its Jewish inhabitants in retaliation. Angry mobs destroyed 10 synagogues, five Jewish schools, numerous Jewish shops, and 150 Jewish homes, setting them on fire. Perhaps most heartbreaking was the destruction and desecration of a Torah manuscript dating back to medieval times; in 1958, the Torah reappeared in Israel with numerous pages missing.

We don’t know for a fact how many Jews were murdered, but most estimates stand at about 75, with many more hundreds wounded. The Syrian government seized Jewish assets and properties.

Wealthier Syrian Jews escaped the next day, as they had the resources to leave. Others trickled out in the following months, many leaving for Palestine in rescue operations. On December 22, 1947, the Syrian government forbade Jews from selling their properties.

No Jews remain in Aleppo today. As of 2020, no Jews remain in all of Syria, either.

 

YEMEN

In the 1940s, the Yemenite port city of Aden was under British rule. During this period, antisemitic sentiments in Yemen increased, particularly after Palestinian Arabs began visiting Yemen; additionally, the access to antisemitic propaganda coming from Egypt also inflamed antisemitic sentiments.

Immediately following the partition vote on November 29, 1947, large-scale protests broke out in the Jewish quarters of Yemen and Aden. The protests quickly turned violent, with Arabs throwing stones and bottles at the Jewish population. For various days, Arabs looted Jewish homes and businesses.

The situation continued to escalate. By December 4, about 80 Jews had been murdered, 100 Jewish shops were destroyed, and 30 Jewish homes were burnt to the ground. Jewish schools were also set on fire. As the British desperately and ineffectively tried to control the situation, 33 Arabs, 4 Muslim Indians, one Somali, and two British military officers were killed. The riots were deeply embarrassing for the British, as things had gotten out of hand so quickly.

Following the riots, the Adeni Jewish community fled, along with the rest of Yemen’s Jewish population. In 1948, 55,000 Jews lived in Yemen, with the community dating back over 2000 years. Between June 1949 and September 1950, around 50,000 of those Jews fled Yemen in a secret operation known as Operation Magic Carpet. As of 2021, only one Jew remained in Yemen.

 

 

PALESTINE

The very next day after the partition vote, Arab mobs in Palestine began attacking Jews near the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem, Arab gunmen ambushed two Jewish buses near Petah Tikva (killing 7), and Arab snipers shot at buses and pedestrians in Haifa, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv; as such, a civil war broke out.

Two weeks into the war, Palestinians had murdered some 126 Jews.

The first Jewish massacre of Palestinians took place several days later, on December 18, 1947, when Jewish forces massacred 12 Palestinians, including 5 children, in Al-Khisas.

The war raged on from November 30, 1947 to 1949. Following Israel’s Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, an Arab coalition including armies and soldiers from the Arab Liberation Army (Arab League), Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Sudan, and Yemen invaded the newly established State of Israel.

By the end of the war, 750,000 Palestinians had been displaced or expelled and 5000-13,000 killed. On the other hand, 6000 Jews were killed in Palestine, including some 2000 Holocaust survivors, with countless more massacres elsewhere in the Arab world in retaliation. Additionally, 850,000 Jews — virtually the entirety of the Jewish population in the Arab world — were displaced or expelled from their homes, including 40,000 Jews who were expelled from East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria (later renamed the West Bank).

For a more in-depth look into the 1947-1949 war, see my post 1947-1949 PALESTINE WAR.

 

ETHNIC CLEANSING

As mentioned, 850,000 Jews were expelled from the Arab world, including 40,000 Jews expelled from East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. In 2014, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) designated November 30 as the day to officially commemorate the expulsion of 850,000 Jews from the Arab world. “Mizrahi” (meaning “eastern”) is a catch-all term for Jews whose ancestors lived in Southwest Asia and North Africa (the Middle East), as well as Central Asia.

Due to the war in Palestine, the leadership elsewhere in the Arab world retaliated against their own ancient Jewish communities. In addition to physical violence, Arab governments enacted oppressive and restrictive laws targeting Jews. Such laws were passed in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, and more. Many Arab countries passed laws forbidding Jews from emigrating, so tens of thousands had to be evacuated in secret operations.

For instance, in Iraq, Jews were dismissed from their jobs and “Zionism” became a capital crime. A Jew only had to be denounced by two or more Muslims to be convicted, and there was no system of appeal. Jews were accused of “treason” and arrested on trumped up charges, tortured, executed, and their assets were seized, an estimated 80 million dollars worth. In one case, a man was sentenced to 5 years of forced labor for having a Biblical Hebrew inscription, which the accusers claimed was a “coded Zionist message.” When the wealthiest Jew in Iraq, a non-Zionist named Shafiq Ades, was accused of Zionism and was executed, Iraqi Jews realized there was no future for them in Iraq.

Also in Iraq, the government stripped Jews of their citizenship, leaving them stateless, with many left destitute and having to sleep on the streets. The Iraqi government threatened Israel that if they did not “pick up their Jews,” Iraqi Jews would be placed in concentration camps.

 

ERASURE & LIES

For years, the Arab-majority world has been lying about this ethnic cleansing. Al Jazeera, for example, a news outlet that is owned directly by the Qatari state (see my post AL JAZEERA IS LYING TO YOU), has countless articles with titles such as the “Invention of Mizrahim.” To this day, not a single United Nations resolution has recognized the plight of Mizrahi Jews, while numerous resolutions have addressed the plight of Palestinian refugees. The UN also specifically created UNRWA, an agency addressing the issue of Palestinian refugees. No other refugees in the world have a UN agency specifically for them.

Meanwhile, recently, the organization “Jewish” Voice for Peace (see my post WHO IS JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE?) published a post accusing the Israeli government of creating Mizrahi commemoration day to “detract” from the plight of Palestinian refugees. That makes zero sense, given that Nakba Day is on May 15, and Mizrahi commemoration day takes place on November 30, in commemoration of the pogroms in Syria and Yemen, which instigated the ethnic cleansing of 850,000 Mizrahi Jews. Mizrahi commemoration also doesn’t take away from the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, given that, originally, that (1) sometimes it's been held in December, (2) when it's held in November, it's held on November 29, not 30. There are many things to criticize the Israeli government for, including the treatment of Mizrahim in the first few decades of Israeli statehood, but this is absolutely not one of them. In fact, a commemoration day for Mizrahim should’ve been declared long before 2014.

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