I was shocked when I read in the Scribe of April, 1999, that in his address in the commemoration service, Mr Meer Basri claimed that Rabbi Sasson Khedhouri, President of the Community defended the innocent Jewish detainees. I challenge his statement and say that at no time Sasson Khedhouri defended the Jews of Iraq. The administration counsel indeed may have caused them more harm than good. They were all concerned about the positions that they were holding. The sour relationship between Sasson Khedhouri and the Jewish community started in the thirties, before I was born. People often talked how the Rabbis at that time called on the community to boycott him and not to buy meat supervised by him. His positions in 1941 at the time of Rashid Ali and in 1948 are very well-known. Khedhouri did not want the Jews to leave Iraq and of course he never made efforts to help them leave at any point of time.
Soon after the Six-Day war of 1967, at the time when discriminatory laws were enacted to impose severe restrictions of Iraqi Jews and the arrests of innocent people had began, Khedhouri made several false declarations to foreign reporters. He kept saying that the Jews in Iraq were enjoying full civil and religious freedom like other citizens!
He travelled on Saturday, February 8, 1969 (a few days after the hangings), to the Presidential Palace to congratulate Al-Bakir on the anniversary of the 1963 coup. He stood smiling in front of the cameras and the Iraqi television used this opportunity for propaganda purposes, since the whole world was condemning the executions at that time.
The false statements that he continued to make while the Jews were living in terror, had pleased the government.
After his death in 1971, the Government began to allow the Jews to leave the country.
I think that his supporters should at least keep their mouths shut and not make false statements that open old wounds.
Ramzi Loya CGA
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