Uproot­ed: How 3000 Years of Jew­ish Civ­i­liza­tion in the Arab World Van­ished Overnight

Lyn Julius, Tom Gross (Fwd.)

  • Review
By – July 12, 2019

Lyn Julius, the British-born daugh­ter of Iraqi Jews, advo­cates for the rights of Jews from Arab coun­tries, par­tic­u­lar­ly through her jour­nal­is­tic work and her new book, Uproot­ed. Her aim with this book is to equip read­ers with knowl­edge about Jew­ish life in Arab coun­tries, the caus­es for their depar­ture, and the fight to be rec­og­nized as Jew­ish refugees. In addi­tion to the text, the book includes appen­dices, a bib­li­og­ra­phy, an index, maps, and numer­ous photographs.

In sur­vey­ing Jew­ish life in the Arab world, Julius empha­sizes the low­er sta­tus of Jews as dhim­mis and focus­es on mal­treat­ment by the author­i­ties and the Mus­lim soci­ety. Regard­ing mod­ern times, she stress­es the impact of Nazism on the Arab world and the Jew­ish suf­fer­ing that result­ed in sev­er­al Arab coun­tries. She also deals with Arab anti­semitism and the impact of Arab nation­al­ism on the Jews. A major top­ic is the rea­sons for the depar­ture of Jews from their Arab home­lands and why they should be rec­og­nized as refugees. Julius exam­ines the treat­ment of the Pales­tin­ian refugees, who are inter­na­tion­al­ly rec­og­nized as refugees and are them­selves and their chil­dren kept in refugee sta­tus, con­trary to the sta­tus of Jews from Arab lands, who set­tled in Israel and the West and recon­struct­ed their lives as ful­ly inte­grat­ed cit­i­zens. The appen­dices pro­vide data on the Jews in Arab coun­tries and tes­ti­monies of their suf­fer­ing and escape.

Read­ers should be sure to care­ful­ly exam­ine the text: while the bib­li­og­ra­phy includes numer­ous schol­ar­ly works, the book itself relies heav­i­ly on the media and var­i­ous blogs; neg­a­tive inter­pre­ta­tions, hos­til­i­ty and dis­crim­i­na­tion are empha­sized, while pos­i­tive expe­ri­ences are depict­ed as excep­tions or manip­u­la­tions. Nev­er­the­less, the book dis­cuss­es impor­tant issues and includes valu­able data, tes­ti­monies, and photographs.

Uproot­ed can be espe­cial­ly use­ful for those engaged in dis­cus­sions over the Israeli-Pales­tin­ian con­flict, and in par­tic­u­lar on the issue of the Pales­tin­ian refugees: it pro­vides ready answers to those glo­ri­fy­ing the sta­tus of Jews in the Mus­lim World, details the rea­sons for their depar­ture, and describes efforts to recon­struct their lives lat­er on.

Rachel Simon, a librar­i­an at Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, does research on Jews in the mod­ern Mid­dle East and North Africa, with spe­cial ref­er­ence to Libya, Ottoman Empire, women, and education.

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