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"Religion is for God, the Fatherland is for everyone": Arab-Jewish writers in modern Iraq and the clash of narratives after their immigration to Israel.

Jews writing in Arabic have only seldom been able to make a name for themselves in the history of Arabic belles-lettres. There are Jewish poets in the pre-Islamic period, such as al-Samaw'al ibn 'Adiya', (1) but once Islam appeared it is almost only in Muslim Spain (al-Andalus), in the eleventh-thirteenth centuries, that we find Jewish authors so at home in fusha (literary Arabic) that they achieved recognition for their Arabic works. (2) Some became famous in both Hebrew and Arabic; a few wrote only in Arabic. Since the mid-thirteenth century, Jews were not as open to participation in the wider Arabic culture, and as at home in fusha, as they became from the 1920s onward in Iraq. (3) This involvement was encouraged by the process of modernization and secularization of the local Jews beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century. Other Jewish communities in the middle East and North Africa went through a similar process, but only in Egypt can we also find some involvement in Arabic literature, (4) although less intensive than in Iraq.

The present article examines the emergence of the literary writing of the Jews of Iraq in the 1920s and the beginning of its demise after only a few decades, both inside and outside Iraq, and followed by the switch to Hebrew writing in Israel. I will try to show that these processes were due not only to political and national circumstances and motives but also to the aesthetic and cultural norms of both Arabic-Muslim and Hebrew-Jewish cultural and literary systems. Furthermore, the Andalusian vision of cultural cooperation and religious tolerance which emerged in Baghdad in the first half of the twentieth century was the product of a very limited period, a very confined space, and a very singular history.


Living in Iraq without interruption for two and a half millennia and tracing their domicile there to the Babylonian exile, during the first half of the twentieth century Iraqi Jews developed a sort of Andalusian vision of integration in the new Iraqi nation-state. This vision had its roots in the previous century, especially during the governorate of Midhat Pasha, the leading advocate of Ottoman tanzimat reforms (1869-72). The foundation in 1864 of the Alliance Israelite Universelle (AIU) School in Baghdad, where education was predominantly secular, played a major role in the modernization of the local community, which gradually became more open to the outside world than did the local Christians and Muslims. (5) Visiting Baghdad in 1878, Grattan Geary, editor of the Times of India, wrote that the instruction of the AIU School was of the best modern kind. "Arabic is the mother tongue of the Baghdad Jews," writes Geary, and "the pupils are taught how to write and speak that language grammatically." Many of them "spoke and read English with wonderful fluency," and "they speak French with singular purity of accent and expression." (6)

Apart from their exposure to the AIU agents of modernization, Iraqi Jews had close connections with European intellectuals. The fertile ground for them was the atmosphere in the Ottoman Empire whose location between East and West made Baghdad a kind of crossroads of influences between Christian and Muslim countries and between European Jewry and the Arab Jews. Baghdadi Jews functioned as correspondents and representatives for European Hebrew Jewish newspapers such as Ha-Maggid, the first Hebrew newspaper established in Europe. There were family relations as well: for example, the musician Yusuf Huraysh (1889-1975) was an offspring of a European family who immigrated to Basra; (7) the grandfather of Anwar Sha'ul (1904-84) was an immigrant Jew from Austria who arrived in Baghdad in the middle of the nineteenth century. (8) The aforementioned Geary mentioned a girl of eleven, Khatoum Luron, whose father, an Austrian Jew, took part in the establishment of the AIU School and had a hand in its management; she displayed "great intelligence, and prattled her French in the prettiest way." (9) Geary also mentions the director of the school, S. Garat, a native of Baghdad, who was educated in Paris, and the English teacher, a young Baghdadi Jew, Mr. Michael, who had received his education at the Jesuit College in Bombay. (10)

Wealthy Jews also used to send their sons to be educated in European institutions, where they were influenced by the atmosphere of the Enlightenment, especially with regard to the benefit from the advantages which participation in the cultural and social activities of the wider society could offer them. Sasun Hiskil (Sassoon Yehezkel) (1860-1932), for example, did Oriental studies at Vienna, where many Jews spoke high German, adopted German names, and dressed and acted like Austrians and Germans. (11) In an interview in 1909 with a correspondent of the Hebrew newspaper Ha-Olam (The World), published in Vilna, Sassoon Afandi, at the time one of the representatives of Baghdad in the Ottoman parliament, expressed views inspired by ideas prevalent among European Jews. "Mr. Sassoon wants to be assimilated," writes Ha-Olam's correspondent, "and since he does not see any positive aspect which would unite the Jews, besides religion, he would agree to be assimilated even with the Arabs." (12) Written in indirect speech--no one would suspect that Sassoon Afandi had used the words "even with the Arabs"--it is an indication that the Ashkenazi-Zionist outlook toward the Arab Jews was not a phenomenon which developed following the establishment of the state of Israel; it was part of the very essence of Zionism as a national movement inspired by European colonialism. A Jew that was also an Arab did not fit the Zionist venture from its inception--it was guided by what Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), the founder of modern Zionism, wrote in the late nineteenth century: "We should there form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilisation as opposed to barbarism." (13)

Also significant were Jewish European immigrants who arrived in Baghdad, bringing to the Jews the conception of Enlightenment and pushing them toward westernization and secularization. For example, the Austrian Jacob Obermeyer (1845-1935), who lived in Baghdad from 1869 to 1880, tried through his reformist conceptions to modernize the religious framework of the local community and introduce some leniencies into Jewish law; his reports were published in Hebrew periodicals and read by hundreds of local Jews. The strong opposition he faced from the leaders of the local community testified to the revolutionary nature of his conceptions; in his reformist eagerness he even challenged the Baghdadi religious leader Chacham Yoseif Chaim (1832-1909), who forcefully condemned Obermeyer's innovations. The communal leaders also united in putting him into cherem (exclusion from communal participation) and the proclamation was read aloud in every synagogue in Baghdad. (14) Although Obermeyer retracted his criticism and begged for forgiveness, it seems that he, together with other Jewish immigrants, were accelerating a process which would encourage Iraqi Jews to behave in many ways like middle-class Jews in Europe, who felt more German or European than Jewish. The reality in which Jews lived and worked in Baghdad during the first half of the twentieth century was one of a close symbiotic contact with the wider Arab-Muslim culture, and for most of them their Arab identity was uppermost--they were "Arab Jews" or "Arabs of the Jewish faith." (15)

The Assyrian Christian writer Yusuf Rizq Allah Ghunayma (1885-1950), who was educated in the AIU School in Baghdad (1898-1902), (16) and later became Minister of Finance in several of the Iraqi cabinets, wrote in 1924 that the Jews of Iraq "considered the country as their homeland and the Arab Iraqi government as the government which they must support." (17) The government was very responsive to the patriotic sentiments of Jews and to their desire to be an active component of Iraqi society and Arab-Muslim culture. "Every person who speaks Arabic is an Arab," (18) said Sati' al-Husri (1880-1968), Director General of Education in Iraq (1923-27) and Arab nationalism's first true ideologue. With the aim of making the very mixed population of the new nation-state homogeneous and cohesive, he looked upon schools as the means by which to indoctrinate the young in the tenets of Pan-Arabism, seeking the "assimilation of diverse elements of the population into a homogeneous whole tied by the bonds of language, history, and culture to a comprehensive but still exclusive ideology of Arabism." (19) On 18 July 1921, one month before his coronation as King of Iraq, Amir Faysal (1883-1933) declared before Jewish community leaders that "in the vocabulary of patriotism, there is no such thing as Jew, Muslim, or Christian. There is simply one thing called Iraq [...] all of us related to the Semitic root, which makes no distinction between Muslim, Christian or Jew." (20)

The organized governmental educational efforts to create a specific Iraqi-Arab national community for all religious and ethnic groups (21) fostered national and patriotic awareness among the Jews. Toward the middle of the 1920s, Jewish educational institutions put heavy emphasis on teaching Arabic; Salman Darwish (1910-82) wrote that Arabic language and literature had "penetrated our very bloodstream." (22) Arabic became, according to Ishaq (Isaac) Bar-Moshe (1927-2003), a "decisive fact of life." (23) The fluent Arabic style of the Jews was more than once judged superior to that of their non-Jewish counterparts. The Syrian 'Ali al-Tantawi (1906-99) even noted that after the excellence of Jews in Arabic studies disturbed one school administration it was decided to combine instruction in Arabic literature with instruction in Muslim studies. Still, this did not prevent Jewish students from excelling in the new curriculum. (24)

By the 1930s most of the Jewish population lived in Baghdad; they filled most of the civil service jobs under the British and the early monarchy. The Civil Administrative of Mesopotamia, in its annual review for the year 1920, stated that the Jews were "a very important section of the community, outnumbering the Sunnis or Shias." (25) According to the last official yearbook of the Baghdad vilayet, the population figures for the city of Baghdad were as follows: Arab, Turks and other Muslims except Persians and Kurds: 101,400; Persian 800; Kurds 8,000; Jews 80,000; Christians 12,000. (26) The importance of the Jewish community was illustrated by the structure of the administrative council of the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce when it was set up in 1926: one member representing the banks, three members representing the British merchants, one member for the Persian merchants, five members for the Jewish ones and four for Muslims. In 1938-39 ten of the twenty-five "first class" members of the Chamber were Jews. (27) Baghdad at the time, says Elie Kedourie (1926-92), "could be said to be as much a Jewish city as an Islamic one." (28) As it has often been said that New York is a Jewish city, "one can safely say," according to Nissim Rajwan (Rejwan) (b. 1924), "the same about Baghdad in the first half of the twentieth century." (29)

It is thus not surprising that following the 1917 Balfour declaration, E. E. Stevens (Lady Drower) wrote that a Syrian complained to her: "If the Jews want a National Home, why don't they go to Mesopotamia? Their father Abraham was an 'Iraqi, a large part of the race has lived there ever since the captivity, and there are more Jews today in 'Iraq than in the whole of Palestine." (30) In the wake of the First World War the intellectual secular elite of Iraqi Jews was rallying behind the efforts to make Iraq a state for all its citizens--Muslims, Christians and Jews. In the late 1930s Ezra Haddad (1900-1972) declared that "we are Arabs and only after that we are Jews." Ya'qub Balbul (1920-2003) wrote that "a Jewish youth in the Arab countries expects nothing from Zionism except colonialism and domination." (31) Emile Marmorstein (1901-83), who served as headmaster of the Shammash School for boys in Baghdad in the 1930s, wrote that the Iraqi Jews "are attached to their homes, traditions and shrines of the prophets, and would not like to leave them in order to begin once more in an immigrants' camp in Israel, where, they believe people are not particularly friendly to Oriental Jews." (32) A survey published in 1950 said that except for a natural interest in developments in Palestine, there has never been in Iraq any feeling of solidarity with the political aspiration of Zionism. (33) Considering themselves an integral part of Arab-Muslim culture and the Iraqi nation, Iraqi Jews were full of confidence that Iraq was their only homeland: as Shalom Darwish (1913-97) was to put it, "to the days of the Messiah." (34)


The first Jewish Iraqi author to publish a book in fusha was Salim Ishaq (1877-1949), a lawyer and translator, whose al-Inqilab al-'Uthmani (The Ottoman Revolution) appeared in 1909 in Baghdad. (35) That same year saw the publication of the first issues of two newspapers edited by Jews, al-Zuhur (The Flowers) and Bayn al-Nahrayn (Mesopotamia). The major outbreak of literary Arabic writing by Jews was however only in the 1920s. An interesting indirect testimony of that turning point was given by the aforementioned Yusuf Ghunayma who, while describing the social classes of the Iraqi Jews, remarked that they were dealing with all occupations, "but you cannot find among them writers and owners of periodicals and newspapers. The reason for this is that the Jew wants to work at what can benefit him while the market of composing and writing in our midst is selling badly. So in this matter they are following the Latin proverb which says: 'living comes first before philosophy.'" (36) On 10 April 1924, only a few months after Ghunayma's book was published, there appeared the first issue of al-Misbah (The Candlestick), whose owner, editor, and most of its writers were Jews, and which featured (p. 8) a notice on the publication of Ghunayma's book. The journal's aim, at least when it was founded, was to contribute to Iraqi Arab-Muslim culture with no narrow Jewish agenda at all. Iraqi Jews started to produce works which "were Arabic in essence and expression." (37)

This was a secular literature inspired by a cultural vision whose most eloquent dictum was al-dinu li-llahi wa-l-watanu li-l-jami' (Religion is for God, the Fatherland is for everyone). (38) Jews wrote in various genres, but it was as short story writers that they were to make their most significant contribution to Iraqi literature. They were so well integrated within the cultural and national enterprise of the new Iraqi state that their literary works can by no means be described as Jewish, with the exception of the ethnic and religious origins of the authors. Like other Arab authors, Iraqi Jews wrote in fusha, including dialogues, but a strong influence of popular vernacular literature is undeniable. (39) At the same time, they were well aware of the techniques of the modern European short story that had found its way into Arabic experiments then being made, especially in Egypt and Iraq. This also meant that part of their inspiration came from the mainly English and French short stories that were available in Arabic translation, many of which were translated by Jews. (40)

One of the first short stories published by an Iraqi Jew was "Bayna Anyab al-Bahr" (Between the Fangs of the Sea). (41) The author used the pseudonym of Fata Isra'il, "Youth of Israel," indicating that through his communal identity he belonged to the wider fabric of Iraq's new society. It was not, of course, expressive of any Jewish nationalist tendency--Zionism was not yet in the picture in Iraq. The story is illustrative of the cultural circumstances surrounding the emergence of the new genre among Jewish writers, who were moving into a territory which was relatively untrodden; thus it is understandable why the influence of popular Arab folk narratives is found in their works. For example, the role played by the narrator is often similar to that of the traditional hakawati, the itinerant storyteller who would appear in coffee-houses and public squares and present stories inspired by old folk tales and legends. The story is filled with phrases and sentences that allude to a kind of story-telling narration before a group of listeners; events are presented in chronological order with continuity of action and repetition so as to emphasize a certain element or to increase the tension of expectations. The style is concise, using first person direct speech in dialogue and rhetorical questions in order to hold the attention of the readers/audience. Little attention is paid to the psychology or the character of the heroes; concentration is on description and a steady flow of quick movement, using strings of verbs. The story also contains elements of the miraculous, and descriptions are generally based on the senses of sight and hearing--the reader can imagine the narrator as standing in front of an audience incapable of, or uninterested in, absorbing intellectual or analytic presentation. (42) Yet it is not a folk tale: written in fusha, it contains the basic elements of the modern short story, such as the organization of the action and interaction of the characters into an artful pattern. Because the main aim is to reach a totality of effect, the principle of selectivity is preserved--it has a plot, which "has a beginning and develops through a middle to some sort of denouement at the end." (43) "Between the Fangs of the Sea" contained several "seeds" which heralded the next stage, characterized by various elements of the romantic school which became dominant in Arabic literature in the late 1920s and 1930s. Prominent here are descriptions of nature and analogies to human life which recall the writings of Muhammad Husayn Haykal (1888-1956), Mustafa Lutfi al-Manfaluti (1876-1924), and Jubran Khalil Jubran (1883-1931).

One Jewish writer who began very early to develop a romantic poetics was Murad Mikha'il (1906-86), who is considered to have been the first Iraqi writer to publish a short story in the European sense. (44) His "al-Ba'is" (The Miserable Man) (45) echoes in its title and content Victor Hugo's Les Miserables (1862), which was translated into Arabic at the beginning of the twentieth century under the title al-Bu'asa'. (46) The description of nature in the story is effectively used to give the reader a glimpse into the soul of the miserable man. The social aspects of French romanticism come to the fore in the sharp dichotomy between the individual and society as well as in the revolt against fate as understood from the stance of the narrator and the implied author. However, the departure from story-telling is not complete--we find, for example, a kind of delay by way of an interior monologue in which the narrator addresses his sick son and asks for his forgiveness. But Mikhail's story consistently attempts to escape the influence of popular literature and to integrate modern elements; the style is more polished and avoids the tendency to digress from the main theme. Concentrating on one character, this single episode was carefully selected to reveal as much as possible of the totality of the protagonist's life and character, while details are carefully devised to have maximum significance. Mikha'il also combines realistic dimensions so as to heighten the misery of the poor people, thus preparing the ground for the next stage, the realistic one.

The writings of Anwar Sha'ul, who was very active in Iraqi literary life from the 1920s, may illustrate the next stage in the development of the Iraqi short story. (47) He served as the editor of two journals, the aforementioned al-Misbah and al-Hasid (The Reaper), the most influential Iraqi literary journal during the 1930s. As the editor of al-Misbah, Sha'ul wrote under the pseudonym Ibn al-Samaw'al, an allusion to the abovementioned pre-Islamic poet al-Samaw'al ibn 'Adiya'. Confident that his religion would not pose an obstacle to integration into Iraqi society, in December 1929 he even read an elegy for the deceased Iraqi leader 'Abd al-Muhsin al-Sa'dun in al-Kaylani mosque in Baghdad. (48)

Sha'ul can be described as the first Iraqi Jew in the modern period who tried to adopt in his writings a local version of the earlier Jewish European Haskala (Enlightenment). Like the European maskil (follower of Haskala), Sha'ul assumed the position of a social critic who waged all-out war against ignorance and was convinced that his victory would greatly benefit the Jewish community. Like his Jewish European predecessors, who struggled to entrench their new ideas in society, he was vilified and misunderstood. In his essay "al-Majnun al-Ta'ih" (The Wandering Madman), (49) he alludes to the social price he had to pay by adopting a stance considered suspicious, but, like the maskilim, he saw the battle as "the war of progress and light against backwardness and darkness." Like them, Sha'ul's acceptance of suffering and pain in this cultural war was seen as an integral part of the maskilic experience, and he saw himself as a prophet "engulfed by the holy spirit." He understood that Jews should learn Arabic, as European Jews learned the languages of the countries in which they lived, because "it will help them earn a decent living, as doctors, professors, or the like." The slogan, "Religion is for God, the Fatherland is for everyone," bore the same maskilic outlook found in the slogan adopted in Europe, for example by Judah Leib Gordon (1830-92): "Be a man in the street and a Jew at home." Like him, Sha'ul was regarded as trying to promote assimilation and imitation of alien culture. In short, like the maskilim, he considered himself part of an intellectual, variegated elite adopting a general liberal rationalist orientation--a member of a new secular intelligentsia who had themselves gone "through the experience of transition from a world of 'old' knowledge and values to the 'new' world of Haskala." (50)

Sha'ul's major contribution to Iraqi literature was in the field of the short story. The journal al-Hasid, which he owned and edited from 1929 to 1938, did much to promote the new art and help it to become a defined genre as it was in the West: a prose narrative limited in characters and situations, concerned with a single effect; character is revealed, not developed; generally, a single aspect of personality undergoes change or is revealed as the result of conflict; and because of limited length, background is generally sketched in lightly. In an unprecedented move in the local literary arena in volume three of al-Hasid Sha'ul declares that he is ready to pay three to ten rupees for every story published in the journal, since writers "must be encouraged to write in order to develop and to go forward." (51)

In 1930 Sha'ul published al-Hisad al-Awwal (The First Harvest), one of the first collections of short stories in Iraq. In the introduction to the collection, which includes thirty-one stories, he presents his committed conception, which considered literature as a critical medium and a vehicle of social reform. Literature cannot be based on "enthusiastic kisses exchanged by a couple of lovers"; it must have its roots in the customs, traditions, and moral standards of the society, in its shortcomings and in its confusions. (52) This conception may be illustrated by his story "Banafsaja," which addresses the issue of the status of women in traditional Arab society. (53) The story, based on a true incident, (54) is about the attractive and charming Banafsaja, who studied science and literature and used to walk the streets with her face uncovered. She falls in love with a young man, but the family intends to betroth her against her will to a wealthy man who is over forty years old, while she is only nineteen. The core of the story is an ironical scene in which family members gather to decide her fate. The parents are united in their position that she should marry a wealthy candidate, since her lover, Jamil, is a clerk with no financial resources. The engagement was planned for the day after the gathering, but the girl decides to fight back--she is not "a piece of merchandise in the market to be bought and sold." Locking herself in her room, she refuses to take part in the ceremony and when her father threatens to break down the door she responds; "You may break down the door of the room, Father, but you cannot break down the door of my heart." The wealthy fiance left the house "ashamed, staggering as if he had drunk some old wine." In the anticipated happy ending, the narrator receives an invitation to the wedding of Banafsaja and her lover; "and so love won!..."

Sha'ul's story demonstrates that he was fully aware of the basic qualities that make the short story a unique genre: "It makes a single impression on the reader, it does so by concentrating on a crisis, and it makes that crisis pivotal in a controlled plot." (55) The author's chief purpose was to convey the social message (as in his journalistic writings)--the need to improve women's status and to extend them equal rights, including access to education, the first area in which women began to make significant gains.

Sha'ul was well aware of his pioneering efforts: "I am among the writers who tried to create the art of the story from nothing. I am like the inventor opening the road to this kind of literature." (56) Although some scholars have expressed reservations about the quality of his works, (57) Sha'ul's achievements encouraged other Jewish writers to follow his example, as seen in the late 1930s and 1940s. But the conflict in Palestine created a new situation which soon marginalized the literary activities of the Iraqi Jews.


As a result of the escalation of the conflict in the Middle East, religious and national identification blurred and the distinctions made by early Arab nationalists between the Jewish religion and political Zionism gradually disappeared. The definition of Arabism became ever more narrow and excluded Jews; because of Palestine, no matter how vociferous their loyalty as Iraqi Arabs and their denials of Zionist partisanship, Jews became targets of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. The Farhud in Baghdad in June 1941, when more than one hundred fifty Jews were killed and Jewish property was looted, led to an obfuscation of the Jews' role in Iraqi society by implying doubts about their loyalty. Young Jewish men were pushed into joining the Zionist movement or the Communist underground. While the former struggled for the establishment of an independent Jewish state, the latter fought against the corrupt regime and for equal rights for all minorities.

Following the establishment of Israel many Iraqi Jewish poets and writers emigrated to the new state, (58) while a much smaller number decided to seek their fortunes in the West. (59) Only a few chose to stay in Iraq. The writers who opted for Israel faced harsh material conditions and difficulties in adapting to the new society. Nevertheless, many continued to write and publish in Arabic. Already in the early 1950s it was possible to discern two groups that generally paralleled the dominant trends among the Palestinian local minority: those who were active under the aegis of the authorities and those who joined the Communist party.

The Histadrut (The General Workers' Federation) played an important role in cultivating what were called "positive" cultural activities by means of prizes and competitions and through its Arab Book Fund. (60) Several organs served this purpose, particularly the news-paper al-Yawm (Today) (established in 1948 and closed in 1968), the weekly Haqiqat al-Amr (The Truth of the Matter) (first issue 24 March 1937; closed in 1959), and the monthly al-Mujtama' (The Society) (established in 1954 by the Palestinian poet Mishil Haddad [1919-97]; closed in 1959). (61) Iraqi-Jewish immigrants played significant roles in these journals as editors and writers; one of the most prominent was the poet and jurist Salim Sha'shu'a (b. 1930), (62) whose volume of poetry Fi 'Alam al-Nur (In the World of Light) (1959) illustrates this tendency. They dealt with the yearning for peace and "Jewish-Arab brotherhood," but avoided controversial subjects such as the government policy toward the Palestinian minority and the way in which Jews from Arab lands were absorbed into Israel. Consequently, many literary works of the time tended to emphasize traditional themes such as male-female relations, social and ethical issues. The harsh circumstances left few options for most intellectuals, who were in urgent need of providing their families with the very means of subsistence. With the authorities having the ability to provide employment, such as in the educational system--sometimes no matter what the qualifications of the candidate were (63)--the intellectuals had to cope with the new situation.

Not all cultural activities in Israel in the 1950s, however, were sponsored and directed by the authorities. After the proclamation of the state of Israel most of the local Palestinian urban intelligentsia left for beyond the border; those who stayed belonged mostly to the Communist Party, whose leaders consistently preached for coexistence. Community literary writing generally conveyed a world view the universality of which dismissed the narrow confines of nationalism. Many difficulties faced the Communist intellectuals in promoting their cultural activities, especially as the ruling party and its various institutions employed all available means to disrupt their plans. Despite the obstacles, the Communist journals stood out, particularly al-Ittihad (The Union) (established in 1944) and al-Jadid (The New) (established in 1953), for their quality and wide circulation. (64) In order to evade censorship, writers were drawn to seek new modes of expression, sometimes even using symbolism. To illustrate the deep involvement of Iraqi Jews in Communist cultural Arabic activities in Israel in the 1950s it suffices to follow the publications of Sami Michael (Sami Mikha'il) (65) (b. 1926), in al-Jadid. Up to December 1956 (about three years since the journal had been founded), he published ten stories under the pen name Samir Marid (Samir the rebel). This was the highest number of stories published in al-Jadid by a single author; next to him was the Palestinian Hanna Ibrahim (b. 1927) who published five stories during the same period.

The two opposing camps both shared a striking, black-versus-white dichotomy, but of a different nature. For those supported by the authorities, the dark past in Iraq (in their eyes) was contrasted with the joyous present and promising future in Israel. For the Communist writers there was a social and universal dichotomy between what they considered as the dark Israeli-Zionist present, loaded with oppression, and a utopian future ruled by justice. Writers from both groups, each from their own viewpoint, preached coexistence and peace. The difference between them can be seen in the concept of "spring" so frequently used by both sides. According to the authors supported by the authorities, their hopes had already been realized in the independent Jewish Israel of the 1950s, as we see in the initial words of the first poem in Salim Sha'shu'a's Fi 'Alam al-Nur: "The spring has arrived" (qadima al-rab'). (66) For the Communist writers, the struggle was still in full force and their eyes were fixed firmly toward the future. "Until Spring Comes" (Hatta Yaji' al-Rabi') was the title of a poetry collection published in 1959 by David Semah (1933-97). In his poem "He Shall Return," about the massacre of forty-eight innocent Palestinian citizens at Kfar Qasim on 29 October 1956, Semah presents a dualism between oppressive rulers and oppressed masses, indicating that social justice is a necessary condition for a better tomorrow and for peace among peoples. (67)

Since the 1960s most Iraqi Jewish writers and poets gradually severed themselves from creative activities. The few who insisted on remaining true to their cultural origins and continued to write in Arabic were soon faced with a dilemma of language--their mother tongue was Arabic, but now it was the language of the enemy; the language of the new state was Hebrew, the language of Zionism. Among them were two writers who began publishing only in the 1970s (and whose books scarcely found any readership inside or outside Israel), the aforementioned Ishaq Bar-Moshe and Samir Naqqash (1938-2004). (68) Naqqash's words, written some years before his death, depict his isolation: "I don't exist in this country [Israel], not as a writer, a citizen nor a human being. I don't feel that I belong anywhere, not since my roots were torn from the ground [in Iraq]." (69)

The gradual demise of Arabic literature among Jews has precipitated a new controversy regarding the cultural preferences of Western-oriented Israeli society. (70) The dilemma was whether Arab-Muslim culture could be considered a "correct" source of inspiration for the new Israeli culture. Sooner or later Iraqi Jewish writers who emigrated to Israel were confronted with the stark choice as to in which language they should write and communicate, that is, whether to continue to write in Arabic or to adapt to their new cultural surroundings and make the required shift in their aesthetic preference and begin writing in Hebrew, in the hope of finding a new audience.


Those writers who succeeded in adapting to writing in Hebrew gradually adopted the poetics of Hebrew literature and in many cases the Zionist narrative, although they still insisted on retaining various degrees of relationship to Arabic culture. The fact that they wrote for a Hebrew-speaking audience, most of whom had a strong preference for Western culture, dictated a change in their poetic conceptions and in their literary preferences. Shimon Ballas (Sham'un Ballas) (b. 1930) was one of the first who, while adapting to writing in Hebrew, tried to adhere to his original cultural preferences as "an Arab Jew." (71) Explaining his switch to Hebrew, Ballas says that he felt that in writing in Arabic he was isolating himself from the society in which he lived. But he wrote, "This does not mean, however, that I have given up my cultural origins, and my cultural origins are Arab." (72)

Born in the Christian quarter of Baghdad (al-Dahana), Ballas grew to adopt a secular cosmopolitan world view. He was educated at the AIU School where he mastered Arabic and French, the latter serving as his window to world literature. The fact that his immigration to Israel in 1951 was by no means motivated by Zionism, his experience in a ma'abarah--an immigrants' transit camp--and his activities in the Communist party inspired his literary production. He served for six years as editor of Arab Affairs for the Communist party's Hebrew organ, Kol Ha'am (The Voice of the People), and published Arabic short stories and essays. In one story, "Ahabba al-Hayat" (He Loved Life), (73) although the protagonist faces the threat of being deprived of his livelihood, he does not surrender his principles. After leaving the party in 1961, Ballas has devoted himself to literary writing, academic research and translation.

His first novel was originally completed in Arabic and titled Mudhakkirat Khadima (Memories of a Maid); but before publishing it he decided to switch to Hebrew. He devoted himself to a thorough reading of the Bible and the Mishnah, and later concentrated on the writings of S. Y. Agnon (1888-1970) and other Hebrew writers. By moving from Arabic to Hebrew, he felt forced to unlearn his Arabic and refashion his identity. (74) When he found himself able, he rewrote Mudhakkirat Khadima in Hebrew and published it in 1964 as Ha-Ma'abarah (The Immigrant Transit Camp), the first Hebrew novel by an Iraqi emigre. The novel depicts the tragedy of Arab-Jewish immigrants who were uprooted from their homes, reduced to poverty, and thrown back on insufficient resources. Ballas' approach was to skirt the material deprivation and focus on their cultural impoverishment after their most esteemed moral and cultural values were rejected. Thrown into a hostile environment which felt contempt for their original culture, they were labeled as exceptional, thus becoming victims of an organized and institutionalized process of adaptation to a culture in which Arabic language, literature, and music were considered inferior and "weapons" of the enemy. (75)

Surprisingly, the novel was very well received by critics, some of whom even praised Ballas as representing those Arab Jews who had preserved Hebrew throughout the generations--even though Ballas, like most Iraqi immigrants, had arrived in Israel knowing no Hebrew at all. It seems that the positive responses were nothing more than a way out of the mainstream's cognitive dissonance and a tool to preserve the cozy reassurance of its liberal and tolerant attitude toward the culture of the margins. (76) Shortly after the publication of Ha-Ma'abarah Ballas completed its sequel, Tel Aviv Mizrah (Tel Aviv East); however, due to the patronizing attitude of the literary establishment, its publication was delayed some thirty years and saw print only in 1998. In 2003 Ballas published the trilogy Tel Aviv Mizrah (Tel Aviv East), which consisted of Ha-Ma'abarah and Tel Aviv Mizrah, in addition to Yalde Hutz (The Outsiders), which describes the lives of the protagonists up to the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

Other works by Ballas also testify to his Arab cultural preferences. In Ve-Hu Akher (And He Is Other) (1991), the protagonist is Ahmad Harun Sawsan, whose figure is based on that of the Iraqi Jew Ahmad Nissim Susa (1900-1982), who converted to Islam. (77) The novel's title is based on a conversation between Sawsan and his friend, the poet As'ad Nissim, whose figure is reminiscent of Anwar Sha'ul. Nissim is critical of Sawsan and the radical position he takes against the Jewish religion. To illustrate his point he mentions the story from the Talmud (78) of Elisha ben Avuya (first half of 2nd century C.E.), a great sage of his time who achieved a unique level of Torah knowledge but eventually became a heretic, studying Greek and wishing to transcend the parameters set by the Torah. His crime was considered so terrible that his colleagues no longer referred to him by name but called him "Akher" (Other). According to Nissim, Sawsan, like Elisha ben Avuya, went too far in his efforts to assimilate into Arab-Muslim society. (79) However, it seems that Ballas considered as inevitable the solution Sawsan found to his identity crisis in Iraq: "Islam was not only the religion of the majority [in Iraq], but it was also the foundation of Arab civilization. Therefore, if you belong to the [Iraqi] homeland and [Arab] nation you must reject the dual identity." (80)

A year later Ballas published Otot Stav (Signs of Autumn) (1992), which consists of three novellas, each symbolizing a necessary component in the longed-for Ballasian utopia. Based on autobiographical material, the first novella, "Iyya," (81) depicts the Iraqi Jews in the late 1940s, before their departure from their homeland, as viewed by a Muslim maid named Zakiyya, nicknamed "Iyya." The second, "Signs of Autumn," centers on the cosmopolitan Husni Mansur, based on the figure of the Egyptian Husayn Fawzi (1900-1988), well known for his books that make use of the mythical figure al-Sindibad (Sindbad) from the Arabian Nights. The third, "In the Gates of Kandinski," is about Ya'qov Reshef, an immigrant Jewish painter from Russia who is torn between the values of the surrounding society and his idealistic aspirations. The three protagonists illustrate three components of Israeli culture, each of them related to the town where the events of each novella take place: Baghdad, Paris, and Tel-Aviv.

In other works Ballas deals with the hybrid Arab-Jewish identity: in Hitbaharut (Clarification) (1972), the protagonist is an Iraqi Jew who does not participate in the 1973 war. Heder Na'ul (A Locked Room) (1980) describes life among members of the Communist party in Israel. In Horef Aharon (Last Winter) (1984) the focus is on Middle Eastern exiles in Europe, especially Henri Curiel (1914-78), a Jewish Communist of Egyptian origin assassinated in Paris. Solo (Solo) (1998) is based on the life of Ya'qub Sanu' (James Sanua) (1839-1912), considered the father of Egyptian theater and Arabic humoristic journalism.

Experiencing alienation and estrangement, most of Ballas' protagonists--or rather, anti-heroes--are outsiders living on the margins of society and unwilling to compromise their principles. (82) Preaching a new connection between identity, language and territory, Ballas demystifies Hebrew, attempting to "un-Jew" it--to divorce it from Jewishness in a process of "deterritorialization" and "reterritorialization." (83) The Zionist master narrative, in his view, is an Ashkenazi ideology that developed in a different cultural milieu and came to stake its claim in the Middle East without embracing the Middle Eastern environment. (84) Zionism, according to Ballas, is based on the European colonialist concept of the Arab East; "the attitude toward the Jews from Arab countries, the Arab Jews, was no different from the attitude toward the Arabs." (85) Ever since the mid-1960s Ballas has boldly challenged the Ashkenazi and Western-oriented reluctance to accept the legitimacy of Arab culture in the Hebrew literary canon. According to Ballas, only after redrawing the new boundaries for Hebrew literature so as to encompass not only cosmopolitan and humanistic values but Arab values as well, will Israeli society be able to boast of an original culture in which are expressed the aspirations of its entire citizenry--Jewish, Muslim, and Christian.

Other Iraqi writers who succeeded in adapting to writing in Hebrew adopted the Zionist narrative. The most prominent among them is Sami Michael. Born in Baghdad into a traditional family, at the outbreak of the Second World War Michael became involved in a leftist underground group acting against the Iraqi regime, and then joined the local Communist Party. In 1948, after being sentenced to death, he fled to Iran and then emigrated to Israel, joined the Communist Party and worked on the editorial staff of its Arabic weekly organ al-Ittihad. His writings show a strong social awareness of the gap between the various classes in the new society and emphasize the necessity to improve the conditions of the proletarian masses. His story "'Abbas," (86) for example, describes the role of the Communist party in society and the suffering of its members as they sacrifice themselves for the collective welfare. In the early 1950s, when he was still publishing only in Arabic, Michael tried his hand at Hebrew and began writing a novel that took place in a ma'abarah. In 1954 he published a chapter of this novel, entitled "Hariq" (Fire), but only in an Arabic translation. (87)

In the late 1950s Michael ceased publishing in Arabic at approximately the same time he left the party. This was the first step in a long process of adapting himself to the mainstream of Israeli culture. He joined the Israel Hydrology Service in the Ministry of Agriculture, where he worked for 25 years surveying water sources, mainly on the Syrian border. Ending his literary silence, his first published novel was in Hebrew, Shavim Ve-Shavim Yoter ([All Men Are] Equal, but Some Are More) (1974), whose nucleus was the Hebrew text he wrote in the 1950s. It exposed the humiliating attitude of the authorities toward Arab Jewish immigrants and raised a storm of protest, bringing to the fore the ethnic question, especially by introducing the motif of the DDT spray with which the immigrants were disinfected. This was immediately adopted as a symbol of their humiliation in Israeli society.

In his subsequent novels Michael continued to deal with the margins of Israeli society. In Hasut (Refuge) (1977), he dealt with Jewish-Christian-Muslim relationships in the Israeli Communist Party against the background of the 1973 War. (88) Hofen Shel Arafel (A Handful of Fog) (1979) is about the Iraqi pluralistic society of the 1940s prior to the mass emigration of the Jews. Hatzotzrah Ba-Wadi (A Trumpet in the Wadi) (1987) depicts relationships between Jews and Arabs in Haifa in the light of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It was, however, the publication of his bestselling novel Victoria (1993) that established Michael as a well-known writer. The novel soared to the top of the Israeli best-seller list, selling around 100,000 copies; for fifty weeks it stayed at the top of the list of the newspaper Ha-Aretz weekly books supplement. It was translated into English, Dutch, German, Greek, Arabic, and French. Named for its female heroine who, as her name suggests, succeeds in gaining a victory over the challenges of her life, the novel describes the life of Iraqi Jews before and after their emigration. It was argued that the accent with which Michael wrote is that of the margins, a minority accent, even while entering the mainstream. (89) Critics described it as exotic, fantastic, and sensational; with a plot flavored with elements of A Thousand and One Nights, it was classified with Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Others referred to the praise as an exaggeratedly politically correct gesture, nothing more than a way out of the mainstream's cognitive dissonance and a tool to preserve the cozy reassurance of the canonical center's liberal and tolerant attitude toward the culture of the margins. Because the novel also challenged traditional values of the Jewish family in Iraq, and had a sensual atmosphere steeped in sex episodes, including incest and paedophilia, it raised protests, especially from Jewish Iraqi immigrants who accused the author of serving the Ashkenazi establishment.

The great gap between Michael's writings in Arabic in the 1950s and his writings in Hebrew since the 1970s may illustrate the metamorphosis the author had undergone from being an Arab Jew adhering to Communism to the adoption of the Zionist master narrative. Whereas the description of conditions in Iraq in Victoria might otherwise be thought of as an attempt to enter the popular world of sensationalism, in retrospect, with its last chapter, the entire book takes on a new light--the Ashkenazi Zionist dream come true through the description of a sparkling clean home. In fact, ten years before he published the novel, Michael left no doubts as to his view toward the value of the culture from which the Arab Jews came. In an article entitled "The Culture of the Ladder and the Culture of the Balcony," (90) he rejects any attempt to argue that the cultural assets of the Arab Jews are on the same level as those of the European Jews. A year later he published another article, (91) in which he presents what seems to be his credo on being an Iraqi-Jewish writer in Israel. In Iraq he belonged to a minority "condemned to live in a conspiracy of silence"; but in Israel he turned into "one of the majority in whose midst lived an oppressed minority." The transition from Iraq to Israel and from Arabic to Hebrew, says Michael, is a transition from a backward society to a developed one. Hence he faced a problem: "how to describe the charming, the beautiful, and the attractive in the life of Iraq without slipping into cheap nostalgia," and "how to convey the truth about your life without hurting the pride of your fellow immigrants, without deepening the feeling of inferiority of one side [the Oriental Jews]" and without "encouraging the feeling of superiority of the other side [the Ashkenazi Jews]."

Michael's next novel, Mayim Noshkim Le-Mayim (Water Kissing Water) (2001), is based on his experiences while he was working in the Hydrology Service. Corresponding to Michael's efforts to be a mainstream writer, it deemphasized his formative experience as an Arabic writer in the 1950s, concentrating instead on various non-controversial aspects appealing to Israeli mainstream readers. Moreover, in an attempt to be part of the Israeli canon and to adopt the conceptual fictional drive of canonical writers such as A. B. Yehoshua (b. 1936), Amos Oz (b. 1939), and David Grossman (b. 1954), he tries his best to give his narrated personal experiences some national Zionist flavor. His last novel, Yonim Be-Trafalgar (Doves in Trafalgar) (2005), is the story of a successful Israeli man who discovers that he is an adopted son and that his real parents were Palestinians who escaped Haifa in 1948. The novel conducts a dialogue with one of the landmarks of Palestinian literature, 'A'id ila Hayfa (Returning to Haifa) (1969) by Ghassan Kanafani (1936-72). (92) Kanafani's novel is about Sa'id and his wife Safiyya who, after 1967, went to visit their house in Haifa that they had been forced to leave in 1948. They had also left behind their son Khaldun, whom a Jewish couple (Holocaust survivors) adopted when they moved into the house.

Michael wrote for children and youth as well; among his books are Sufah Ben Ha-Dekalim (Storm Among the Palms) (1975), Pahonim Ve-Halomot (Tin Shacks and Dreams) (1979), Ahavah Bein Ha-Dekalim (Love Among the Palms) (1990), and Shedim Humin (Brown Devils) (1993). In those writings, more than in his books for adults, his Zionist outlook is unambiguous. Michael's unique position as an Arabic writer who shifted to Hebrew made him a kind of celebrity in the Israeli intellectual arena, with a busy schedule of lectures and frequent appearances on radio and television. However, most of these appearances seem to present him as a token representative of the "Oriental voice." It is interesting that more than sixty years ago he published a story which sheds light on his contemporary role in Hebrew culture. The story, "al-Fannan wa-1-Falafil" (The Artist and the Falafel), (93) is about a hungry deaf-mute child who begs by way of drawing American cowboys on the sidewalk of a Haifa street:
 The crowd enjoys seeing this deaf-mute wrapped in rags creating, as he
 casts his art under their feet. A few would say in a knowing tone:
 "He's an orphan and his aunt is crippled." In spite of this, no one
 found even some measure or other of gallantry in the child's art, the
 gallantry of a person bent over the sidewalk for the sake of his aunt.
 Furthermore, they threw coins on the ground not out of compassion for
 the crippled aunt and not out of compassion for the hungry child and
 even not to reward the artist for his art, but as recompense to the
 clown who gave them this entertainment. (94)

Unlike Michael, the path taken by Eli 'Amir (b. 1937) since emigrating from Baghdad to Israel in 1950 was much shorter. (95) 'Amir was sent with his family--parents and seven children--to settle in a cloth tent in a ma'abarah. Although he had finished eighth grade in Baghdad, he was sent to the fourth grade in Israel. "The Ashkenazim thought that we had just come down from the trees," he says. (96) Finally he was sent to receive his education in the kibbutz Mishmar Ha-Emek, which he would later describe as "the most important and decisive" experience of his life. (97) Occupying positions in the Ministry of Absorption and serving as emissary of the Sepharadi Federation in the USA, he was subsequently appointed director-general of Aliyat Ha-Noar (Youth Immigration) in the Jewish Agency, later to become part of the Ministry of Education. This Zionist path, in which 'Amir, as a young oleh hadash (new immigrant) came to be in charge of the fate of young immigrants, would induce him to adopt enthusiastically the Zionist master narrative, which considers the Jewish exodus from Iraq as a new exodus of the Children of Israel.

'Amir never published in Arabic, but he has occasionally displayed his talent as a traditional hakawati (storyteller) in televised Arabic programs. He made his literary debut in the mid-1970s with part of his memoirs entitled Tarnegol Kappara (Rooster of Atonement), which was included in a reader for students edited by A. Shatal. Eight years later this would serve as the nucleus for his first quasi-autobiographical novel with a slightly different title, Tarnegol Kaparot (Rooster of Atonements) (1983). (98) Described as "casually turning a flashlight into a dark corner of a field and catching the eyes of a ferocious beast," (99) the novel immediately proved to be a best-seller, published in eighteen editions (about 70,000 copies) and with a popular televised adaptation by Dan Wolman. The protagonist Nuri, a young boy of Iraqi origin, is sent from the ma'abarah to receive his education in Kiryat Oranim, a kibbutz in the Yizrael Valley established by Polish pioneers. Through the struggle to become one of "them"--the arrogant and aristocratic Sabra youth--Nuri's experience epitomizes the conflict between the original values of the Oriental immigrants and the Ashkenazi values forced upon them. When he came to the kibbutz accompanied by "the whole of Jewish Baghdad," Nuri attempted to reassure himself that the painful process through which he would acquire his new identity would not come at the expense of his original one. The Zionist narrative dominates the novel and Nuri's fate is dictated by Ashkenazi Western values; no wonder that the Polish-born Hebrew writer Aharon Megged (b. 1920) considered it similar to "the stories of the Jewish villages in Poland and Russia." (100)

The core of 'Amir's second novel, Mafriach Ha-Yonim (The Pigeoneer; English title: Farewell, Baghdad) (1993), is the desire of Iraqi Jews to return to their ancient homeland. Referring to the relationship of past to present, 'Amir says that it is a mixture that cannot be reduced to its original components: "I told my story through my anxiety about the fate of Israeli society." (101) The panoramic novel, a kind of bildungsroman based on the author's childhood in Iraq, is related through the eyes of the protagonist Kabi Imari while he is attaining puberty. Highlighting the historical events on the eve of the mass immigration, it depicts the complicated relationship of Jews to their Muslim neighbors and is steeped in sensuous descriptions of various aspects of Jewish life in the colorful exotic streets and alleys of Baghdad. The events are flavored with the music of the Egyptian singer and composer Muhammad 'Abd al-Wahhab (1901-91), the Jewish singer Salima Murad Basha (1905-74), erotic bellydancing with the dancer Bahiyya, seductive prostitutes, adventurous sailing on the river, summer nights on the roofs, rich cousins, smells of spices, and the sexual dreams of the adolescent narrator whose fantasies include his uncle's wife Rashelle, the teacher Sylvia, and Amira, Abu Edwar's daughter, who will end, like him, in a kibbutz. Within the rich and varied social mosaic of the novel each character represents a particular way of approaching the national and existential questions raised.

In his third novel, Ahavat Sha'ul (Sha'ul's Love) (1998), 'Amir departs from his own autobiographical experiences, appealing directly to Israeli mainstream readers. It touches on Ashkenazim, Sephardim of the Old Yishuv, Oriental Jews, the Israeli army and the Holocaust, with a plot verging on the melodramatic. In 2005 'Amir returned to his autobiographical story and published Yasmin (Jasmine), a sequel to his previous two autobiographical novels. The protagonist is again Nuri, the young boy from "Rooster of Atonements," now serving as an adviser for Arab affairs. With the publication of his new novel--a love story between a Jewish man and an Arab-Christian woman--'Amir fulfilled his dream of composing a trilogy covering what he once described as "the via dolorosa of being an Israeli and devoting myself to this society." (102) However, although autobiographical the novel, even more than Ahavat Sha'ul, adopts the conceptual fictional drive of Zionist mainstream writing. The author, who in his first novel was so eager to describe the painful process through which his protagonist acquires his new identity, here tends to make the reader forget about "the trauma of the banishment from Iraq and the difficult experience of adjusting to a new country." The emotional tensions characteristic of his previous works "are given no expression in this novel, which has no characters who inspire any rage or genuine pity in the reader's heart." Stating that in Yasmin 'Amir graphically illustrates what Fredric Jameson terms the "prison-house of language," (103) Yochai Oppenheimer argued that the enlightened occupier in the novel, who proclaims words of "heresy" regarding the consensus, "is no different, in this respect, from the benighted occupier who proclaims messianic visions." The "prison-house" also relates to the selection of a shop-worn format that "turns literary creations into a constant, harmless chaperon of the occupation, into a means of generating excitement that does not require any commitment and relates to the complexity of the conflict between two nations and to the human tragedy involved." 'Amir's clinging to the cliches of the political discourse also creates a "realistic" novel, as the back cover announces, but one that "lacks a suitable independent artistic stance." (104)

Propagating central myths of Zionism--the kibbutz, the Aliya, and the Israeli army--'Amir has been considered since the mid-1990s as an established Hebrew writer. One of his novels, "The Pigeoneer," was published in a shortened version for youth (by Rina Tsdaka) as part of the Israeli Hebrew school curriculum. 'Amir's novels are steeped in an awareness of the injustice done to the Oriental Jews, but at the same time they deal with the mitigating circumstances under which the Zionist vision was pursued. The founders of the kibbutz had themselves rebelled against their original culture with the aim of "overturning the pyramid," as Dolek, in charge of the fertilizer section in "Rooster of Atonements," puts it. Dolek himself had abandoned his doctoral studies in physics. Attempting to bridge the gap between East and West, 'Amir is trying in his novels to fulfill Jacques Derrida's ideal "to speak the other's language without renouncing his own." (105) Yet more than any other author of Iraqi origin, his writings illustrate the adoption of the Zionist master narrative.


The Arabization of the Jewish intellectual elite in Iraq in the first half of the twentieth century was so intense that it recalls the Arabization of the Jews in al-Andalus, who had spoken Arabic for generations and "came to think in and view the world through the medium of that language." (106) Likewise, the Iraqi Jewish secular intellectuals felt that the Arabic language, which they had been speaking for generations, is a kind of "arsenal, a vocabulary, a system of signs," as Jean Sulivan put it, "that permits the individual to be part of the tribe." (107) The choice to write and publish in Arabic was primarily motivated by inner aesthetic Arabic cultural preferences. A good example is the poem "al-Rabi'" (The Spring) published by Anwar Sha'ul in the first issue of al-Misbah. (108) Reading the original, it is impossible not to sense the inner aesthetic preference of the prophetic voice: "Get up, get up--you the writers and poets," as Sha'ul says in the introduction he appended to the poem; "Spring has come, the Lord of time, smiling, Nature has been smiling for human beings."

Little did Sha'ul foresee at the time that political developments in Palestine would crudely foreshorten his envisioned Spring. After 1948, the Arabic literature that twentieth-century Iraqi Jews produced has been entirely relegated to the margins of Arabic culture. There is no better illustration of the fate of these writings than that of those few who chose to stay in Iraq after the establishment of Israel. Among them was Sha'ul himself, who even in the 1950s and 1960s continued his literary activities, expressing his patriotism and love of Iraq. In April 1969, less than two years after the war of June 1967, Sha'ul participated in the Iraqi delegation to the Conference of Arab Writers held in Baghdad. (109) Standing before the assembly of the conference he recited a poem which included the following verses:
 My heart beats with love of the Arabs, my mouth proudly speaks their
 Do not they and I share a common source? The distant past drew us
 together [...]
 Our fates have been bound together in a radiant homeland which is like
 water and air to us. (110)

Mir Basri (1911-2006), (111) on his part, during one of his most difficult hours in Iraq in the 1960s, wrote the following verses, perhaps equally addressed to the Zionists in Israel as to the hardships he had to endure at the hands of his compatriots:
 What sin have I sinned in my life, for which I am so cruelly and
 harshly punished?
 Is it my struggle and my stand on the side of my Iraq, the Tigris and
 the Euphrates? (112)

Another Jewish intellectual who because his Iraqi patriotism preferred in the 1950s to stay in Iraq was Salman Darwish. In his autobiography, written in Israel where he found refuge after escaping Iraq in 1971, he titled one of the chapters "Inani Attahim" (I Accuse). Alluding to the Dreyfus Affair and the famous open letter J'accuse published in 1898 by Emile Zola (1840-1902), Darwish accused the Iraqi regime of shortsightedness, ignorance, foolishness and betraying Arab causes and interests. (113)

In the 1970s Sha'ul, Basri, Darwish and others finally decided that their situation had become untenable and left Iraq. However, outside Iraq, and especially in Israel, the process of marginalization of Arab-Jewish cultural identity was at the time in full swing. While in Iraq Arab culture and national identity encompassed Jews, side by side with Muslims and Christians, in Israel since the 1950s the Jewish identity became in itself a cultural and national identity. Thus, the natural Iraqi hybrid Jewish-Arab identity turned, because of the political conflict, into a sharp dichotomy of Jewish versus Arab. The struggle of the two national movements--Zionism and Arab nationalism--over a small piece of territory did not hinder either from excluding the Arab-Jewish cultural identity.

Jewish Iraqi intellectuals were literary pioneers who stood, as Emile Marmorstein put it, "on the threshold of emancipation with the highest hopes in their hearts, and their attitudes must be examined in the light of the generous prospects of the twenties rather than in the gloom of a decade in which their visions have been almost completely shattered." (114) In the 1920s and 1930s Baghdad encapsulated a rare possibility for a "new" Middle East where nationalist ideologies would give way to cultural cooperation and religious tolerance. However, like the spirit of Alexandrian cosmopolitanism whose death was somehow expectable, (115) the vision which the slogan embedded in the title of the present article was the product of a very limited period (mainly the 1920s), a very confined space (specifically Baghdad), and a very singular history (that of the crumbling Ottoman empire and prior to the increasing power of Zionism). It lived to the age of a sturdy human being, by this rare combination of time, space and history, before disappearing, at least for the foreseeable future.



1. See Abu Faraj al-Isbahani, Kitab al-Aghani (Cairo, 1964), 24: 97-128.

2. See S. M. Stern, "Arabic Poems by Spanish-Hebrew Poets," in Romanica et Occidentalia: Etudes dediees a la memoire de Hiram Peri (Pflaum), ed. M. Lazar (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1963), 254-63.

3. On the historical background of the Jews in Iraq see Nissim Rejwan, The Jews of Iraq: 3000 Years of History and Culture (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1985).

4. See Sasson Somekh, "The Participation of Egyptian Jews in Modern Arabic Culture," in The Jews of Egypt, ed. Shimon Shamir (Boulder: Westview Press, 1987), 130-40.

5. On the educational institutions of the Jews in Iraq see Fadil al-Barak, al-Madaris al-Yahudiyya wa-l-Iraniyya fi al-'Iraq (Baghdad: al-Dar al-'Arabiyya, 1985), 19-89; Z. Yehuda, "Iraqi Jewry and Cultural Change in the Educational Activity of the Alliance Israelite Universelle," in Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewries: History and Culture in the Modern Era, ed. H. E. Goldberg (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1996), 134-43.

6. Grattan Geary, Through Asiatic Turkey. Narrative of a Journey from Bombay to the Bosphorous (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searl, & Rivington, 1878), 1: 132-33. Cf. Elie Kedourie, Arabic Political Memoirs and Other Studies (London: Frank Cass, 1974), 264.

7. See Hashim Muhammad al-Rajab, al-Maqam al-'Iraqi (Baghdad: Matba'at al-Ma'arif, 1961), 90.

8. Anwar Sha'ul, Qissat Hayati fi Wddi al-Rafidayn (Jerusalem: Rabitat al-Jami'iyyin al-Yahud al-Nazihin min al-'Iraq, 1980). 15-18.

9. Geary, Through Asiatic Turkey, 133. On European immigrants in Baghdad in the nineteenth century, see the historical novel by Barbara Taufar, Der Uhrmacher (Munich: Langen Muller, 2001).

10. Geary, Through Asiatic Turkey, 132-33.

11. See M. L. Rozenblit, "Jewish Assimilation in Habsburg Vienna." in Assimilation and Community: The Jews in Nineteenth-Century Europe, ed. J. Frankel and S. J. Zipperstein (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992), 234.

12. Ha-Olam, 10 March 1909 (my emphasis). Later, Hiskil would occupy the post of finance minister in several Iraqi cabinets of the 1920s; on Hiskil, see Mir Basri, A'lam al-Yahud fi al-'lraq al-Hadith (Jerusalem: Rabitat al-Jami'iyyin al-Yahud al-Nazihin min al-'Iraq, 1983), 1: 28-37.

13. T. Herzl, The Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern Solution of the Jewish Question, tr. S. D'avigdor (London: Central Office of the Zionist Organization, 1936), 30.

14. On Obermeyer's criticism and the reaction of the community's leaders, see J. Obermeyer, Modernes Judentum im Morgen-und Abendland (Vienna: Karl Fromme, 1907), 43-46. Cf. David Solomon Sassoon, A History of the Jews in Baghdad (Letchworth: S. D. Sassoon, 1949), 153-56; Abraham Ben-Yaacob, The Jews of Iraq in Modern Times [Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Kiriath-Sepher, 1979), 196-202. For the influence of the European Enlightenment on Iraqi Jews, see R. Snir, Arabness, Jewishness, Zionism: A Struggle of Identities in the Literature of Iraqi-Jews [Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi Institute, 2005), 468-74.

15. David Semah, "Mir Basri and the Resurgence of Modern Iraqi Literature" [Arabic], al-Karmil: Studies in Arabic Language and Literature 10 (1989): 88-89.

16. See Yusuf Rizq Allah Ghunayma, Nuzhat al-Mushtaq fi Ta'rikh Yahud al-'Iraq (Baghdad: Matba'at al-'Iraq, 1924), 178; Yusuf Rizk-Allah Ghanimah, A Nostalgic Trip into the History of the Jews of Iraq, tr. A. Dallal (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1998), 140.

17. Ghunayma, Nuzhat al-Mushtaq, 188; Ghanimah, A Nostalgic Trip, 149.

18. William L. Cleveland, The Making of an Arab Nationalist: Ottomanism and Arabism in the Life and Thought of Sati' al-Husri (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1971), 127. On the role of al-Husri in using Iraqi schools to inculcate nationalism, see also Reeva S. Simon, Iraq Between the Two World Wars: The Creation and Implementation of a Nationalist Ideology (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1986), 75-114.

19. Cleveland, The Making of an Arab Nationalist, 63.

20. The original text was first published in al-'Iraq, 19 July 1921. For the text of the speech, see Faysal ibn al-Husayn fi Khutabihi wa-Aqwalihi (Baghdad: Matba'at al-Hukuma, 1945), 246-49.

21. On this process, see Reeva S. Simon, "The Imposition of Nationalism on a Non-Nation State: the Case of Iraq During the Interwar Period, 1921-1941," in Rethinking Nationalism in the Arab Middle East, ed. James Jankowski and Israel Gershoni (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1997), 87-104; Sami Zubaida, "The Fragments imagine the Nation: the Case of Iraq," International Journal of Middle East Studies 34 (2002): 205-15.

22. Salman Darwish, Kull Shay' Hadi' fi al-'Iyada (Jerusalem: Rabitat al-Jami'iyyin al-Yahud al-Nazihin min al-'Iraq, 1981), 200. On Darwish see S. Moreh and M. 'Abbasi, Tarajim wa-Athar fi al-Adab al-'Arabi fi Isra'il 1948-1986 (Shfaram: Dar al-Mashriq, 1987), 86-87.

23. Ishaq Bar-Moshe, Bayt fi Baghdad (Jerusalem: Rabitat al-Jami'iyyin al-Yahud al-Nazihin min al-'Iraq, 1983), 231. On Bar-Moshe see R. Snir, "Arabic Literature by Iraqi-Jews in the Twentieth Century: The Case of Ishaq Bar-Moshe (1927-2003)," Middle Eastern Studies 41 (2005), 7-29.

24. See al-Sharq al-Awsat (London), 24 May 1984, 10. Cf. Abd al-Ilah Ahmad, Nash'at al-Qissa wa-Tatawwuruha fi al-'Iraq 1908-1939 (Baghdad: Matba'at Shafiq, 1969), 242.

25. Rejwan, The Jews of Iraq, 210.

26. Quoted in the Arab Bulletin no. 66, 21 October 1917.

27. The figures are according to Elie Kedourie, The Chatham House Version and Other Middle Eastern Studies (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1970), 437, n. 65. Cf. Nissim Rejwan, The Last Jews in Baghdad: Remembering a Lost Homeland (Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 2004), xii, 3.

28. E. Kedourie, "The Break between Muslims and Jews in Iraq," in Jews Among Arabs: Contacts and Boundaries, ed. Mark R. Cohen and Abraham L. Udovich (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1989), 21. On Kedourie, see Sylvia Kedourie, ed., Elie Kedourie CBE, FBA 1926-1992: History, Philosophy, Politics (London: Frank Cass, 1998).

29. Midstream, February-March 2001, 14. On Rejwan (Rajwan), see Abraham Ben-Yaacob, The Jews of Iraq in the Land of Israel from Ancient to Modern Times [Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Rubin Mass, 1980), 404; A. Alcalay, ed., Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1996), 46-60.

30. E. E. Stevens, By the Tigris and Euphrates (London, 1923; quoted in S. G. Haim, "Aspects of Jewish Life in Baghdad under the Monarchy," Middle Eastern Studies 12.2 [1976]: 188).

31. Rejwan, The Jews of Iraq, p. 219. On Ezra Haddad see Basri, A'lam al-Yahud, 1: 78-79. On Balbul see S. Moreh, Short Stories by Jewish Writers from Iraq (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1981), 97-103.

32. Emile Marmorstein, "Baghdad Jewry's Leader Resigns," The Jewish Chronicle, 30 December 1949. The article was reprinted in Middle Eastern Studies 24 (July 1988): 364-68. It deals with the resignation of Hakham Sasson Khadouri (1880-1971), the head of the Baghdad Jewish Community, following a demonstration against him by members of the community the previous October.

33. S. Landshut, Jewish Communities in the Muslim Countries of the Middle East: A Survey (London: The Jewish Chronicle, 1950), 45.

34. S. Darwish, "Relations Between Communal Institutions and the He-Halutz Underground Movement in Baghdad" [Hebrew], in From Babylon to Jerusalem, ed. Zvi Yehuda (Tel Aviv: Iraqi Jews' Traditional Cultural Center, 1980), 83. On Darwish, see E. Marmorstein, "An Iraqi Jewish Writer in the Holy Land," The Jewish Journal of Sociology 6 (1964): 91-102; M. H. Mudhi, "The Origin and Development of the Iraqi-Jewish Short Story from 1922-1972" (Ph.D. diss., University of Exeter, 1988), 231-312, 502-6; Shimon Ballas, "The Realistic Orientation in Shalom Darwish's Stories" [Arabic], al-Karmil 10 (1989): 27-60.

35. According to Shmuel Moreh (Arabic Works by Jewish Writers 1863-1973, Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi Institute, 1973, 46) Ishaq served as a translator in the German embassy in Baghdad before the First World War; on him, see Basri, A'Iam al-Yahud, 2: 72-75.

36. Ghunayma, Nuzhat al-Mushtaq, 188; Ghanimah, A Nostalgic Trip, 149.

37. Abbas Shiblak, The Lure of Zion--The Case of the Iraqi Jews (London: Al Saqi Books, 1986), 28.

38. Sha'ul, Qissat Hayati, 119, 223. The slogan was probably coined during the Coptic congress in Asyut (see B. L. Carter, The Copts in Egyptian Politics, London: Croom Helm, 1986, 290, 304 n. 2); it was inspired by the slogan of the Lebanese-Syrian Christian intellectuals of the nineteenth century: hubb al-watan min al-iman (love of the Fatherland is part of faith), which was also the slogan of al-Jindn, the periodical founded in Beirut in 1870 by Butrus al-Bustani (1819-83).

39. Iraqi Jews had their own Iraqi vernacular which they used in their homes and in their daily contacts with one another, while also speaking with their Muslim neighbors in their own colloquial Arabic. On the popular vernacular literature among the Jews in Iraq see Yitzhak Avishur, "Mutations in the Literary Creation and Linguistic Changes among Iraqi-Jews in the Modern Era (1750-1950)" [Hebrew], Miqqedem Umiyyam 6 (1995): 242.

40. Jewish writers were among the major translators of Western literature into Arabic in Iraq; prominent among them were Anwar Sha'ul, Na'im Tuwayq (1916-89), and Yusuf Makmal (1914-86); see Mudhi, Origin and Development, 173.

41. The story was published in two parts in al-Misbah 1: 1 (10 April 1924): 6 and 1: 2 (17 April 1924). See also Moreh, Short Stories, 51-55.

42. Cf. Axel Olrik, "Epic Laws of Folk Narrative," in Alan Dundes, The Study of Folklore (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1965), 129-41.

43. M. H. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms (New York: CBS Publishing Japan, 1987), 176.

44. On Mikha'il see Mudhi, Origin and Development, 105-11. The story, "Shahid al-Watan wa-Shahidat al-Hubb" (Homeland's Martyr and Love's Martyr), was published in al-Mufid 1, nos. 15, 16, 22 (March-April 1992).

45. Published in al-Hadith 1: 3 (January 1928): 98-100. See also Moreh, Short Stories, 76-77.

46. On the translation of Hugo's Les Miserables into Arabic see Henri Peres, "Le roman, le conte et la nouvelle dans litterature arabe moderne," Annales de l'Institut d'Etudes Orientales 3 (1937): 299; M. Moosa, The Origins of Modern Arabic Fiction (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1997), 104, 139-40.

47. On Sha'ul see E. Marmorstein, "Two Iraqi Jewish Short Story Writers: A Suggestion for Social Research," The Jewish Journal of Sociology 1 (1959): 187-200; Mudhi, Origin and Development, 191-230, 497-501; Myer Samra, "'Shaded by the Followers of Muhammad': The Poet Anwar Shaul and the Jews in Iraq," Australian Journal of Jewish Studies 7 (1993): 125-41.

48. Sha'ul, Qissat Hayati, 119-24.

49. Al-Misbah, 1 October 1925: 3-4.

50. The quotations are from Shmuel Feiner, "Towards a Historical Definition of the Haskala," in New Perspectives on the Haskala, ed. S. Feiner and D. Sorkin (London: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2001), 184-219.

51. Al-Hasid 3, no. 15 (1931): 1.

52. Sha'ul, al-Hisad al-Awwal (Baghdad: Matba'at al-Jam'iyya al-Khayriyya, 1930), 6.

53. Sha'ul, al-Hisad al-Awwal, 9-13. The story was first published in al-'Alam al-'Arabi, 3 February 1928, and republished in al-Hasid 45 (June 1932): 5. For an English translation see R. Snir, "'My Heart Beats with Love of the Arabs': Iraqi Jews Writing in Arabic in the Twentieth Century," Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 1 (2002): 195-97. "Banaf'aja" is an Arabic translation of the French name Violette, which was frequently used at the time by Iraqi Jews.

54. Sha'ul, al-Hisad al-Awwal, 6.

55. Ian Reid, The Short Story (London: Methuen, 1977), 54.

56. Sha'ul, al-Hisad al-Awwal, 4.

57. See, e.g., 'Umar al-Talib, al-Qissa al-Qasira al-Haditha fi al-'Iraq (Mosul: Mu'assesat Dar al-Kutub li-1-Tiba'a wa-1-Nashr, 1979), 40-41.

58. On the Jewish-Iraqi emigration to Israel see M. Gat, The Jewish Exodus from Iraq 1948-1951 (London: Frank Cass, 1997).

59. One of these was Naim Kattan (Na'im Qattan) (b. 1928), who left Baghdad for Paris and then for Canada. Kattan published an autobiographical novel on his life in Iraq (Adieu babylone [Montreal: Julliard, 1975]; published also in English and Arabic translations: Farewell, Babylon, tr. S. Fischman [New York: Taplinger Publishing, 1980]; Wada'an Babil, tr. Adam Fathi [Cologne: Al-Kamel Verlag, 1999]). On Kattan, see al-Hayat (London), 11 November 1994, 16; The Scribe 66 (September 1996), 34; E. Benson and W. Toye, The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997), 588-89.

60. See, for example, Fi Mahrajan al-Adab (Tel Aviv: Matba'at Davar, 1959).

61. On these periodicals, see Moreh, Arabic Works by Jewish Writers, 106, 118; S. Moreh, Bibliography of Arabic Books and Periodicals Published in Israel 1948-1972 (Jerusalem: The Hebrew Univ., 1974), 104.

62. On Sha'shu'a see Moreh and 'Abbasi, Tarajim wa-Athar, 117-19; Julie Scott Meisami and Paul Starkey, eds., Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, 2 vols. (London: Routledge, 1998), 2: 708-9.

63. For a description of the methods used by the Israeli authorities in the field of appointments for educational positions see Faruq Mawasi, Aqwas min Sirati al-Dhatiyya (Kfar Qara': Dar al-Huda, 2002), 37-41. On the suppression of teachers' abilities to fulfill their goals as educators see Yair Bauml, "The Attitude of the Israeli Establishment to the Arabs in Israel: Policy, Principles, and Activities: The Second Decade, 1958-1968" [Hebrew] (Ph.D. diss., University of Haifa, 2002), 427-30.

64. On the Communist journals see Moreh, Bibliography of Arabic Books, 91-110.

65. On Michael see Gila Ramras-Rauch, The Arab in Israeli Literature (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1989), 179-83; Yosef Oren, Trends in Israeli Prose [Hebrew] (Rishon Lezion: Yahad, 1995), 135-51; Sorrel Kerbel, ed., Jewish Writers of the Twentieth Century (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2003), 373-74. See also below.

66. Sha'shu'a, Fi 'Alam al-Nur, 9.

67. On Semah, see Moreh and 'Abbasi, Tarajim wa-Athdr, 137-38. The poem, one of the first written about the massacre, was completed approximately two weeks after the event. It was published in al-Ittihad, 31 December 1956, and was incorporated later, with slight revisions, in Semah's Hatta Yuji' al-Rabi' (Tel Aviv: al-Matba'a al-Haditha, 1959), 41-45. In January 1957 al-Jadid published literary reactions to the massacre, among them a poem by the Palestinian Tawfiq Zayyad (1932-94), which he claimed was written on 3 November 1956 (Abraham Yinnon, "Tawfiq Zayyad: We Are the Majority Here" [Hebrew], in The Arabs in Israel--Continuity and Change [Hebrew], ed. A. Layish (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1981), 238. See also Shira Robinson, "Local Struggle, National Struggle: Palestinian Responses to the Kfar Qasim Massacre and its Aftermath, 1956-1966," International Journal of Middle East Studies 35 (2003): 393-416. On the literary activities of Jewish Iraqi authors in Israel in the 1950s, see also R. Snir, "'We Were Like Those Who Dream': Iraqi-Jewish Writers in Israel in the 1950's," Prooftexts 11 (1991): 153-73.

68. On Samir Naqqash, see Markus Lemke, "Im Labyrinth des verlorenen Paradieses: Samir Naqqas--ein judisch-arabischer Schriftsteller aus dem Irak und die Immigration nach Israel im Spiegel ausgewahlter Werke" (Schriftliche Hausarbeit fur die Magisterpriifung der Fakultat fur Philologie an der Ruhr-Universitat Bochum. 1996); Lital Levy, "Exchanging Words: Thematization of Translation in Arabic Writing in Israel," Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 23 (2003): 93-114.

69. Nancy E. Berg, Exile from Exile--Israeli Writers from Iraq (Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 1996), 3.

70. For an attempt to locate the roots of the westernization of the Israeli identity in the earlier history of the Jewish encounter with Western colonialism, see Aziza Khazzoom, "The Great Chain of Orientalism: Jewish Identity, Stigma Management, and Ethnic Exclusion in Israel," American Sociological Review 68 (2003): 481-510.

71. On Ballas, see Modern Literature of the Non-Western World: Where the Waters Are Born, ed. Jayana Clerk and Ruth Siegel (New York: HarperCollins College Publishers, 1995), 459-66; Kerbel, Jewish Writers, 65-66. Ballas returned to literary Arabic in order to translate two of his Hebrew short stories included in his Nudhur al-Kharif (Cologne: Manshurat al-Jamal, 1997).

72. New Outlook, November-December 1991, 30-32.

73. Al-Jadid, December 1955, 26-34.

74. Cf. Smadar Lavie, "Blowups in the Borderzones: Third World Israeli Authors' Gropings for Home," in Displacement, Diaspora and Geographies of Identity, ed. Smadar Lavie and Ted Swedenborg (Durham: Duke Univ. Press, 1996), 73.

75. See Maariv, 25 April 1989, B9.

76. On this cognitive dissonance, see R. Snir, "'Postcards in the Morning': Palestinians Writing in Hebrew." Hebrew Studies 42 (2001): 220-22.

77. On Susa, see Mir Basri, A'lam al-Adab fi al-'Iraq al-Hadith (London: Dar al-Hikma, 1994), 2: 524-25. See also Susa's account about his way to Islam. Fi Tariqi ila al-lslam (Cairo: al-Matba'a al-Salafiyya, 1936) as well as the first volume of his autobiography published by his daughter after his death (Hayati fi Nisf Qarn. Baghdad: Dar al-Shu'un al-Thaqafiyya al-'Amma, 1986).

78. Chagiga I5a-b.

79. S. Ballas, Ve-Hu Akher (Tel Aviv: Zmora-Bitan, 1991), 117.

80. See, 17 April 2004 [Arabic].

81. English translation by S. Einbinder in Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1994). 69-99: Arabic translation by Maha Sulayman in S. Ballas, Nudhur al-Kharif (Cologne: Manshurat al-Jamal, 1997), 57-110.

82. Cf. I Taha, "Duality and Acceptance: The Image of the Outsider in the Literary Work of Shimon Ballas," Hebrew Studies 38 (1997): 63-87.

83. See Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, "What is a Minor Literature?" in Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures, ed. Russell Ferguson et al. (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990), 59-69.

84. See The Literary Review 37 (1994): 67-68.

85. Ha'aretz, 4 July 2003, 50.

86. Al-Jadid, February 1955, 24-29; Moreh, Short Stories, 225-32.

87. Al-Jadid, December 1954, 39-43.

88. See Haim Shaked, "Experience into Fiction: Israeli Writers on Jewish-Arab Relations (the Case of Hasut by Sammy Michael)," in The Contemporary Middle Eastern Scene: Basic and Major Trends, ed. Gustav Stein and Udo Steinbach (Opladen: Leske und Budrich, 1979), 138-49.

89. Oren, Trends in Israeli Prose, 146-47.

90. Ma'ariv, 7 September 1983, 56-58.

91. S. Michael, "On Being an Iraqi-Jewish Writer in Israel," Prooftexts 4 (1984): 23-33.

92. Ghassan Kanafani, 'A'id ila Hayfa (Beirut: Dar al-'Awda, 1970 [1969]; English translation: Ghassan Kanafani, Palestine's Children, tr. Barbara Harlow and Karen E. Riley [Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000]), 148-88.

93. Al-Jadid, December 1955, 30-36.

94. Ibid., 35 (emphasis added).

95. On 'Amir see Berg, Exile from Exile, 391-94; Kerbel, Jewish Writers of the Twentieth Century, 42-43.

96. The Jerusalem Post Magazine, 18 March 1988, 4.

97. Ha'aretz, 8 February 1985, 16.

98. Tarnegol Kaparot (Tel Aviv: 'Am 'oved, 1983); English translation: Scapegoat, tr. D. Bilu (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987).

99. The Jerusalem Post, 11 March 1988, 15.

100. Yediot Ahronoth, 19 March 1993, 27.

101. Ba-Ma'racha 281, March 1984, 12.

102. Israeli Radio, 16 February 1991

103. See Fredric Jameson, The Prison-House of Language: A Critical Account of Structuralism and Russian Formalism (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1972).

104. Yochai Oppenheimer, "My Gentle Occupier," Ha'aretz (Books), 9 February 2005.

105. See L. Gates, ed., Race, Writing and Difference (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1986), 333.

106. R. Brann, "The Arabized Jews," in The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: The Literature of al-Andalus, ed. M. R. Menocal, R. P. Scheindlin, and M. Sells (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000), 441.

107. Jean Sulivan, "Minor Writers / Authentic Words," Religion and Literature 26 (Autumn 1994): 59.

108. Al-Misbah, 10 April 1924, 2.

109. See Sha'ul, Qissat Hayati, 120-24, 270-74, 335-37.

110. Sha'ul, Qissat Hayati, 335-36.

111. On Basri, see Semah, "Mir Basri," 83-122.

112. On the events that prompted the writing of these verses, see Sha'ul, Qissat Hayati, 329-33; Mir Basri, Rihlat al-'Umr min Difaf Dijla ila Wadi al-Thames (Jerusalem: Rabitat al-Jami'iyyin al-Yahud al-Nazihin min al-'Iraq, 1991), 139-44. For the complete poem see Mir Basri, Aghani al-Hubb wa-l-Khulud (Jerusalem: Rabitat al-Jami'iyyin al-Yahud al-Nazihin min al-'Iraq, 1991), 149-52.

113. Darwish, Kull Shay', 110-17.

114. Marmorstein, "Two Iraqi Jewish Short Story Writers," 199.

115. Cf. Ilios Yannakakis, "The Death of Cosmopolitanism," in Alexandria 1860-1960; The Brief Life of a Cosmopolitan Community, ed. Robert Ilbert and Ilios Yannakakis with Jacques Hassoun, tr. Colin Clement (Alexandria: Harpocrates Publishing, 1997), 194.
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Date:Jul 1, 2006
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