‘Jew’ and ‘Arab’ so often perceived and positioned on opposite poles, are labels that provide little room for hyphenated identities such as the ‘Arab-Jew’. In this cerebral documentary, four Iraqi Jews narrate their complex identities as Arab-Jews who were forced to leave their beloved Baghdad for Israel in the 1950s. Their departure was part of the tragic demise of the thriving Jewish community in Baghdad, one of the most ancient Jewish diasporas.
Shimon Ballas, Professor of Arab Literature, Sami Michael, one of Israel’s most famous authors (Victoria, Trumpet in the Wadi), Moshe (Moussa) Houri and Samir Naqqash, the only one of the four who still writes in Arabic, reveal the complexities of those who left the Arab world whilst still feeling deeply connected to it. Their fascinating life stories are interspersed with enlightening insights by the renowned Prof Ella Shohat, herself of Jewish Iraqi origin. GG