Eastern Eye



Registered: 30 June 2008
Location: Central London
Bataween believes that the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim refugees is key to understanding the Middle East conflict and prospects for peace. She blogs at Point of No Return.(www.jewishrefugees.blogspot.com)




Fitting stories into frames is dangerous

By bataween, August 20, 2011

It's got little to do with the Middle East, and nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict, but reading an article on the Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn gave me pause for serious thought today.


Remembering the 'Jewish Nakba'

By bataween, May 14, 2011

As Palestinians and their supporters mark 63 years since their Nakba, the world forgets that the largest single group of refugees arising from the Arab-Israeli conflict was Jewish.


The pitfalls of Jewish-Muslim dialogue

By bataween, March 30, 2011

How useful is Jewish-Muslim dialogue to conflict resolution?

Days ago Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger suspended all interfaith dialogue with the Muslim religious leadership until they unreservedly condemned terrorist and rocket attacks on Israel.


Now Jew-free, but a Christian-free Egypt is not beyond imagination

By bataween, January 7, 2011

The massacre of 21 Copts at a New Year's Eve mass has been called 'a watershed moment'.

The Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg blogs:


Oh no! Syrian president Assad to restore synagogues

By bataween, January 6, 2011

Oh no! Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to the restoration of the country's synagogues and cemeteries, especially in Damascus and Aleppo.

Assad made his pledge, al- Ahram reports, during a meeting about 10 days ago with Malcom Hoenlein, the kippa-wearing executive vice-chairman of the influential Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations. Hoenlein was not sent by the Israeli government, but was on a 'humanitarian mission', according to Ynet News.


The Arab League tail is wagging the Palestinian dog

By bataween, October 24, 2010

Anyone who has been following the tortured ways of Middle East politics will have detected an important shift: have you noticed that Mahmoud Abbas won't make a decision regarding peace talks with Israel without running to consult the Arab League?

The Arab League told Abbas to suspend the peace talks until Israel had renewed the West Bank 'settlement freeze'. It is plain as day that nowadays the Arab League tail wags the Palestinian dog.


The Australian diplomat's wife who smuggled Jews out of Pakistan

By bataween, September 10, 2010

The Jewish wife of the Australian Consul-General posted to Pakistan helped smuggle out members of the tiny Jewish community in the 1970s.

Leaving a comment on 'Point of No Return' a Pakistani Jewish man recalled that his widowed sister and niece were smuggled out in the trunk of a car belonging to the Australian diplomat's wife following the Indo-Pakistani war. The border was then closed to all except diplomats.


Helen Thomas and the 'Jews as imposters from Europe' myth

By bataween, June 8, 2010

The doyenne of the White House press corps, Helen Thomas, 89, has raised a storm of controversy for saying that Jews should 'get the hell out of Palestine' and 'go back to Germany and Poland.'

American Jews have rightly been stung by the suggestion that Jews should go back to the countries that oppressed them and slaughtered them - Germany and Poland.

Now Thomas has apologised, saying her statements 'do not reflect her belief in the need for mutual respect and tolerance'.

According to Ynet News:


Canon Andrew White confirms: Ezekiel's shrine is safe

By bataween, May 12, 2010

Canon Andrew White has confirmed that original Hebrew inscriptions and decoration at the Prophet Ezekiel's shrine remain intact.

Canon White, the vicar of St George's Anglican Church in Baghdad, made a special journey to inspect the shrine at al-Kifl in central Iraq following recurrent rumours that the Shi'a wakf, in charge of restoration works, was planning to convert the shrine into a mosque.


Now it's Morocco's turn to destroy its Jewish heritage

By bataween, April 22, 2010

First fundamentalists wish to turn the shrine of the Jewish prophet Ezekiel into a mosque. Now Morocco is being accused of destroying its Jewish heritage: One night during Passover, one of Morocco's oldest urban landmarks, the Jewish Benchimol hospital in Tangiers, was summarily demolished, without the knowledge and consent of the local Jewish community.

Jews of Moroccan origin worldwide are in shock, as are not a few non-Jewish Moroccans who care about their heritage. All are appalled at this official act of vandalism.


Muslim-Jews lost in the no-man's-land of identity

By bataween, April 12, 2010

A new comedy film called The Infidel is creating a sensation in the British press: it is about a British Muslim who, in a matter of minutes, discovers he was adopted and that he was born Jewish. Why is the film considered so controversial, even outrageous? In the West, Jews and Muslims are seen as polar opposites, eternal adversaries. To put them both together in the same script seems guaranteed to offend members of both religions.


False settler linkage denies Jewish refugee rights

By bataween, March 30, 2010

The fixation with Israel's 'settlements' as the leading obstacle to peace in the Middle East has spawned a worrying trend: a false linkage between Israeli settlers and Palestinian Arab refugees.

In December, Ray Hanania, in his manifesto as Palestinian presidential candidate, put forward a proposal linking Jewish settlers and Arab refugees.


Israel's answer to the Palestinian 'right of return'

By bataween, February 23, 2010

Yesterday evening, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, quietly passed a bill that could change the Middle East agenda forever.

Up to a million Jews were forced to leave Arab countries and Iran in the decades following the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948, due to state-sanctioned persecution and violence. Today only some 4,000 Jews are left in the Arab world, bringing to an end a Jewish presence that in many cases pre-dated Islam and the Arab conquest by 1,000 years.


Why Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld is on a fool's errand in the Arab world

By bataween, February 10, 2010

You know that feeling of exasperation you get when some bumbling but well-meaning old relative tries to intervene in a family row, but only manages to make things worse? That was how I felt when I read news of Serge Klarsfeld's latest tour of the Arab world.


The cynicism behind the restoration of synagogues in Arab countries

By bataween, January 27, 2010

Are we witnessing a new vogue in restoring Jewish sites in the Middle East? The renovated Maimonides synagogue in Cairo will be officially inaugurated in March to much fanfare. The Maghen Avraham Synagogue in the heart of Beirut is being rebuilt. Across Morocco and Tunisia, holy sites and synagogues are getting a facelift.

What is going on?