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To be used *only* if it works...

In 1954, the US Ambassador foments anti-Jewish racism in Iraq

by Jared Israel

[Posted 23 April 2003]


Below is posted the transcript of a 1954 dispatch from the US Ambassador to Iraq, Burton Y. Berry. Ambassador Berry reports on US involvement in fomenting anti-Jewish racism.

We at Emperor's Clothes have charged that the US-led Empire in general and the Bush administration in specific has a two-faced policy. While professing support for Israel, and supplying military aid, the Empire also uses Israel as a convenient scapegoat and, most important, foments anti-Jewish racism by creating the false impression that aggressive US policies are dictated by Israel. This serves to strengthen Muslim fundamentalism, which the US-led Empire then uses as a political weapon in the Balkans, in the Indian subcontinent, in Central Asia and, as we shall discuss in an upcoming article, even in Western Europe. [1]

We understand that many people find such alleged duplicity hard to believe. Could it be that the US - widely pictured as the *friend* of Israel - would employ such dirty tricks?

In an article to be posted shortly, we quote the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi. Mr. Chalabi admits that the US sponsored the first Baath Party coup in 1963. Of course, US operatives had to know that the Baath Party was formed by people who emulated the German Nazis, and that a central tenet of Baath philosophy was anti-Jewish racism. [2]

And Mr. Chalabi is financially dependent on US largesse. It is therefore likely that he would understate, rather than exaggerate, the US involvement in bringing Saddam Hussein to power. [3]


US Embassy document: a smoking gun


Below is our transcript of the dispatch from Ambassador Berry, acquired under the Freedom of Information Act. [1A]

As the document makes clear, Mr. Berry supported the use of anti-Jewish racism to spread long as it worked. (Are we to believe that other countries employ nefarious methods because they *don't* work?)

And remember, we are talking about the US Embassy, not the CIA per se. The CIA's scope of operations was far broader and entirely covert. It did the *dirtiest* work.

Mr. Berry describes the contents of a pamphlet mailed out to 500 Iraqi addresses supplied by the US Information Service.

Some parts of the pamphlet are described as attacking Israel or Zionism, and therefore, of course, some people would argue that the US was not appealing to or inspiring hatred of Jews as an ethnic group. The falseness of this argument is revealed when Ambassador Berry comments that one part of the pamphlet,

" a letter to the author of the Al-Yaqdha editorial - from one Ahmad Naji Al-Kurawi, who says that no one should be surprised at the expression of pro-Jewish sentiments by the Communists."

Note that he did not say, "in addition to the rest of the pamphlet, which attacks Zionism and Israel, *this* part of the pamphlet attacks Jews." Rather he made no distinction between Israel, Zionism and Jews for the obvious reason that he did not expect the people reading the pamphlet to make such a distinction.

Note also that one of the articles in the pamphlet criticizes the Communists "for referring in friendly terms to Israel." In other words at that time Reds - even Reds in the Arab world! - did not exhibit knee-jerk animosity towards Israel, did not equate Zionism with racism, and so on. This of course belies the claim that Left wing animosity towards Israel results from bad things Israel is now accused of having done during the 1948 war. If that were the cause, why would these Arab Communists be friendly towards Israel six years after the 1948 war, whereas Communists were intensely hostile towards Israel in the 1970s?

The violently anti-Israel position took root in the Left after the defeat of the USSR's Arab allies in the 1967 war. Starting in 1967, the Soviets launched a ferocious campaign against Zionism, complete with caricatures of hook-nosed, maniacally grinning "Zionists". [4]

And finally, note that in his comments, Mr. Berry expressed dissatisfaction with the anti-Jewish propaganda *not* because of its racism, but because it did not receive "the popular reaction expected."

In other words, the US and its Iraqi proxies were in the advance guard of ant-Jewish racism in Iraq. They were fomenting it, stirring it up...and the US Ambassador was disappointed about the weak popular response!

The lesson could not have been lost on ultra-conservative Iraqi nationalists: if you want the US to sponsor your coup d'état, virulent anti-Jewish racism is no obstacle...but please, make sure it works.

And of course the lesson was *not* lost on the Baath Socialist Party. [2]

-- Jared Israel
Emperor's Clothes


[US Embassy document starts here]



To: Joint State-USIA


Date: March 13, 1954

Desp. No.: 657

There are enclosed two copies of each of two anti-Communist documents and one copy of a third, all of which have been recently distributed through the mails in Baghdad.

Enclosure Number one is a mimeographed sheet entitled, "The Communist Truth", devoted to proving that Communism is atheistic and inimical to Islam. It quotes extensively from the statements and writings of Communist leaders. The source leaflet is unknown to the Embassy.

Enclosure Number two is a pamphlet entitled, "We Are In Danger," which was published by the Directorate-General of Propaganda and distributed without attribution to 500 addresses in Baghdad furnished from the mailing list of USIS.

The pamphlet contains three articles from "Three Nationalists." The first is a reprint of an editorial from the newspaper Al-Yaqdha in which the Communists are criticized for referring in friendly terms to Israel. (See Embdes 383, Dec. 5, 1953). This article was, according to the Director-General of Propaganda, written by Hassan Dujaili, a prominent young nationalist, presently Director General of Administration in the Ministry of Education. The second article is a letter to the author of the Al- Yaqdha editorial from one Ahmad Naji Al-Kurawi, who says that no one should be surprised at the expression of pro-Jewish sentiments by the Communists.

The third article in this pamphlet attributed to "A student in the fourth class of one of the colleges," is a confession of unintentional pro-Communist (and therefore, by implication, pro-Zionist) activity, under the title, "I am a Zionist."

Enclosure Three is also a pamphlet published and distributed by the Director General of Propaganda, entitled "About the Communist Jewish Thinking," by Ma'an al-Ajly. This contains a series of articles reprinted from Al-Sijl newspaper which discuss the relationships between Islam and Communism. The articles criticize a pro-Communist book widely circulated in an Arabic version, Henry Dennis' book, "The Crisis of Economic Thought," because the forward was written by Jew.


These three documents are among first anti-Communist material to be distributed here. The latter two represent the first attempt by the Government in this field. The heavy emphasis on the links between Communism and Zionism in the two Government pamphlets arises from the feeling of the Director General of Propaganda that this is the best anti-Communist approach. This approach has not, however, had the popular reaction expected and future Government anti-Communist newspaper articles and pamphlets can be expected to place more emphasis on the anti-nationalist, rather than pro-Zionist, aspect of Communism.

Burton Y. Berry

Enclosures 2.


[US Embassy document ends here]

[Footnotes and Further Reading Follows the Appeal]


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Footnotes and Further Reading


[1] For more on the US strategy of using Muslim fundamentalism, see: ""U.S. & Iran: Enemies in Public, but Secret Allies in Terror: The US and Iran have long cooperated to sponsor Islamist terrorism," by Jared Israel, Francisco Gil-White, Peter Makara, and Nico Varkevisser


A guide to articles on "US Strategy in Central Asia," at

[1A] The US Embassy document was acquired by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. To access the pdf file of the US Embassy document, please cut and paste the following URL in your browser:

[2] Regarding the central use of anti-Jewish racism by the Iraqi Baath Socialist Party, see, "A Los Angeles Reader Asks: Are you For or Against Saddam Hussein? Are you For or Against the Proposed war?"

[3] In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Ahmed Chalabi had this to say about US sponsorship of his Iraqi National Congress:

[The excerpt from the Chalabi interview starts here]

Ahmed Chalabi: Our relationship with the United States administration and the United States Government, indeed, are governed by a set of legislative actions taken by Congress.

The chief among them is the Iraqi liberation act which makes it US policy that the United States would support Iraqi Democrats to get rid of Saddam and to provide assistance to them to do so.

There are also other legislation providing assistance to the Iraqi National Congress.

Our relations with the United States is that of allies and people who will work with the United States to achieve the establishment of democracy and the Government that will respect human rights and support Federalism in Iraq.

[The excerpt from the Chalabi interview ends here]

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Late night news & current affairs
LOCATION: > Lateline > Archives
Broadcast: 22/7/2002

Note that Mr. Chalabi claims he is the *ally* of the U.S. Given the one-sided financial relationship, this is far-fetched. As was once said by the Wizard in the cartoon strip, The Wizard of Id, "The golden rule is, he who has the gold makes the rules."

[4] Anti-Jewish caricatures from Nazi Germany and from the USSR in the 1970s had a similar theme and appearance. I have set up a display, comparing the two. See, "
"Racist Caricatures of Jews from Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, and from Soviet Russia after 1967," at

-- Jared Israel

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