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May 7, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 6042

Lebanese Writer Criticizes Houthis' Persecution Of Yemeni Jews, Calls On Hizbullah Leader Nasrallah To Condemn It

May 7, 2015
Lebanon, Yemen | Special Dispatch No. 6042

In an April 20, 2015 article in the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal, writer Wissam Sa'ade criticized the persecution of Jews in Yemen by the Houthis. Noting the January 2007 expulsion of 45 Yemeni Jews from the Houthi stronghold of Al-Salem[1] and another expulsion of Jews, in July 2014, from the town of Raydah in the 'Amran governorate,[2] Sa'ade said that the Houthis were bullying a small group of impoverished rural Jews in the name of their war against Israel and Zionism and under their motto "death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews, and victory for Islam."

Sa'ade also criticized Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, a supporter of the Houthis who considers them part of the resistance axis, and called on him to have the courage to distance himself from these Houthi acts and to condemn the Houthis for persecuting Yemen's Jews.

The following are excerpts from the article:[3]


Yemeni Jews (image: Rueters.com)

"When Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah[4] deals with Yemen, he presents Ansar Allah [i.e. the Houthis] as one of the movements fighting Israel in this [Arab] East. But which Israel is this group fighting against?

"This is not the Israel that was established imperialistically on the land of Palestine. This is a different kind of Israel, with but a few hundred residents; unlike the Zionist state, it and its citizens have lived in the mountains [of Yemen] for centuries. [This Israel] has neither nuclear weapons nor Merkava [tanks]. Most of its residents have never been on an airplane, and most are members of the same clan.

"The Israel that is being fought and banished by the Houthis is the Jewish Al-Salem [clan] in Sa'da, and families that are Jewish or of Jewish origin from the city of Raydah in the 'Amran governorate. None of them are Baron Rothschild or Edmund Safra - quite the contrary, most depend on state aid for food such as flour and sugar. Former [Yemen] president 'Ali 'Abdallah Saleh would [boast about this] to the whole world, as though he personally was the defender of the remnants of Yemen's historic Jewish presence, which is an integral part of its culture.

"'Cursed be the Jews' - a Houthi slogan - was implemented verbatim by expelling the Al-Salem clan from their villages in Sa'da, destroying their homes, confiscating their meager possessions, and wiping out their modest livelihood. Is the global campaign of resistance aimed at the Al-Salem poor, at the Jews of Sa'da and Raydah, and at the [few] dozen Jews in Sana'a?

"What crime did these [Jews] commit? They did not immigrate to Israel, nor were they interested [in doing so]. Perhaps Sayyed [Nasrallah] could show a minimum of credibility with either self-criticism or with criticism... of the Houthi Ansar Allah organization, which touted [the act of] expelling a poor family from Sa'da as participation in the struggle against Zionism. Sayyed [Nasrallah] justifies his support for the Houthis with slogans such as 'mutual responsibility for the poor' and 'supporting religious pluralism and cultural heritage,' 'tolerance,' and 'opposing takfir.' However, the Jews of Al-Salem are poor, and Yemeni Jews come under this category of religious pluralism.

"Sayyed [Nasrallah] must show courage and criticize [the Houthis] on this small matter; he must tell [Houthi leader] 'Abd Al-Malek Al-Houthi: 'Cease the injustice towards the poor of Al-Salem' and 'stop the slogan "A curse on the Jews."' He should present the Jews of Iran as an example - despite all they went through after the [1979] Revolution, they still constitute the largest group of Jews in the Middle East after Israel - 10,000, including a parliamentary representative (Siamak Moreh Sedgh). Is this not reason enough to criticize the Houthis for their injustice against poor families? Sayyed. [Nasrallah], is it not therefore injustice to consider the Houthis a progressive movement in the struggle against Israel? Did you not do yourself a disservice with [your] statements?

"Someone may say: A few hundred rural Jews in northern Yemen is a trifling issue that has no significance in the region's tumultuous 'strategic' dialogue between its two elements [Sunni and Shi'ite]. But the Houthis' only expression of their motto of resisting Israel is in effect their persecution of poverty-stricken villagers in Sa'da. In principle, the Houthis are not lying on this issue - they are adhering to their motto of 'cursed be the Jews.' In fact, this is the only motto that separates them from the other [disciples of the founder of Iran's Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini, who adopted the mottos of 'death to America' and 'death to Israel' [but not death to the Jews].

"If Sayyed [Nasrallah] seeks to grant the Houthis the air of a progressive, liberal, logical, and enlightened national liberation [movement], and if he wishes to tone down his statements somewhat, wouldn't it be worthwhile for him to address his ally Al-Houthi, even casually, in concluding a speech or as an aside, and say to him: Cease your injustice against the poor, good, peaceful, and persecuted Al-Salem clan in Sa'da, and remove the slogan of 'cursed be the Jews' from Yemen?"

 

Endnotes:

[1] Akhbaralyom.net, January 24, 2007.

[2] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 18, 2014.

[3] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), April 20, 2015.

[4] "Sayyed" is a Shi'ite honorific denoting descendants of the Prophet Muhammad.

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