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May 25, 2007

100 Years Ago In the Forward

A pogrom is usually thought of as something that happens to Jews in Russia. But this week, in Sioux City, Iowa, a gang attacked a number of Jewish-owned stores in the middle of the night. When Philip Rubin heard the shattering of the large, plate-glass windows of his shoe store, he came downstairs to see what had happened. He was then grabbed by a group of men who beat him senseless and heaped bitter anti-Jewish curses on his head. When they were done with Rubin, the gang moved over to Sam Lipman’s grocery store, where they destroyed the merchandise and Lipman, as well. Hearing the noise, neighbors Jacob and Sam Passman came to help, but the criminals beat them badly, too. When the police finally arrived, they were able to arrest two of the hooligans. They were released on bail, although not until the many Jews who appeared at the courthouse were assured that the criminals would receive long prison sentences. Unfortunately, the rest of the Iowa pogromchiks got away.

75 Years Ago In the Forward

More than 60 Jews were badly wounded in a major pogrom that occurred this week in Aden, Arabia. The Jewish quarter of Aden was attacked by Arabs who were wielding clubs and stones, following circulation of a rumor that Jews had thrown garbage into the courtyard of the biggest mosque in the city. For the most part, the Jews, together with the police, were able to drive the wild mob away from the Jewish neighborhood, thereby preventing more casualties. Despite all this, local Jews were badly shaken. They still fear for their lives. At the height of the fighting, a telegram reading “Jews of Aden in danger, send help fast,” arrived in London to the Board of Jewish Deputies from the Aden Young Men’s Hebrew Association. The American Jewish Congress received a similar telegram describing the terror experienced by the Jews of that city. The steps being taken to protect the Jews of the Arabian Peninsula are unknown.

50 Years Ago In the Forward

Abdel Balek Hasuna, secretary general of the Arab League, suggested this week that Israel move its borders back to those of the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan. Although there is little chance that Israel will comply, it is the first time that an Arab diplomat actually admitted that Israel exists. Hasuna said that while the Arabs were initially opposed to the State of Israel, their country is now a member of the U.N. If this step would be taken, Hasuna said, the road to peace would be open. For their part, Israeli leaders have said repeatedly that they will not give up lands gained by them in 1948-49 after Arab countries attacked them.


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