Andy is right on target. Both the Syrian regime and the opposition that is fighting them, are two sides of the very same coin. As far as Jews are concerned, both are oppressive towards them. The reason why the ‘secular’ Baathist party under the Assad(s) regime restricted and persecuted Jews, was to placate the Syrian Sunni majority, as well as from their own anti-Semitic prejudices.
So there is little hope for an upturn in their affairs once the “democrats” take power, they’ll be as oppressed, or worse off than during the Assad dynasties. Once again Andy Bostom sheds some needed light on the history of the region. KGS
- Jews were required to carry identity cards with the word Mussawi (follower of Moses) broadly scrawled in red ink.
- In Al-Qamishli, Jewish homes and stores were required to bear a red sign (the color connoting uncleanliness).
- Under a law drafted February 8, 1967, all government employees and members of the Syrian armed forces were barred from trading with any Jewish establishment in Syria. A list of boycotted businesses was supplied by the government.
- In some instances, Jews were barred from making food purchases themselves and had to rely on Syrian friends to keep them from starving. Jews could not own or drive automobiles or have telephones.
- Jews could not serve in the Syrian armed forces, but had to pay $600 to secure exemption certificates. Jews could not sell property. In the event of death or illegal emigration, property was transferred to the state, which disposed of it either through sale or grant to Palestinians. Members of saiqa, a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) faction favored by the Syrians, openly strutted through the streets of Damascus ghetto, intimidating people with arms and beatings. Al Fatah also maintained an office in this ghetto where in one week in 1971 seven Jewish homes were torched.
The overall situation was so critical that the Jewish Telegraphic Agency of November 19, 1971 reported:
For the first time since the Russian Revolution of 1917, Soviet Jews have petitioned their government to aid Jews of another country. Russian Jewish sources reported that a group of Muscovite Jews wrote to the Kremlin’s Big Three-Communist Party Chief Leonid I. Brezhnev, Premier Aleksei N. Kosygin, and President Nikolai V. Podgorny-to intervene with the Damascus government for a cessation of restrictions on Syrian Jews. The names of the petitioners were not disclosed, but the sources said they were all activist Jews, many of whom have applied for migration to Israel. The petitioners based their appeal on humanitarian grounds and on the fact of good Russian-Syrian relations.
Given the present absence of Jews in Syria—pogromed, persecuted, and dispossessed to extinction, culminating in the 1970s, with the exploits of the Hafez al-Assad regime—and consistent with the longstanding ecumenical Muslim Brotherhood Weltanschauung, “first the Saturday people, then the Sunday people”—comes a report from the Middle Eastern Franciscan website Terrasanta.net (translation via ANSA Med) about the current plight of Syrian Christians, latest beneficiaries of the “Arab Spring” uprisings.