The Farhud—“violent dispossession”— was the pro-Nazi massacre of Jews in Iraq, June 1–2, 1941. It was followed by the expulsion of 850,000 Jews from Arab countries to Israel. Historian and investigative reporter Edwin Black, founder of International Farhud Day, documented the event and its aftermath in his bestselling The Farhud.
International Farhud Day was first observed on June 1, 2015 at a ceremony at United Nations HQ sponsored by the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (IAJLJ), The American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (AAJLJ), and StandWithUs, in association with Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), the Israeli-American Council, the Auto Channel, and an international coalition of organizations.
The observance began with welcome remarks by Alyza Lewin of the AAJLJ. Ambassador David Roet, then Deputy Permanent Representative of the Israel Mission to the UN made introductory remarks, and the event was moderated by Rabbi Elie Abadie, co-president of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, founding rabbi of the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue, and now senior rabbi in residence for the UAE. Malcolm Hoenlein, then executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations introduced Edwin Black’s keynote, “The Farhud and the Creation of 850,000 Post-War Refugees From Arab Lands,” based on his award-winning bestseller The Farhud: Roots of The Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust.
The event received international media coverage in outlets such as the Jerusalem Post and haGalil, and many carried Edwin Black’s account of the day, including History Network News, the Algemeiner, the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, San Diego Jewish World, the San Francisco Jewiish Weekly, the Long Island Jewish World, The Jewish Voice, the Florida Jewish Journal, Frontpage, Yated Ne'eman, and the Winston-Salem Journal.
Observances of International Farhud Day have been held in the years since 2015 on or about June 1, and Google has included it in its list of holidays and observances.