Libya: Jew who tried to rebuild synagogue to be deported — “There is no place for Jews in Libya”

LibyaProtesters.jpegMore glories of the Arab Spring

David Gerbi believed the news stories about a flowering of Western values in Libya. He took the mainstream media at its word, and people like Barack Obama at their word, that what was happening in Libya was a wonderful throwing-off of oppression and reaffirmation of human rights. But when he got there, he discovered the brutal truth behind all the fog of political correctness: “There is no place for Jews in Libya.”

More on this story. “Following calls for deportation, Gerbi to return to Rome,” by Lisa Palmieri-Billig for the Jerusalem Post, October 10 (thanks to all who sent this in):

A few hundred angry protesters gathered in central Tripoli on the eve of Yom Kippur on Friday, calling for the deportation of a Libyan Jew who has been trying to reopen a synagogue sealed since ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi expelled the country”s Jewish community in 1967.

The protesters carried signs reading, “There is no place for the Jews in Libya,” and “We don’t have a place for Zionism.”

The crowds tried to storm Italian Libyan Jewish psychoanalyst David Gerbi’s Corinthia Hotel in central Tripoli. There was also a demonstration in Benghazi in the east of the country.

According to Gerbi, the crowd wanted to forcibly remove him from the hotel.

“They were impeded by hotel and Libyan security and government officials,” he said.

Gerbi said that National Security Adviser Abdel Karim Bazama, rebel leader Mustafa Saghezli, Interior Minister Ahmed Dharat and Justice Minister Muhammad Allaghi were among the government officials present at the hotel.

“The Tripoli crowd dispersed after Allaghi warned that any use of force on the part of the protesters would immediately result in strong international condemnation,” Gerbi said.

“He [Allaghi] reassured them the “˜problem” would be resolved within 48 hours.”

The demonstrations were ignited by an attempt by Dr.Gerbi to clean the debris and pray in Tripoli’s abandoned Dar Bishi Synagogue. Dr. Gerbi had joined the National Transitional Council (NTC) rebel group last spring, first as a volunteer at the Benghazi Psychiatric Hospital and then joining and helping the rebels themselves.

“This incident has served to expose the dangerous reality simmering beneath the surface,” he said.

“I want to contribute to, not obstruct, the building of a new democratic and pluralistic Libya. It is sad and absurd that my mere presence in Libya, should set off so much hostility and I regret this,” Gerbi said.

“However,” he continued, “what happened reveals the extent of Gaddafi’s anti-Semitic conditioning of an entire generation, those in their forties and fifties. Forty-two years of lies, of hate propaganda falsely accusing Jews of having been paid off to abandon the country in 1967, of having robbed Palestinians of their homes and of planning to colonize Libya.”

“Fortunately, the older generation still recalls warm friendships with former Jewish neighbors,” Gerbi said, “and I will continue to work to restore a 2,300-year-old coexistence and advocate active roles in the NTC for Libyan Jews, for the Libyan Amazigh population, for women and all ethnic and religious minorities.”…

It’s not Gaddafi, Gerbi, it’s Islam. The “warm friendships” of which you speak were forged when Libya was under strong Western influence. Now that is long gone.

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  1. says

    “Forty-two years of lies, of hate propaganda falsely accusing Jews…”

    No, not 42 but 1400 years of hate propaganda against the Jews, and all other non-mohammedans.

    And I agree completely with Dave Dowse, but would take it a step further. There is no place for Islam in ANY of the civilized Western countries!

    Send them all back, and withdraw not only the troops but ALL contact. If they want to live in the 7th century, let them get on with it, without help or hindrance from us.

  2. says

    I strongly condemn Libya for ridding itself of all Jews.

    I now proclaim that the US should rid itself of all Muslims.

    The difference between the two points of view is an uncrossable chasm. We’re civilized and they’re not.

  3. says

    What was David Gerbi thinking trying to rebuild a synagogue in an Arab Muslim country?

    As a Jew – a people who have suffered terribly at the hands of Muslims right from the days of Islam’s psychopath founder prophet – he ought to have known better than naively buy the tall politically correct media tales that the Arab spring is all about Western style “freedom & democracy.”

    Wasn’t he aware of the Lara Logan rape attack by Egypt’s pro-democracy demonstrators because they thought she was Jewish?
    And that 100,000 Christians have fled the same Egypt since the onset of the so-called “Arab spring.”
    Is Gerbi unaware of the Al-Qaeda connections of the post-Gaddafi “pro-democracy” Libyan junta?

    Is there even a Jewish community in Libya to utilize the synagogue he wanted to restore?

  4. says


    1948 Jewish population: 38,000
    2002: 01

    Jews had a presence in Libya at least since the time of Hellenistic rule under Ptolemy Lagos in 323 B.C.E. in Cyrene. Once home to a very large and thriving Jewish community, Libya is now completely empty of Jews due to anti-Jewish pogroms and immigration to Israel.

    A savage pogrom in Tripoli on November 5, 1945, killed more than 140 Jews and wounded hundreds more. Almost every synagogue was looted. In June 1948, rioters murdered another 12 Jews and destroyed 280 Jewish homes.

    Thousands of Jews fled the country after Libya was granted independence and membership in the Arab League in 1951. After the Six-Day War, the Jewish population of 7,000 was again subjected to pogroms in which 18 were killed, and many more injured, sparking a near-total exodus that left fewer than 100 Jews in Libya.

    When Col. Qaddafi came to power in 1969, all Jewish property was confiscated and all debts to Jews cancelled. In 1999, the synagogue in Tripoli was renovated, however, it was not reopened.

    The last Jew living in Libya, Esmeralda Meghnagi, died in February 2002. This marked the end of one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities, which traced its origins to the 3rd century B.C.E.

    – So there is no place for Jews in Libya and will never be as long as Islam rules.

  5. says

    yeah, i tried to re-open a synagogue in the Banu Quraiza quarters of Medina and was not allowed.

    Something to do with the 1400 years of lies, of hate propaganda by a fellow named Mohammed.

  6. says

    Well, he can’t build a synagogue in the “moderate” Islamic State of Libya… maybe Islamic States were not meant to be “moderate” after all, the one who formulated the rules of the Islamic State didn’t fancy that view all too well…

    May God protect all the Jews and Christians under attack… History hasn’t been good to you.

  7. says

    This is an excellent example of the selective reporting of the MSM. I read about David Gerbi in the Wall Street Journal on October 3:

    Libyan Jew Reopens Tripoli’s Lone Temple
    Returnee’s Move Will Test New Regime on Commitment to Democratic Values

    The front-page story sounded hopeful for Jews in Libya. I have to say I admire Mr. Gerbi for his brave effort.

    Today’s story of deportation is only listed under 8 news outlets on Google News (there were 610 news articles 6 days ago). Most of these are Israeli news outlets; the CBS story pins all of the blame on Qaddafi.

  8. says

    Striking that two of the libyan protesters in the pictures are woman without head covering. In one year they will probably be covered head to toe by force.

  9. says

    And Insane McCain called those Islamo-Nazi Storm troopers “his heroes”. And Norway, England and France fight a war to put them in power.

    Ruslan Tokhchukov, EnragedSince1999.

  10. says


    The Muslims talk about the tolerance of Islam, and how the Jewish communities thrived when the Ottoman Empire gave refuge to the Jews expelled from Spain.

    I guess David Gerbi took them at their word.

    While it is questionable whether such an idyllic life ever existed, there is no doubt that sizeable Jewish communities existed under Muslim rule. Many of them became wealthy, although, of course, under the Muslim strait-jacket of thought, the Jews in Muslim lands made no contributions to science.

    In any case, that is now irrelevant. Islam is now thoroughly politicized, and one of its bedrock doctrines is anti-semitism. There will be no more tolerance of Jews in Muslim communities, under any circumstances.

    This is what makes it so difficult to understand when Jewish leaders like Rabbi Eric Yoffe opens interfaith dialog and addresses organizations like the ISNA. Notice, I did not criticize his opposition to attacks against Muslims. But, defending someone’s rights is very different from acting to legitimize their ideas.

  11. says


    Thanks for the link. I found Peter Hitchen’s blog to be eminently sensible, not unsurprising since I agree with virtually all his positions.

    I slightly disagree with his analysis on the British involvement in the Libyan fiasco. I think the motivation for European involvement was the desire to keep the number of refugees from that country to a minimum. England no longer has the resolve to directly exclude undesirable refugees, so it must stoop to fantasy-driven military adventures designed to make Libya more attractive to its own citizens.