If the conference surprised many, the reaction to it did not—arrest warrants, death threats and wanted posters targeting participants. Still, it brought together more than 300 Iraqis interested in forging ties with Israel.

Keramlis, a Christian town on the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq, fell to ISIS in August 2014, sending its inhabitants fleeing. The town was retaken by Iraq forces three weeks ago as part of the push for Mosul, but most of its homes were destroyed in the process.