Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
The Canadian Center for Israel and Jewish affairs (CIJA) has called on the Canadian government to adopt the recommendations of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, which urges to “officially recognize” Jewish refugees from Arab nations and “to include all of the refugee populations as part of the overall and just arrangements relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israeli-Arab conflict.”
The committee presented its report to the Canadian parliament last week, detailing how 850,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries, mainly after Israel was established in 1948 through the early 1970s. They were forced to leave behind assets worth $4.4 billion.
“I think the international community in general has completely overlooked the reality of the historical experience of Jews who had to flee from Arab countries in the period before, during, and after the establishment of the state of Israel. It’s a deficiency in Canadian policy just like it’s a deficiency in those of other countries who are formulating foreign policy positions on the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict and the region,” Shimon Fogel, CEO of CIJA, told JNS.org.
“There’s a perception that there was only one group that suffered as a result of the conflict, when in fact there’s an equal if not greater number on the other side who were impacted in almost a catastrophic way as a result of the Arab world’s rejection of the legitimacy of the Jewish state. On a practical level, the focus on Palestinian refugees in the context of peace negotiations to the exclusion of Jewish refugees is something that skews the whole dynamic of negotiations. If attention is paid, as it should be, to Palestinian refugees, then surely the same level of seriousness has to attach to the recognition and addressing of Jewish refugees from Arab countries,” Fogel said.
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