web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish refugees’

Canadian Cabinet Resolution Recognizes Jewish Refugees

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Canada has formally recognized the plight of Jewish refugees from Arab lands.

On Monday, Ottawa accepted a report tabled last year that called on the federal government to “officially recognize the experience of Jewish refugees who were displaced from states in the Middle East and North Africa after 1948.”

The federal cabinet approved the report March 3, according to the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

Submitted to Parliament last November by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development , the 17-page report noted that during the course of its hearings the previous spring, members “learned of the discrimination and hardship faced by Jewish people living in the Middle East and North Africa in the 20th century [which] surged over the years in tandem with the crisis moments of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in particular the 1948–49 and 1967 wars.”

The committee heard that since 1948, roughly 850,000 Jews fled persecution and violence in the Middle East and North Africa, and that about 650,000 immigrated to Israel, while the rest settled in other countries, including Canada.

The countries in question had a collective Jewish population of just 4,315 in 2012, the report noted. It stressed that “recognition of the experiences of Jewish refugees does not diminish or compete with the situation of Palestinian refugees.” A campaign for recognition of Jewish refugee claims has gained steam in recent years in part as a response to demands of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel. Israel has said it will not grant Palestinian refugees citizenship.

“This is not only a matter of ensuring historical accuracy,” said CIJA chair David Koschitzky. “Once implemented, it will correct a fundamental imbalance in a Canadian policy that acknowledges Arab refugees but makes no mention of Jewish refugees resulting from the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

A CIJA spokesman said the organization is “looking forward to details on how this will be integrated into Canada’s standing policy on the Middle East.”

Palestinians Rebuff Jewish Refugees’ Outreach

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

An offer to advocate for Palestinian refugee rights to cooperate with advocates for the rights of Jewish refugees was rejected at the Zochrot conference. 

The conference went ahead on the supposed site of an Arab village on the Tel Aviv university campus on 29 and 30 September, despite attempts to have it cancelled.  Levana Zamir, the president of the Association of Jews from Egypt in Israel, who made the offer to cooperate,  watched the conference develop into a nightmare – a sick and calculated blueprint for the annihilation of Israel. (One can only marvel at the irony that the bastion of anti-Zionism that is Tel Aviv university, whose staff and students so enthusiastically participated in the conference, should cooperate in their own destruction. )

The Zochrot conference website banner.

The Zochrot conference website banner.

Here is Levana’s report:

Levana Zamir

Levana Zamir

This international conference initiated by the Israeli NGO Zokhrot (meaning ‘we remember’),  titled “Realizing the Return of Palestinian Refugees” took place over two days in the Eretz Israel Museum in Ramat Aviv – located on the site of the former Arab village of  Sheikh Mouniss.

It was  a nightmare to me.  Janet Dallal, an Israeli friend from Iraq, was there with me. The other heads of organisations of Jews from Arab countries decided not to come and speak out – saying it would give the conference too much  publicity. Now I can say they were wrong.

The aim of this conference was not to argue whether the Palestinian refugees have a right of return, but the realization of it,  termed ‘decolonization’ by the conference including in parts of north Tel Aviv where small Arab villages were located before 1948.

The conference got off to a slow start, talking about doing justice to the dispossessed and stateless Palestinian refugees, and with a few good words from Leila Hilal, Director of the Middle East Task force of the New America Foundation – the main organisation financing this conference, beside other European organisations.

Leila Hilal said she was embarrassed to open the conference knowing that ‘the right of return’ issue was very delicate for most of Israelis: I liked her opening very much. But she continued saying it was about time to do justice to those politically-displaced refugees and put an end to their suffering. From time to time she talked of “compensation”.

Professor  Dan Rabinovitz of Tel Aviv University (where else?) gave his presentation, saying that the ‘right of return’ would be granted to refugees born in Palestine and are still alive – not to their descendants – i.e. 200, 000 refugees.  A  ‘right of return’ given by Israel to Jews only is discrimination, he said. He asked for recognition and for an apology. The Return would not always be to the original locations, but to alternatives.

After three more presentations about “reconciliation”, the Serbian refugee model, and the research findings of an Arab doctoral student from the UK on displaced Palestinians, it was easy for me at the Q&A to say my few words over the microphone and to ask my question.  I said:
“I came here to give you a hand, to ask you to continue your fight to get back your properties and compensation because I am myself a refugee, a Jewish refugee from Egypt. We were dispossessed of all our family properties, of our identity, then expelled. There are a million Jewish refugees like me from Arab lands – Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, etc.  So I propose to pool our efforts – Palestinian and Jewish refugees – to recover our properties, secure compensation, and not to accept the kizuz (cancelling out) proposed by Israel.

“My question to Leila Hilal was this: “as you represent the New America Foundation, dealing with refugees in the Middle East, would you agree to give us a hand, and deal with Jewish refugees too. Let’s do it together, hand in hand.”

Leila did not answer my question but asked the others to do so.  Prof. Dan Rabinovitz said that my request was absolutely right, but he was an expert on Palestinian refugees and dealt only with them. The doctoral student from the UK, Munir Nuseibah, said he would be ready to develop his research for both sides. But during the coffee break, when I asked him how he would like us to cooperate on his research, he said he could not cooperate. People around us heard his answer very clearly.

When Leila asked the Serbian expert to answer to another question about the success of the ‘right of return’ imposed on Serbia, she said that it was a very bad experience involving killing people, and it had to be stopped.

During the coffe break, the president and founder of Zokhrot, Eitan Bronstein (an Israeli), came to me and said he was ready to see how Zokhrot could cooperate with us to include the Jewish refugees in their themes and activities. At that moment I was really glad to be there, but Leila avoided me and disappeared. I will send her a short message.

Janet Dallal intervened during the afternoon sessions, reminding the audience (all of them leftists) of the existence of the second group of refugees, the Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries, and the role of the Arab League in all this.

The second and last part of the conference became a nightmare.

During the whole next day, the lecturers demonstrated what the Return would be like, geographically – through animated short clips – and practically.

For example, in North Tel Aviv, on Ibn-Gvirol Street and the corner of Arlozorof – a sophisticated Tel-Avivian neighbourhood where an Arab village called Soumayel was located – the ‘Israeli occupiers’ would have the right to decide to leave their homes or stay and pay the ‘Palestinian refugee owner’ the ‘market value’ of their house. Then the ‘Palestinian Refugee owner’ would decide between recovering ‘his’ house or taking the money, with all that entailed. The Israeli ‘occupiers’ could not pass their homes on as inheritance to their descendants, etc. etc.

The Palestinian refugee who did not wish to Return, would get all their rights as Israeli citizens (Bituah Leumi national insurance rights, etc). in the paradise of One state for Two Peoples.  There was never any talk of “two separate nation-states”.

Everything is already settled for the Return to Arab villages too. The speakers planned, for example, how the ‘new’ Arab village of Ladjoun, on the edge of the flourishing kibbutz Meggido in the North,  will look, and under which conditions two Arab buildings still located inside the kibbutz would be incorporated into the village.

All this seemed to me sick and destructive, so the second day I did  not attend the conference but watched via the On-line conference link on the Zokhrot Facebook page.

The conference continued in this vein. Some lecturers even said, “Zionism is a crime” and nobody objected, except one lady who said: ” please respect others’ beliefs”. That was the only moment when I wished I had been there to say that today the word “Zionism” has no meaning any more – because the State of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. We are Am Israel, living in Medinat Israel.

To sum up, I cannot believe this is happening to us, that Israelis could side with our enemies so as to annihilate the State of Israel. This conference came one step closer towards this annihilation. I would like to say to all those who were there, that the creation of the State of Israel after 2,000 years was a miracle, and that the people of Israel on its own land is neither invincible, nor should it be taken for granted.

Visit Point of No Return.

Date Chosen to Commemorate Jewish Refugees from Arab countries

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

(Sunday, July 14, 2013) – Today, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation endorsed a law to hold an official date in the Israeli national calendar to commemorate the Jewish refugees from Arab countries. The law, authored by Member of Knesset Dr. Shimon Ohayon (Yisrael Beytenu), will state that February 17th is to become a day of national commemoration for the over 850,000 Jews who were forced out or who fled their homes in Arab countries during the middle of the last century.

February 17th was chosen because it was the date in 1948 when the Arab League approved a law for its member states placing severe sanctions against their Jewish populations.

Accordingly, MK Ohayon sent an official letter today to Secretary General of the Arab League Dr. Nabil El Araby calling on his organization to “accept historic accountability for the humiliation, the suffering, and the losses incurred by innocent Jewish victims of the Arab world’s declared war against the State of Israel.”

“As a matter of law and equity, the Arab League must assume full responsibility for ensuring rights and redress for Jewish refugees, the direct result of their collusionary actions,” MK Ohayon wrote in a letter also sent to the Arab League’s Human Rights Department.

“There are historic processes taking place in the Arab world currently with more and more people pushing for their rights, this is an opportune time for the Arab League and its member states to admit to the historic injustice meted out to their Jewish populations,” MK Ohayon said. “This is an important element of any future peace and reconciliation between Jews and Arab in the Middle East.”

The law and the letter are part of a concerted campaign to have the rights of the Jews who were forced out of Arab countries in the twentieth century recognized in Israel, the Arab world and the international community.

The day of commemoration for the Jewish refugees was accepted and endorsed by the representative organizations of Jews from Arab countries in Israel and international organizations like Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC) and the World Jewish Congress, who will push the day of commemoration in Jewish communities around the world.

The following is the letter sent by MK Dr. Ohayon to Arab League Secretary General Dr. Nabil El Araby

Jerusalem, 14th July 2013
His Excellency Dr. Nabil El Araby
Secretary General League of Arab States

Secretary General, For over 2,500 years, Jews in substantial numbers resided in the Middle East and North Africa, predating Islam and the Arab conquest and subsequent occupation of much of these areas. During the twentieth century, roughly 99% of all Jews, almost a million men, women and children, were uprooted from their ancient Jewish communities in ten Arab countries – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Aden. The repression against Jews in so many Arab countries was not independent phenomenon but rather the result of collusion by the League of Arab States to target and persecute their Jewish populations. This is evidenced from: (a) reports of multilateral meetings of the Arab League; (b) ominous and violent threats made against Jews by delegates of Arab countries at the U.N.; and c) legislation and discriminatory decrees, enacted by numerous Arab governments, that violated the fundamental rights and freedoms of Jews in Arab countries.

In 1947, the Political Committee of the League of Arab States approved the Text of Law which provided that “…all Jews were to be considered members of the Jewish ‘minority state of Palestine,’” their bank accounts would be frozen, assets confiscated and many would be interned as political prisoners. These discriminatory actions made the lives of Jews in Arab countries simply untenable. Jews were uprooted from their countries of birth and in virtually all cases, as they fled or were expelled, individual and communal properties were seized and/or confiscated without any compensation provided by Arab governments.

The League of Arab States should acknowledge its role and responsibility in the drafting and endorsement of the Text of Law, colluding to inflict human rights violations against its Jewish nationals and residents, and the consequent displacement of Jewish refugees.

The Arab League must accept historic accountability for the humiliation, the suffering, and the losses incurred by innocent Jewish victims of the Arab world’s declared war against the State of Israel. As a matter of law and equity, the Arab League must assume full responsibility for ensuring rights and redress for Jewish refugees, the direct result of their collusionary actions. Sincerely, Dr. Shimon Ohayon, MK

MK to Arab League: Don’t Forget Jews on World Refugee Day

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Yisrael Beitenu  Knesset Member Shimon Ohayon, on United Nations World Refugee Day, called on the Arab League to accept responsibility for the exodus of Jews from the group’s countries before and after the re-establishment of the State of Israel .

“The Jews of Arab countries, starting in 1947, were used as weapons by the Arab League against the establishment of the Jewish State,” MK Ohayon said. “The Arab League drafted laws for its member states to withdraw civil and human rights from its Jewish inhabitants, and it is time for it to own up to its role in the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population from most of the Middle East and North Africa.”

The Political Committee of the Arab League drafted a law in 1947 to govern the legal status of Jewish residents in all Arab League countries.

The “Text of Law Drafted by the Political Committee of the Arab League” called for the freezing of bank accounts of Jews and confiscating their assets. Subsequent meetings reportedly called for the expulsion of Jews from Arab League countries.

MK Ohayon, who along with his family fled Morocco in 1956, is the chairman of the Knesset Caucus for the Rights of Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands and has drafted a law to hold an annual day to commemorate the Jewish refugees in the Israeli calendar.

Feiglin Wants Turkey Apology for Deaths of 766 Holocaust Refugees

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Turkey should apologize for the deaths of 766 Holocaust refugees whose Deputy MV Struma boat was sunk in February 1942 after the country refused to allow their boat to remain in port for repairs, said Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin.

The ship was towed away to the Black Sea, where it was a sitting duck for a mine or a Soviet torpedo.

Feiglin posted the demand on his Facebook page after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s won an apology from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the deaths of nine Turkish terrorists who clubbed and kidnapped IDF commandos trying to stop their boat from reaching Hamas-controlled Gaza in May 2010.

Erdogan also is demanding $ 1 million compensation for each of the nine terrorists killed in the clash.

Feiglin, who heads the Jewish Leadership faction of the Likud, wrote, “The truth is that we don’t need an apology. And also not financial compensation. The Jewish people have a special skill. They know how to remember.”

Jews piled on the ship in Romania in December 1942 but their journey to Israel, which was then under the British Mandate, was scuttled when the boat docked at Istanbul.

Britain refused to give the referees visa and Turkey refused to allow them to enter the country.

After two months of being stuck in the port, Turkey towed to the ship into international waters, where it was sunk either by a mine of by a Soviet torpedo.

In an account of the boat’s hapless voyage written in “The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism,” Bernard Wasserstein wrote, “It was a rough night in the Black Sea on February 24, 1942. Ten kilometers or so from the shore, a 75 year-old, 240-ton converted yacht, carrying 767 Jewish refugees from Romania, exploded, probably after being hit by a torpedo, fired in error by a Soviet submarine.

“The vessel sank with the loss of all except one of the passengers. The Struma had left Constanza [Romania] on December 12, 1941, bound for Palestine. But on arrival at Istanbul three days later, her engine broke down and she was unable to proceed. While engineers tried unsuccessfully to restore the ship to seaworthiness, the Turkish and British governments wrangled about the onward passage of the refugees.

“The Turks refused to allow them to land unless they had guarantees of admission to some other country. The British refused to grant them certificates to enter Palestine. The failure of the two governments to agree culminated in the boat being towed out to sea and abandoned to the waves…

“The only force used in the episode was that applied by between one and two hundred Turkish policemen who overpowered resistance from the debilitated refugees and supervised the towing of the rotten, still engine-less hulk out beyond territorial waters. They then abandoned the passengers to near-certain death.”

Victimhood as Foreign Policy

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Would Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. have called on the world body “to tell the 850,000 untold stories of Jewish refugees from Arab countries…” had the Palestinians not made the return of their “refugees” to Israel a foundational point for the securing of a comprehensive peace agreement with the Jewish state?

“We are 64 years late, but we are not too late,” said Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon last Friday.

So why now?

Sadly, it appears that the Israeli foreign policy establishment has given up on convincing the international community as to the essential rightness of the Zionist enterprise. Rather, by attempting to push the issue of Jewish “refugees” from Arab lands to the top of the U.N.’s agenda, Israelis abdicating the moral high ground in favor of sinking into a battle of victimhood narratives with the Palestinians.

Such a lack of conviction bespeaks a general sense of malaise emanating from Jerusalem, where Israel’s leaders have evidently thrown up their hands and embraced the belief that the best defense against anti-Israel bias is a compelling story of mass expulsion.

Now, Minister Ayalon is absolutely correct in asserting that “this issue was never emphasized enough…We have decided to bring it up, to flush out the truth.” It’s a crying shame, not to mention a blight on the records of successive Israeli administrations, that the greatest single demographic upheaval in the modern history of the Middle East was a story largely left untold inside of Israel.

As such, it is altogether appropriate that the Israeli national zeitgeist make room for the largely-forgotten history of Jewish refugees who were summarily expelled from Arab lands.

For while much thought, research, ink and media coverage has been dedicated in recent years to the European Holocaust, the wave of anti-Semitism and violence that swept Arab states in the wake of Israel’s establishment has long been given short shrift.

However, the politicizing of this dark chapter in Jewish history is but a rather lame attempt to stem the growing tide of pro-Palestinian sentiment that has seemingly swept across our world.

For Israel to make any kind of headway by way of ‘hasbara’ (public relations efforts for Israel) it need only remember and repeat these immutable facts regarding the genesis of the Palestinian “refugee” issue:

Settling for approximately one-quarter of the land mass that had been promised by the original partition plan, Jewish leaders made strenuous efforts to encourage their Arab neighbors to stay on and help build up the new state of Israel.

A large majority of local Arabs responded to the call for coexistence by violently rejecting it.  Egged on by a bellicose leadership that darkly warned that its bullets wouldn’t distinguish between Arabs and Jews, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs summarily packed up and took off, having been reassured that they would be able to return once the foreign Zionist entity had been snuffed out.

What followed was an invasion by seven Arab countries. Had the Arabs accepted the two-state solution, as formulated by the UN in 1947, it is quite likely that war would have been avoided and a separate Palestinian country would have come into existence.

That a refugee problem arose as a result of the invasion is an irrefutable fact. Yet, the births of many sovereign nation have resulted in mass displacement and other social upheavals. Unique to the saga of the Palestinian refugee, however, is the phenomenon of the magically multiplying refugees. From close to 750,000 in 1948, today Palestinian refugees number over 5 million.  Is there any other displaced group on earth that passes their refugee status on genetically?

And while Palestinians around the Middle East have subsequently been used as pawns in a decades-long attempt to destabilize and delegitimize the sovereign state of Israel, Jewish immigrants – that’s right, “immigrants” – from Arab lands were absorbed into Israeli society, where many of their progeny would go on to assume prominent roles within Israeli society.

By referring to Jewish immigrants from Arab lands as refugees, Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is inadvertently providing fodder for extremists across the Arab world who argue that all Jewish immigrants should return to their “home” countries since Israel is neither their country nor their ancestral homeland.

Nadler Travels to Israel to Speak at the Justice For Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries Conference

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn) recently traveled to Israel where he joined Israeli and international leaders to call for better recognition of the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

“I am proud to have visited Israel this week to speak about the absolute necessity of recognizing the plight of Jewish refugees from Arab countries,” said Nadler. “It is simply wrong to recognize the rights of Palestinian refugees without recognizing the rights of nearly one million Jewish refugees who suffered terrible outrages at the hands of their former compatriots. We must not retreat from the obvious injustice these Jewish refugees face, and we must continue the effort to emphasize that the plight of all refugees must be considered equally and fairly in any final peace agreement.”

Speaking at the Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries Conference, which was cosponsored by the Israeli government and the World Jewish Congress, Congressman Nadler discussed his work in Congress to ensure that the U.S. leads the way in acknowledging the terrible injustices visited upon Jewish refugees from the Middle East and to ensure equal treatment for Jewish refugees.

Congressman Nadler passed a congressional resolution on the issue back in 2008 and, most recently, he has introduced bi-partisan legislation, H.R. 6242, that calls on the Administration to report to Congress on its progress in pursuing justice for Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

Jerrold Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents New York’s 8th Congressional District, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Poll: Israeli Arabs Believe Jewish Refugees Deserve Attention

Monday, September 10th, 2012

A new poll released at an international conference on Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries shows that a great proportion of Arab Israelis (54%) than Jewish Israelis (48%) believe issues pertaining to Jewish refugees from Arab countries deserve as much attention as those pertaining to Arab refugees from Israel’s war of independence.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told attendees, “The Arab world has neglected Arab refugees for decades and has used them as a battering ram against Israel, while Israel, which was just born as a nation-state, has absorbed and resettled the Jewish refugees from Arab countries and turned them into productive citizens.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/poll-israeli-arabs-believe-jewish-refugees-deserve-attention/2012/09/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: