We have written many times before about how we only hear about the non-Jewish Arab refugees created when the Arab armies invaded Israel in 1948, but hear almost nothing about Jewish refugees from Arab countries:
- Israel double-dares Arabs to seek compensation for refugees
- Helen Thomas’ Greatest Accomplishment
- Oh, those refugees whose property was taken
The claim that the Nakbah — the catastrophe — created only one refugee problem is a fundamental part of anti-Israeli agitation and an impedement to peace as Palestinians insist on a right of return for non-Jewish refugees and their descendents.
In fact, there were an equal number of Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries for Israel.
(The Forgotten Refugees – Full Documentary Movie is available on YouTube)
Approximately half of Israel’s current Jewish population are such Jewish refugees from Arab countries or their descendents. This exchange of populations goes unrecognized because Israel absorbed and welcomed its refugess, while Arab countries — long before there was a “Palestinian” national identity — kept the non-Jewish Arab refugees in separate camps and refused them and their descendents citizenship or other civil rights in many cases.
There is an effort to change this misperception and to recognize the Jewish Nakbah, the ethnic cleansing of Jews in Arab countries, as part of any international discussion of Palestinian refugees.
The effort at the U.N. is being led by Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor, as reported by The Times of Israel, UN Jewish refugees panel aims ‘to rectify history’:
In his statement, Prosor decried the United Nations’ actions. “Since 1947, there have been 687 resolutions relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said. Over 100 of those resolutions “deal specifically with the Palestinians refugees. And yet as we speak today, not one resolution says a single word about the Jewish refugees.”
Further, “on two separate occasions the UN High Commission of Refugees acknowledged that Jews fleeing from Arab countries met the definition of refugees,” and yet still no action has been made to right these social injustices….
“In Iraq,“ Prosor cited, “Zionism was made a capital crime. In Libya, Jewish businesses were burned to the ground.”
Prosor listed many more countries in the Middle East: In Syria, anti-Jewish riots erupted and the government froze Jewish bank accounts. In Egypt, bombs were detonated.
“From Algeria to Yemen, thousands of Jews were murdered in violent crimes instigated by the Arab governments themselves,” said Prosor.
With nothing but the clothes on their backs, many fled in the dead of night. Most came to Israel, which was hardly in a position to aid them. But the fledgling state didn’t hesitate to absorb Jewish refugees.
Ambassador Prosor held a bloggers conference call the week before Thanksgiving. I asked him whether, given the nature of the United Nations, he held any realistic prospect of Jewish refugees being recognized. His answer, paraphrased, was that the issue needed to be raised regardless of the likelihood of success because it is a part of the history that is not being told.
It’s an issue we will continue to raise here, and we ask our readership to spread the word and help dispel the misleading history of the Nakbah.DONATE
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