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Emet m'Tsiyon

Friday, December 04, 2015

More than 900,000 Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands

Given the general state of ignorance of history worldwide, it is no surprise that most people, even many Jews, are not aware of the  Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Of those who know something of this forgotten history, few know that these Jewish refugees outnumbered the Arab refugees who fled the Arab-initiated war on the not yet born Jewish State of Israel which started on 30 November 1947. Last year, Israel's parliament, the Knesset, passed a law that every 30 November is to  be a day to commemorate the Jewish refugees from Arab lands and Iran. Arab attacks on Jews on Arab lands accelerated after that date, which was the date, by Middle Eastern time, that the UN General Assembly  recommended partitioning the Land of Israel ["palestine" in Western parlance] between a Jewish state, an Arab state, and and international enclave in and around Jerusalem [corpus separatum]. After more than 1000 years of oppression, inequality, humiliation and recurrent persecution and pogroms in Arab/Muslim lands in the inferior status of dhimmis, the Arab states wanted to get rid of the local Jews, since they could not tolerate Jews sharing an equal status with Muslims.

Ashley Perry and Lyn Julius have written separately on this day of commemoration, a day to remember what has been too long forgotten and relegated to the periphery of discussion of Arab-Israeli issues, of Arab-Israeli diplomacy.

Here is Lyn Julius:
The date chosen was 30 November - to recall the day after the UN passed the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine. Violence, following bloodcurdling threats by Arab leaders, erupted against Jewish communities. The riots resulted in the mass exodus of Jews from the Arab world, the seizure of their property and assets and the destruction of their millennarian, pre-Islamic communities. In 1979, the Islamic revolution resulted in the exodus of four-fifths of the Iranian-Jewish community.

Refugees are much in the news these days. Until the mass population displacement caused by wars in Iraq and Syria, however, the world thought that 'Middle Eastern refugee' was synonymous with 'Palestinian refugee.' Yet there were more Jews displaced from Arab countries than Palestinians (850, 000, as against 711,000 according to UN figures.)

The majority of Jewish refugees found a haven in Israel. For peace, it is important that all bona fide refugees be treated equally, yet Jewish refugee rights have never adequately been addressed. The 30 November commemoration is first and foremost a call for truth and reconciliation.

The Jewish refugee issue is more than simply a question to be resolved at the negotiating table. It is a symptom of the Arab and Muslim world's deep psychosis - an inability to tolerate the non-Arab, non-Muslim Other.

Today, both Muslim sects and non-Muslim minorities are being persecuted in the Middle East, but people are apt to forget that the Jews were one of the first. As the saying goes, 'First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.' And it does not stop there. A state that devours its minorities ends up devouring itself.
This Arab/Muslim psychosis is the product of fundamentalist ideologies, many of them Nazi-inspired, which took root in the first half of 20th century. These ideological forces left a legacy of state-sanctionedbigotry and religiously-motivated terrorism. That legacy is with us today, in the atrocities in Paris, in Mali and in the stabbings on Israel's streets.
. . . .
The Israeli government is telling the Jewish refugee story at the UN on 1 December. From Amsterdam to Sydney, Toronto to Geneva, Liverpool to New York, San Francisco to London, Jewish organisations worldwide - my own (Harif) included - are organising lectures, film screening and discussions.

Read article in full 
Same article in The Algemeiner 
It's time to remember the other refugees on 30 November (Jewish Weekly)

here is Ashley Perry:
Making 2016 the Year of the Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries
. . . . . .
One of the issues I was able and proud to raise during my time in Government was the issue of the ethnic cleansing of almost a million Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, many of these communities massively predating Islam and the Arab conquest of the region in the Seventh Century, and the appropriation of their assetsestimated in today’s prices to be many billions of dollars.
. . . . . . . .
Growing up in a thriving Jewish community, attending a Jewish school and being involved in the Jewish community and Zionist organizations, I am amazed now, thinking back, how little was taught about the long and illustrious history of the Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa and their subsequent expulsion.
How many are taught about the Jewish communities of Algeria, Egypt, Syria and Yemen, to name but a few of many nations now completely without a Jewish presence?
We often raised this issue on the international stage and at the Foreign Ministry under the leadership of then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, and even initiated a now annual event at the United Nations solely devoted to the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries with our partners in the World Jewish Congress and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
However, the more we pressed the issue, which by international and Israeli law must be part of any resolution to our conflict, the more I understood that Jews in Israel and abroad are not even aware of it.

. . . . now more than ever, it is vitally important that the issue of the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa is studied and discussed in Jewish schools and educational and communal institutions across the Diaspora.
. . . . . .
In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that 2014 [be] a year of solidarity with the Palestinian people and called on people around the world to recognize their “inalienable rights”. Perhaps 2016 should become the Jewish year of solidarity with the Jewish refugees from Arab countries and there should be greater recognition, understanding and education of the inalienable rights of these people to rights and redress.

 We should not allow the suffocation and extinction of these historic communities to be erased from the pages of history. We should share their stories, and keep their memory alive, especially their destruction which was largely ignored around the world.

Let’s make 2016 the year where this changes.
[See full article here]
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Report on the upcoming commemoration on the News1 web site [in Hebrew]:
נתניהו: להרחיב לימודי יהודי המזרח
תישקל הצעת השרה גמליאל לתת פרס 
 ראש הממשלה לחוקרים ובאקדמיה על 
מחקרים בתחום מורשת היהודים יוצאי 

ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו הורה להרחיב את לימודי מורשת היהודים יוצאי ערב ואירן במערכת החינוך וכן לשקול את הצעת השרה לשוויון חברתי גילה גמליאל לקיומו של פרס שיינתן מטעמו של ראש הממשלה לחוקרים ובאקדמיה על מחקרים בתחום מורשת היהודים יוצאי ארצות ערב ואירן. 

השרה גמליאל סקרה לפני הממשלה את נושא היציאה והגירוש של יהודים מארצות ערב ומאירן וזאת לרגל ציון יום מיוחד לנושא זה שיחול ב-30.11.15. 

במסגרת סקירתה, מסרה גמליאל נתונים על מספר היהודים שעזבו את ארצות מוצאם והבהירה כי כשני שלישים מהם הגיעו למדינת ישראל והשתקעו בה. 

היא הציגה גם את החלטות האו"ם בעניין פליטים והחלטות הכנסת באמצעות חקיקה לגבי השמירה על זכויות היהודים לפיצוי על רכושם. כן ציינה השרה את הפעולות הנעשות בארץ ובעולם לציון מורשתם של היהודים יוצאי ארצות ערב ואירן לרבות פעולות שצריך להמשיך ולנקוט בהן בעיקר במערכת החינוך ובאקדמיה.

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More Articles on This Subject
Jewish refugees from the Farhud in Baghdad [here]
A commemoration in Australia [here]
Dr Edy Cohen on Ynet news [here]
Elderly Jewish refugees remember their experiences [here]
Report on the commemoration in Jerusalem [here]
Review by Elliott A Green of a book on this subject compiled by Malka Hillel Shulevitz [here]
Excerpt from the aforementioned book, by Bat Yeor [here]
"Forgotten Oppression of Jews under Islam" by Elliott A Green [here]
Report on the commemoration event at the UN in New York [here]

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