Why an Egyptian Jew should tell his story now

It took Israel Bonan more than 37 years before he was able to talk about his experience as a Jewish refugee from Egypt openly even with his own children, so why now? Because historical facts are being rewritten, as usual, by the Arab states. They keep repeating that 850,000 Jews just upped and left their countries of birth – old people, young, healthy as well as sick- all just upped and left.

Israel Bonan writes: Over the years the Middle East narrative took a shape of its own, mostly and unfortunately with a one-sided slant. The world only heard about the travail of the Palestinian refugees, their woes, their troubles, their claims and their aspirations. The world also witnessed the Palestinian refugees as a disenfranchised people, scattered in camps, sheltered in tents and only as wards of the United Nation for over 40 years.

With such a perspective, the world could not but empathize with the disenfranchised, it is natural and it is expected, lest the world at large and its inhabitants (the human race) are judged as a whole, as callous and uncaring.

While this story was being told, its counterpart was not. The untold story is that of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, who suffered in silence; but whose dignity was preserved expressly by their fellow Jews in their respective communities worldwide, and who extended their helping hands and absorbed them in their midst, be it in Israel (to the extent of 52% of the total population), Europe, US, Canada, South America or Australia, among other nations.

But make no mistake, they were refugees in their own right; they were physically dislocated, the accumulated wealth in their countries of birth, for most of them expropriated, and their emotional well being adversely tested by having to leave their familiar surroundings and their age old environment they were brought up in.

In recent years several organizations were formed to address the issue of redress for the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and to bring the proper leverage in order to assert the more than 850,000 refugees right of acknowledgement and redress and to ultimately balance the historical narrative of the Middle East so it ceases to be as one-sided as it currently is.

The latest such organization is called Justice for Jews from Arab countries (JJAC), and it is endorsed worldwide by several major Jewish organizations for its charter that is basically focused around that very same goal, the acknowledgement of their plight and redress for the rights that is long overdue the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries.

Read article in full(comments welcome)

3 Comments

  • Discrimination and violence against Moroccan Jews has been amply documented on this blog, although it is true that Nazism did not have a direct impact on Jews in Morocco.
    The true figure for the numbers of Iranian Jews today is 20,000, not 200,000, down drastically from 100,000 in 1979.

    Naiem Giladi is a bitter man with a huge inferiority complex. Naqqash was a communist with an axe to grind against the Israeli establishment.
    See ‘seven myths about Jews from Arab lands’ in the right-hand column.

    Reply
  • Andre Azoulay , a Moroccan Jew , Advisor to the King of morocco Mohamed 6 , says this

    In Morocco we have seen no deportations, no Nazism, no concentration camps and no inquisition whatsoever. Rather, we have seen Jews and Muslims living together and respecting each other.

    same with Maurice motamed an Jewish member of the iranian Parliament .
    there are 200.000 Jews who refuse to leave Iran , even when they get offered lots of money from jewish groups .

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,,2125155,00.html

    Reply
  • Naiem Giladi , an iraqi Jew , was a zionist and helped zionism recruit iraqi jews . but later on changed because he could no longer bear how the Hagannah and jews were killing jews . he says Mordechai Ben porat was behind many Cafe bombings in Baghdad to force people to move to israel . he said if they were too comfortable and stayed who was going to work in the kibbutz and fields . Arab jews were needed as cheap labour. Samir Naqqash another Iraqi jew said he was personally Handcuffed before taken by the Jewish agency to iraq .Naiem Giladi wrote an interesting book : Ben Gurion scandals and how the Hagannah eliminated the jews . (google it )

    Reply

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This website is dedicated to preserving the memory of the near-extinct Jewish communities, of the Middle East and North Africa, documenting the stories of the Jewish refugees and their current struggle for recognition and restitution.

Point of No Return

Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Countries

One-stop blog on the Middle East's
forgotten Jewish refugees - updated daily.