Bernard Lewis: no compromise likely on refugees

The incomparably lucid Bernard Lewis, grand old man of Islamic scholarship, cuts through all the punditry surrounding the Annapolis summit with this priceless piece in The Wall St Journal: (with thanks: Lily)

“If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime.

“If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist.

“PLO and other Palestinian spokesmen have, from time to time, given formal indications of recognition of Israel in their diplomatic discourse in foreign languages. But that’s not the message delivered at home in Arabic, in everything from primary school textbooks to political speeches and religious sermons. Here the terms used in Arabic denote, not the end of hostilities, but an armistice or truce, until such time that the war against Israel can be resumed with better prospects for success. Without genuine acceptance of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State, as the more than 20 members of the Arab League exist as Arab States, or the much larger number of members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference exist as Islamic states, peace cannot be negotiated.

A good example of how this problem affects negotiation is the much-discussed refugee question. During the fighting in 1947-1948, about three-fourths of a million Arabs fled or were driven (both are true in different places) from Israel and found refuge in the neighboring Arab countries. In the same period and after, a slightly greater number of Jews fled or were driven from Arab countries, first from the Arab-controlled part of mandatory Palestine (where not a single Jew was permitted to remain), then from the Arab countries where they and their ancestors had lived for centuries, or in some places for millennia. Most Jewish refugees found their way to Israel. (My emphasis – ed)

“What happened was thus, in effect, an exchange of populations not unlike that which took place in the Indian subcontinent in the previous year, when British India was split into India and Pakistan. Millions of refugees fled or were driven both ways — Hindus and others from Pakistan to India, Muslims from India to Pakistan. Another example was Eastern Europe at the end of World War II, when the Soviets annexed a large piece of eastern Poland and compensated the Poles with a slice of eastern Germany. This too led to a massive refugee movement — Poles fled or were driven from the Soviet Union into Poland, Germans fled or were driven from Poland into Germany.

“The Poles and the Germans, the Hindus and the Muslims, the Jewish refugees from Arab lands, all were resettled in their new homes and accorded the normal rights of citizenship. More remarkably, this was done without international aid. The one exception was the Palestinian Arabs in neighboring Arab countries.

“The government of Jordan granted Palestinian Arabs a form of citizenship, but kept them in refugee camps. In the other Arab countries, they were and remained stateless aliens without rights or opportunities, maintained by U.N. funding. Paradoxically, if a Palestinian fled to Britain or America, he was eligible for naturalization after five years, and his locally-born children were citizens by birth. If he went to Syria, Lebanon or Iraq, he and his descendants remained stateless, now entering the fourth or fifth generation.

“The reason for this has been stated by various Arab spokesmen. It is the need to preserve the Palestinians as a separate entity until the time when they will return and reclaim the whole of Palestine; that is to say, all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel. The demand for the “return” of the refugees, in other words, means the destruction of Israel. This is highly unlikely to be approved by any Israeli government.

“There are signs of change in some Arab circles, of a willingness to accept Israel and even to see the possibility of a positive Israeli contribution to the public life of the region. But such opinions are only furtively expressed. Sometimes, those who dare to express them are jailed or worse. These opinions have as yet little or no impact on the leadership.

“Which brings us back to the Annapolis summit. If the issue is not the size of Israel, but its existence, negotiations are foredoomed. And in light of the past record, it is clear that is and will remain the issue, until the Arab leadership either achieves or renounces its purpose — to destroy Israel. Both seem equally unlikely for the time being. ”

Read article in full

Article in French


  • Christian
    You make an important point about the gradual disintegration of the American Jewish diaspora. This will have catastrophic consequences on Jewish institutions which support Israel. Already Jews do not vote for leaders who will be 'good for the Jews'.

  • Steve Feldman says, "Repatriating the refugees would only enhance the extent to which Israel is a multiethnic society…"

    No, it would be political suicide. Arabs would soon outnumber Jews, and Jews have historically not fared well as minorities under Arab rule…

    Steve Feldman says, "Jews displaced by other countries…. if they want to return to their previous homes, they have my support…"

    How naive… They don't want to go back because in many instances, they'd be harassed and/or killed. The fair thing would be to compensate them for their losses, as well as compensating Palestinians for theirs. The problem with that is:
    A) No Arab nation would ever consider compensating the Jews.
    B) Palestinians don't want copensations, they want the land… ALL of it.

    Or are you so disingenuous not to realize that when Palestinians talk about "ending the occupation," they're not referring to West Bank/Gaza, but ALL of Palestine? To them ALL of Palestine is "occupied." "Ending the occupation" is a euphemism for the destruction of the State of Israel. …You never did answer the question whether you deny Israel's right to exist…

    For centuries, Jews in the Diaspora yearned for the restoration of their homeland. They could only dream of this moment in time. Yet now, with the millennial dream finally achieved through fire and blood, it's sad to see how some in the Diaspora (like Steve here) seem willing to throw it all away. What would their forefathers, or the countless members of the Yishuv, who sacrificed themselves for this cause, say?

    Perhaps this should not come as such a surprise, as with each passing generation, the relentless march toward assimilation and dilution of Jewish culture degrades the bond between American Jews and Judaism (and by extension, Israel). What will become of Jewry in a nation where half of all Jewish children are raised with a non-Jewish parent?

    Perhaps this, written by a Tel Aviv Jew calling himself "The Hashmonean" should be a warning:

    "I look to the Jews that stayed behind in Babylon for guidance, a thriving diaspora community when the move to return to Israel & rebuild the 2nd Temple was underway – Many stayed behind comfortable in their Jewish centered lives in Babylon itself. I look to them for some historical perspective, wisdom or guidance on how we might benefit from their experience in preserving Judaism… Unfortunately I CANT'T FIND ANY OF THE JEWS THAT STAYED BACK IN BABYLON, THEY VANISHED FROM THE SANDS OF TIME AND WERE TOTALLY ASSIMILATED."

  • I do not know why Steve Feldman claims he learned hatred and fear of Arabs as a child. I went to the same Hebrew School as Steve. We had assemblies every Friday when we would all sing songs together. Nearly all had themes of peace and personal dedication. "Nation shall not lift sword against nation, and neither shall they learn war anymore"
    In our graduation play, shortly after the Yom Kippur war, the theme was the hope and dream for peace even in times of war. I remember we sang the John Lennon song Imagine (we did change the part about no religion)
    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And all religions too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace…

    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

  • Steve,
    The Jews were displaced as a result of the same war(not in other countries – these countries were the beligerents) and in similar numbers as the Arabs.They don’t want to go back.It is not a non-issue, it is the main issue, becasue you have an asymmetric situation.You can’t force people to go back when they themselves don’t want to.

  • I have gotten over the misguided hatred/fear of Arabs and Muslims that I was taught as a child and as an American Jew believe that people should be treated as equals. It is clear from the comments that there is agreement that many (how many is hard to tell) Palestinians were violently displaced by the Hagganah– whole villages of men, women and children expelled. This fact is the cause of so much hatred of Israelis and of Jews, and it could be so easily rectified.

    As an American Jew, I am proud of the extent to which Israel is a multiethnic society with full rights for all her citizens (though clearly Arab citizens aren’t treated fully equally). Repatriating the refugees would only enhance the extent to which Israel is a multiethnic society with full rights for all her rightful citizens.

    As for those who complain that I don’t seem to care about the rights of Jews displaced by other countries, I assure you that I would argue that they should have the same rights: if they want to return to their previous homes, they have my support. I don’t hear them asking for that, however, so it seems to be a non-issue, a distraction from the critical fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian men, women and children were violently displaced from their homes and villages.

  • Let me write this in a way the Steve Feldmans of the world can understand.

    1. Was there a conspiracy in 1948 to systematically expel Arabs from Israel? NO
    2. Were some Arabs expelled from Israel? YES
    3. Were those Arabs forcibly removed a majority among those who fled in 1948? NO. Some no doubt were forcibly expelled, but most left because of the fear and panic generated by the war itself. Some left at the behest of their own leaders.
    4. Should the Arabs expelled in 1948 be allowed to return to their homes? Probably not. 60 years after the fact, how many remain alive? And 60 years in Palestinian refugee camps have hardened those left to the point they would never integrate into Israeli society. Perhaps some could conditionally return, but as a group I would venture to say no, they could even become a security risk to Israel.
    5. Should the Arabs expelled in 1948 receive compensation for their losses? In my opinion, absolutely yes! Property rights are fundamental in a law abiding society. They have a right to what they lost. BUT, so do Jewish refugees expelled in 1948 from various Arab countries. Arab refugee compensation should be tied to Jewish refugee compensation. This, of course, is something most Arab countries would never agree to. So why should Israel compensate Arab refugees when Arabs refuse to compensate Jewish refugees? It wouldn’t be so hard, really. You could establish a U.N.-supervised entity where all Arab and Jewish refugees could submit their claims, and, once verified as valid, be compensated with either Israeli or Arab funds.

    The plight of the Jewish refugees is always trivialized in the mainstream media, versus that of the Arabs. At the same time, one would agree that the resources available to the Arab nations -many of them oil producers-are vastly superior to those available to Israel. So objectively this trade-off would actually favor the Arabs: Pay for lesser Jewish refugee compensations out of greater resources vs. Israel using more of its resources to pay for ostensibly larger Arab compensations. Why won’t Arab nations agree to this? Because they continue to demand the right of return of the refugees. This insistence, and Israel’s refusal, circles right back to the crux of the matter: Israel’s very existence. The problem isn’t really who should get paid what for what they lost. The problem (in Arab eyes) is Israel’s existence. Of course Israel cannot accept en masse all those in refugee camps (many born there and having lived there all their lives), because Israel would then cease to exist as a Jewish state. And that’s precisely why the Arabs demand Israel accept all those in refugee camps. They have never accepted Israel’s legitimacy, and demanding repatriation instead of compensation is a thinly veiled attempt to do with people and demographics what they were never able to do with guns: the destruction of Israel.

  • Oh Mr. Feldman, there you go again!

    You say, “Those who say that the Arabs were responsible for the Palestinians fleeing are the ones who need to look at the history. Perhaps they weren’t taught about Hagannah Plan D and destruction of entire Palestinian villages.”

    Perhaps it is YOU who should look at the history, instead of the Palestinian propaganda machine. The reasons the Palestinians fled are many, some indeed were expelled, but many left at the behest of their own leaders or simply because there was war, and all wars create refugees.

    Arab leaders DID encourage Palestinians to flee. There are many quotes I could write, but I shall limit myself to four:
    1) “Since 1948 we have been demanding the return of the refugees to their homes. But we ourselves are the ones who encouraged them to leave. Only a few months separated our call to them to leave and our appeal to the United Nations to resolve on their return.” –Haled al Azm, Syrian prime minister 1948-49 in his memoirs.
    2) “This wholesale exodus was due partly to the belief of the Arabs, encouraged by the boastings of an unrealistic Arabic press and the irresponsible utterances of some of the Arab leaders that it could be only a matter of weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armies of the Arab States and the Palestinian Arabs enable to reenter and retake possession of their country.” Edward Atiyah, Secretary of the Arab League Office in London, in his book The Arabs.
    3) “Of the 62,000 Arabs who formerly lived in Haifa not more than 5,000 or 6,000 remained. Various factors influenced their decision to seek safety in flight. There is but little doubt that the most potent of the factors were the announcements made over the air by the Higher Arab Executive, urging the Arabs to quit…It was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades.” Reported in The Economist, October 2, 1948
    4) “The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from the Zionist tyranny but, instead, they abandoned them, forced them to emigrate and to leave their homeland, and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live.” Mahmud Abbas, at the time PLO spokesman, in Falastin a-Thaura, 1976

    You mention Plan D, or Plan Dalet and the destruction of Palestinian villages.
    Plan Dalet was an operational plan for securing defensible state borders against the expected Arab invasion on May 15, 1948. It did call, if necessary, for demolishing Palestinian villages, and some were. But this was not an end, but a means to an end: securing defensible borders in the face of Arab attacks. There was no central directive to systematically expel Palestinians and destroy their homes. Yes some Palestinians were forced out, their homes demolished. But how many French homes were destroyed by the advancing Allies in WWII in order to flush out the Germans?

    “The Palestinian academic Issa Khalaf rejects the notion of Plan Dalet as a master plan for forced expulsion. According to Khalaf, ‘Much of what happened in 1947-48 developed according to immediate circumstances. That is, it is doubtful the Zionists conceived that the Palestinians would either leave or be easily pushed out. It was during the various phases of the war, when military fortunes accelerated in Jewish favor, that the Zionist leadership increasingly did all it could to facilitate the removal of Arabs or to resort to psychological warfare, terrorism, and physical expulsion….[The Israelis] could not possibly have foreseen the ease with which they sliced through Palestine and the collapse of its people” (Khalaf, 1991:214, 247).
    – From the Australian Jewish Democratic Society
    As Benny Morris said, “The Palestinian refugee problem was born of war, not by design.”
    Fellow commenters in other websites have also said it so well they are worth quoting: “Here’s the real question. If this plan actually existed in any formal sense (and by the way, Ben Gurion actually battled with OTHER JEWS who DID in fact want the expulsion of all the Arabs in the state), how come well over 700,000 of the at most 1.2 Million Arabs in the area stayed in Israel? …How come only Dier Yassin and a couple others have been reported with any specificity, while the rest are folklore? Bad things happened, that’s for sure. And there were certainly Jews who espoused the expulsion of the Arabs from Israeli territory. But the majority of the talk you hear is just that….”
    “If Jews systematically drove Arabs off their land, how did it come to be that there are one million Israeli Arabs? How did it come to be that there were no Jews on the West Bank between 1948 and 1967? How many Jews lived in Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, and other Arab countries before 1948? How many Jews lived in those countries after 1948?

    Who invaded and brutally occupied Palestine in the 7th century?

    Who drove who off their land?

    Even today, Palestinians demand a Jew-free West Bank. Does Israel demand an Arab-free Israel?

    Do you dispute that the entire Jewish community of Hebron–a community that existed long before the rise of Zionism–was brutally driven out by rampaging Arabs in 1929? Even today, Palestinians insist a few hundred Jews who reestablished the longstanding Jewish community of Hebron–and who are no threat to the tens of thousands of Arabs in Hebron–be driven out.”

    Mr. Feldman, you say, “. It is a gross injustice to mistreat Palestinians to make up for what European Christians did to us Jews.”

    Are you saying that the creation of the state of Israel was simply the byproduct of Western guilt? That the United Nations gave its blessing to the creation of Israel to “make up” for the Holocaust? So, it has nothing to do with the fact that there has been an unbroken Jewish presence in Israel dating back millennia, that it is the Jewish ancestral homeland? It has nothing to do with the fact that there was a strong movement of Jews back to “Palestine” BEFORE WWII?

    Answer me a simple question: DO YOU DENY ISRAEL’S RIGHT TO EXIST? Would you deny Pakistan’s right to exist? After all, it was also “artificially” created by the United Nations. Do you deny Greece’s right to exist? It didn’t exist as a nation for nearly two millennia: from when the Romans captured it up until it became independent from the Ottomans (with much violence) in 1830. You advocate the rights of the displaced Palestinians. Would you advocate for the rights of the displaced Jewish refugees?

    You end, once again, with the same naïve comment as before: “Let Palestinians return to their homes so their [sic] can be an end to this conflict.” So I will end in the same way I did before: you fail to see the complexity of the issue, either you don’t know or don’t bother to show you know. Ultimately you “COMPLETELY MISS THE POINT, AND SOLVE NOTHING.”

  • Hi Steve
    We have read your views about Palestinians who have lost their land. What do you think should be done about (the much greater number of) Jewish refugees whose land and property were seized in Arab countries and who were resettled in Israel?
    Do they count?

  • Giving other Jews the land where Palestinians were living in no way compensates the Palestinian refugees. It simply doesn’t, so why bring it up?

    Those who say that the Arabs were responsible for the Palestinians fleeing are the ones who need to look at the history. Perhaps they weren’t taught about Hagannah Plan D and destruction of entire Palestinian villages.

    Muslim people have been far better to Jews than were Christians. It is a gross injustice to mistreat Palestinians to make up for what European Christians did to us Jews.

    Let Palestinians return to their homes so their can be an end to this conflict.

  • Christopher Hitchens likes to hoist the Steve Feldmans of the world by asking them why they don’t seem concerned about the vast population swop that resulted from the partitioning of India to create the predominantly Muslim state of Pakistan.

  • “feldman” is a gross ignoramus. The Arabs usurped the Jewish country, albeit in the Middle Ages. The Arabs/Muslims always oppressed the Jews in Israel and other lands under Arab rule. The Arabs confiscated lands from Jews at the time of the Arab conquest and throughout the time of their rule. When the British ruled the country in 1920, they encouraged Arabs to attack Jews and drive them out of their homes in Jerusalem. Similar events took place in 1921, 1929, 1936-38, and 1947-48. The first civilians driven out of their homes in the 1947-49 Israeli war of independence were Jews driven out of their homes in the Shim`on haTsadiq Quarter of Jerusalem and south Tel Aviv in December 1947.

    “feldman” ought to learn some real history before accepting Arab-British propaganda.

  • Mr. Feldman writes that “Actually what was brutal and inhumane was taking the land these Palestinians were living on by force to create a state for Jews.”

    May I remind him that within the territory demarcated by the United Nations for the establishment of Israel in 1949, Jews were a MAJORITY, just as Muslims were a majority within the territory demarcated by the United Nations for the establishment of Pakistan. The idea of partitioning British Palestine into a Jewish state and a Muslim one was adopted by the U.N. because it became apparent that the two populations would never coexist under one government. British India was partitioned into Muslim Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and Hindu India much for the same reason. Arab nations vociferously opposed partitioning British Palestine, yet showed no objection to the breakup of India. How’s that for hipocrisy!

    I would also remind Mr. Feldman that the Palestinian refugee crisis was created mostly because of the war brought upon Israel by invading Arab armies. When Israel declared independence, it did not go about expelling Arabs, it granted them citizenship (as many still are today). Arab nations, however, DID go about expelling Jews from their countries. After declaring independence, Israel did not attack its neighbors. However, Israel’s neighbors DID attack it. Armies from several Arab countries decended upon Israel. All wars create refugees as civilians flee the fighting. I’m sure some Palestinians, during the heat of war, were expelled, but many more simply left out of fear of war, or out of conviction that they would return once the great Arab armies defeated the Jews. Unfortunately for them, that never happened.

    I do feel sorry for those Palestinians who are living in the squalor of the refugee camps. But ask yourself this: who created the refugees? Who is perpetuating the refugees? Why are there refugee camps in Lebanon? In Syria? In Jordan? Why are their children, born on Arab soil, not considered citizens of an Arab nation? The leaders of these Arab nations say they want to see the refugees returned to their homes. But they’re not interested in each individual Palestinian’s claim, much like they’re not interested in each Palestinian’s welfare. The “home” they really mean is an All-Arab Palestine that reaches out to the Mediterranean, soomething to which Israel would obviously never agree to.

    Mr. Feldman, as usual in the mainstream, completely ignores the plight of the Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries. If Israel repatriates the Palestinian refugees, would the Arab nations do the same for the expelled Jews? Why is this subject never discussed when talking about the Middle East refugee crisis? The Jewish refugees no longer exist as a group, as they were absorbed in to Israeli society. They were not left to rot in refugee camps so they could be paraded in front of news cameras by hypocritical leaders to show how evil the Arabs had been in expeling them.

    Middle Eastern politics is as complicated as is its history. Making broad, naive statements like “let’s let Palestinians return to their homes so that there can be peace” however well intentioned, completely miss the point, and solve nothing.

  • No mention of Jewish refugees from Arab countries at an Annapolis – Olmert only saw fit to empathise with ‘Palestinian suffering’.

    An excellent analogy. The Palestinian Arabs are the only refugees who have never been absorbed by Arab states, even though the vast majority share a language,culture and religion with them.

  • Actually what was brutal and inhumane was taking the land these Palestinians were living on by force to create a state for Jews. Destroying entire villages. Mining the debris so people couldn’t return. Making hundreds of thousands of men, women and children refugees. Blaming the Arab countries for what the Zionists did is simply ridiculous.

    Let’s let Palestinians return to their homes so that there can be peace.

  • Excellent article. Here’s an essay I wrote touching on the subject of the refugees in a context that people here in America can identify with. The treatment of the refugees tells you a lot about those treating them.

    Putting the Palestinian refugee crisis in perspective

    Let’s make a historical parallel.
    In 1954 Castro and his revolutionaries overtook Cuba. Thousands of Cubans fled. Why did they flee? Some were probably expelled, but many fled out of fear of the new regime. Most came to America.

    What was the U.S. responsibility to these Cubans? Did they deserve to be a part in this nation? The U.S. did decide to take them in. But what if the story had been different? What if the U.S. had decided to keep these Cubans in confinement camps, much like the Japanese Americans in WWII? After all, they didn’t belong here, they belonged in Cuba. They were Castro’s problem. What if the U.S. were to then hand over these confinement camps the U.N.? I mean, why should the U.S. foot the bill for housing, feeding, and clothing these individuals who were Cuba’s -not America’s- problem? What if they were to limit the Cubans’ mobility, not allow them to move out of the confinement camps and into U.S. society, not allow them to practice most lucrative employments outside the camps, not give them or their children born on American soil citizenship? (What would the ACLU or Amnesty International have to say about this?) What if this were to go on for nearly sixty years, and the number of people living in the misery of these camps rose to 3 million? Why should the U.S. care, it’s Cuba’s problem. What if during all these years of living in squalor, America inculcated into these Cubans that the problem is not America, it’s Cuba and the revolutionaries that live there, to the point that the Cubans in the camps truly believe this? What if the Cuban refugees learn to hate Castro and all his revolutionaries to the point they just want to kill them? What if America were then to turn around and tell Cuba that the only way this problem could be resolved is that Castro and his revolutionaries accept the return of these 3 million people to live among them in Cuba? Would any nation in the world accept these terms for peace? To top it off, let’s also assume that when Castro took power, America expelled 800,000 Communists, with little more than the shirt on their backs, shipped them to Cuba with no intention of ever paying reparations for all the lands and valuables these individuals left in America. Would that be fair? Would that be humane?

    This is not what happened in the U.S. Despite the installation of a hostile government 90 miles from its shores, America never expelled its citizens on the basis of belief, simply as revenge. And America did in fact take in the displaced Cuban refugees. It allowed them to participate in society, eventually granting them and their children citizenship. It allowed them to become productive, dignified individuals in this new, welcoming land, despite the fact that they did not share the same culture, religion, or language as the Americans.

    But this is what happened in the Middle East. After the creation of the State of Israel, and the ensuing war brought upon by Arab armies, about 600,000 Arabs fled Israel. Some were expelled, but most fled, fearing becoming a minority under a Jewish government, or simply escaping the war. How were they welcomed in other Arab nations? Only Jordan granted them citizenship. They were mostly restricted to living and working in and around the refugee camps established for them, and run by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which was mostly not funded by Arab nations, but by the U.S. This has gone on for nearly 60 years, the number of refugees blossoming to 3 million, with no end in sight. Why?

    “The Arab States do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.” -Ralph Garroway, former UNWRA director, 1958.

    At the same time as a Palestinian refugee crisis was created, so was a Jewish refugee crisis. During the 1950s an estimated 800,000 Jews who had been living in various Arab nations, from Morocco to Iraq -some in communities that had existed for centuries- were forcibly expelled. Most went to Israel, where they struggled to be absorbed into society. No mention is ever made of their repatriation or payment reparation.

    So why did America accept all those Cubans, and why didn’t it expel the Communists among us? Because that would have been brutal, inhumane, and immoral. It would have meant mean placing political motives above the well-being of millions of innocent refugees year after year, decade after decade. And that’s just not the kind of nation we are.

    Those who truly lament the plight of the Palestinian refugees should question not how it began, but rather why it has become perpetuated. They should question why the suffering of other refugees has ceased, while theirs is prolonged by the very people who claim to protect them, who claim to be their “brothers.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


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.