No cats in America for Hanan Ashrawi

Hanan Ashrawi (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“There is no such thing as Jewish refugees from Arab countries”. You heard it from no less than Hanan Ashrawi, PLO executive member and spokesperson. Lyn Julius responds in The Times of Israel:

Now we know: there is no such thing as Jewish refugees from Arab countries. You heard it from no less than Hanan Ashrawi, PLO executive member and spokesperson.

Here is what Ashrawi wrote in an article printed in a number of Arab media outlets:

The claim that Jews who emigrated to Israel, which is supposed to be their homeland, are “refugees” who were uprooted from their homelands is a form of deception and delusion.

Denial is a river in Egypt, but it’s also, sadly, the default position of many Arabs and Muslims when it comes to facts they would rather not acknowledge. The Holocaust? It didn’t happen. Israel? It doesn’t exist — not on Arab maps, anyway. Jewish refugees from Arab countries? They left willingly. Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism? A fabrication. (Arabs and Jews have always lived in harmony, haven’t they?) There are no cats in America“, sang the delusional mice migrants.

What is new about Hanan Ashrawi’s assertion is that she is probably the most senior Palestinian official to have made it in over 60 years.

Her motivation? Alarm, even desperation. The Palestinian monopoly on victimhood is being challenged. Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, is stepping up his campaign to raise awareness of the Jewish refugee issue. He will be holding a conference this coming weekend in Israel ; he will be taking the issue to New York for the next UN General Assembly meeting on September 21.

Dear reader, I won’t waste your time trying to prove to you that Ashrawi’s assertion is a bold-faced lie. Legal experts will point to the fact that the UN Agency for refugees (UNHCR) recognized Jews fleeing Arab countries on two occasions as bona fide refugees. A cursory look at the blog Point of No Return will provide plenty of evidence that Jews interned, persecuted, intimidated, expelled with nothing but the shirts on their backs, and housed in makeshift camps, were indeed refugees. A glance at Ayalon’s new Facebook page “I am a Refugee“ will show you documents forbidding Jews from returning to their countries of birth, shipfuls of refugees from Libya and video testimonies from Jews thrown out of Egypt and Iraq.

The irony, however, is that the Palestinians have themselvesbeen outspoken in denouncing the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries.

In January 1951, Arif al-’Arif, the Palestinian leader who served as Jordan’s district commissioner for Jerusalem, sent the Arab League a telegram after he failed in his efforts to persuade then-Iraqi prime minister Nuri al Said to stop the exodus of Jews from Iraq:

Were every area of Arab land where Jews reside to retain the Jews and their property as a pledge, two problems would easily be solved, that of Palestine generally and that of the refugees in particular.

That’s why the Palestinian National Covenant recommends that Jews be invited back to their countries of birth. Nabil Hga’th, Yasser Arafat’s adviser, called upon the Arab states to legislate a “law of return” for Jews of Arab origin. For all her denying that Jews were refugees, Ashrawi actually restates this demand for a reciprocal ‘right of return’:

We expect the Arab countries to welcome the return of their Jewish citizens in the context of democratic regimes that respect pluralism… From a legal perspective, the first right — before compensation — is the right of return of the refugee to his/her original homeland.

But some Palestinians have even come to see Israel as “the necessary price to be paid for the Arab expulsions.” Isam as-Sirtawi, a one-time terrorist, told HaOlam Hazeh editor Uri Avnery that he gave up terrorism in favor of negotiation with Israel when he realised that Israel was giving refuge to Jews expelled from Arab countries.

In 1975, Sabri Jiryis, director of the Institute of Palestine Studies in Beirut, said that the Arab states were partially responsible for establishing Israel, for they expelled the Jews “in a most ugly fashion, and after confiscating their possessions or taking control thereof at the lowest price.”

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  • In my earlier entry in the first sentence I meant to say that …" some powerful Jewish poeple are NOW speaking the truth" instead of "Not speaking the truth " …. Sorry for the typo .. it certainly change the meaning…

  • The Arab/Muslim ideological temple of lies and denials concerning the lives of Jews in arab lands and their traumatic exit is now being shaken to its foundations because some powerful Jewish people are not speaking the truth about what really happened. And they are carring it out with vigor and relentless push which by the way should have been done much earlier than now… but we cannot do anything about it now… Back then those voices were muffled and marginalized for an elusive peace that will never comes… Now it could be the last card that can be used…. What has taken so long? Is it finally a response to the "Law of Return" and its demands by the palestinians, which according to many analysts is the only stumbling bloc to an everlasting peace..

    I care not…….for an everlasting peace there should be at least a recognition of some basic historical facts… The highly educated in English literature Madame Nawal Ashrawi is again cornered and despite her Christian upbringing and highly moderate political stand toward the state of Israel, she is not changing her beliefs…. As for her muslim colleagues of the PA God only knows what do they think.


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