Refugee arriving at the Sha’are Aliya camp near Haifa (photo: Robert Capa)
In the wake of the publication of the Canadian parliamentary foreign affairs committee report recommending recognition for Jewish refugees, Shimon Fogel in the Times of Israel writes that the flight of Jews from Arab countries is proof of the history of opposition to the Jewish state’s existence. I would go further, and say it is proof of the opposition to Jews per se (with thanks: Michelle).
“The international community cannot understand
the elusiveness of peace today without taking into account the
consistent history of opposition to the Jewish state’s very existence,
of which the precipitous flight of Jews from Arab lands is primary
And Palestinians who harbour national
aspirations for independence will never achieve their goal without
addressing the Palestinian rejectionism that has forestalled statehood
since the 1947 partition vote. This can be fully achieved through a
peace agreement that includes mutual recognition not only of the
legitimacy of the other today, but also an acknowledgement of the suffering of the other in the past.
Last week, a Report
was tabled in Canada’s Parliament summarizing a recent study by the
House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on the experience of Jewish
refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. The Report concludes by
calling on the Government of Canada to formally recognize Jewish
refugees from Arab countries and to encourage Israeli and Arab
negotiators to take all refugees into account in any future peace
As Jewish Canadian activists, parliamentary
validation is another key milestone in an effort long-in-the-making, and
one that has been an important priority on the advocacy agenda of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). Our hope is that it will lead to an imminent change to Canada’s standing policy on Middle East peace in line with the committee’s recommendation.
Members of the Foreign Affairs committee from
across the political spectrum deserve our applause for examining this
issue thoroughly and forthrightly, a responsibility too few governments
around the world have been willing to undertake. CIJA joins with the
international coalition, led by JJAC – Justice for Jews from Arab Countries – to urge other governments to correct the historical record and validate the experience of Jews from Arab countries.
Canadian government take the next logical step and heed the committee’s
advice, Canada’s influence as a credible voice on the world stage can
help establish balance in the conversation around Middle East refugees –
and encourage the historic reckoning that will be essential to a