Harif writes to Westminster MPs about the ‘other’ refugees

To mark World Jewish Refugee Day, Harif, the UK Association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, has written to all Members of the UK Parliament at Westminster to remind them of the existence of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

The catalyst for the campaign has been ‘The Great March of Return’ in Gaza. This demonstrates that the objective of the Hamas regime is not ‘two states for two peoples’, but ‘a right of return’ for Palestinian ‘refugees’, with the aim of overwhelming the state of Israel by demographic means.

The need to raise awareness of the Jewish refugees issue has become all the more acute since the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, reaffirmed his support for the ‘rights of Palestinian refugees’.

 Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn: supports Palestinian refugee rights

‘To acknowledge Palestinian refugee rights without also recognising Jewish
rights would be a distortion of the truth and a grave injustice. No credible peace settlement could be reached,’ says the letter.
MPs who wish to find out more are advised to consult the Harif and Point of No Return websites, or to invite Harif in to give them a personal briefing.

Here is the text of the Harif letter to MPs:

 The Other Middle Eastern Refugees

You may be aware that the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, recently re-iterated his support for the rights of dispossessed Palestinian refugees.

While Palestinian suffering needs to be acknowledged, there is no
question that in 1947-48 (and in some cases much earlier), Arab
countries, with the encouragement of the Palestinian leadership,
deliberately targeted their Jewish populations, stripping them of
citizenship and forcibly depriving them of their property. Some 850,000
Jewish refugees also arose out of the 1948 conflict between Israel and
the Arab states. In one of the worst examples of ethnic cleansing in the
20th century, violence, expropriations and expulsions ensured that
ancient and long-standing Jewish communities, which in many cases had
predated Islam by a  thousand  years, ceased to exist.

The
majority of these Jews sought refuge in Israel where, after great
hardships integrating in large numbers into a state that was struggling
with many other economic, social and military challenges, they were
fully absorbed. Unlike Palestinian refugees, no Jew still calls him or
herself a refugee.

 

At
the time this injustice was recognised by international actors: the UN
High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) recognised on a number of occasions
that the plight of the Jewish refugees fell within its remit. This is
also why UNSC Resolution 242 refers to “a just settlement of the refugee
problem” without specifying the “Arab” or “Palestinian” refugee
problem.

It
must be recognised that an exchange of roughly equal numbers of refugee
populations took place between Jews and Palestinians. Today, the Jews
from Arab and Muslim countries form over 50 percent of the Jews of
Israel.

To
acknowledge Palestinian refugee rights without also recognising Jewish
rights would be a distortion of the truth and a grave injustice. No
credible peace settlement could be reached, quite aside from the impact
of a mass “right of return” on Israel’s character as a Jewish state, and
the way in which this would undermine the principle of “two states for
two peoples”.

 

StandWithUS video for World Refugee Day

One Comment

  • I congratulate Harif. Umbrella organization of French Jewish organizations CRIF didn't write to Parliamentarians. I regret that your chart doesn't mention Turkey and Jews who were expelled from the Jewish quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem. I think it could be relevant to add the Jews who were expelled from Judea, Samaria, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights (40,000?).

    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.

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Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Countries

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