Following the release of the Trump Peace Plan, the British Government minister for the Middle East, the Rt Hon Andrew Murrison MP, has underlined the importance of recognising the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab lands.
Speaking in the House of Commons at Westminster on 30 January 2019, the minister was responding to a question from Robert Halfon MP, whose family had been expelled from Libya.
He said that Jews were also refugees, as explained in the book UPROOTED which he described as explaining the issue ‘exceptionally well’.
Instead of gathering them at the ceremony at Yad Vashem to mark 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Israel should have invited the world’s leaders to learn about the Arab and Muslim antisemitism which destroyed 11 Jewish communities in the Arab and Muslim world – a vindication of Israel’s existence as a sovereign state. But such a centre of learning, or museum, does not yet exist. Instead, a visit to Ramallah by European leaders absolves them of guilt for the Shoah and towards the Palestinians (whose links with the Nazis are suppressed). Insightful piece in Israel Hayom by Professor Shmuel Trigano:
Professor emeritus Shmuel Trigano
It is a strategic mistake to view the anti-Semitism of our time as an extension of the anti-Semitism of 30 years ago. To be sure, it still exists among the classical far-right; but is blossoming primarily in the form of anti-Zionism within Muslim and far-left post-colonialist circles. The deeper problem is turning the “lessons of the Holocaust” into the moral basis for fighting anti-Semitism.
As an explanation, it favors victimhood over the political: Jewish suffering is put on display as a call to end hatred, instead of presenting Israel’s status as a sovereign country as a counterweight to the new anti-Zionistic anti-Semitism. When the justification for Israel’s existence is predicated on the memory of victimhood, Europe can view the state as a type of humanitarian tent for Jews, and less as a sovereign country. Consequently, Israel is not permitted, in the eyes of Europe, to realize its legitimate right to self-defense. The moment the Israeli soldier ceases being the emaciated extermination camp survivor, he morphs into a monster in the eyes of the Europeans.
European recognition of Israel is based, therefore, on feelings of guilt toward the Jews – implying that the same guilt applies to the Palestinians. Europe turns a blind eye to Arab-Muslim anti-Semitism – which is the main source of modern anti-Semitism – in the belief that the Arab world is not responsible for the Holocaust, and that Europe oppressed the Palestinians by contributing to the establishment of the Jewish state.
Isn’t it only natural, therefore, that some of the participants of the Yad Vashem will visit Ramallah immediately after it ends? The reliance on the Holocaust in this regard means strengthening even further the myths that breed the new anti-Semitism -“>Nakba, occupation, original sin.
Israel is paying the price here for a fundamental strategic failure on the symbolic level, a failure stemming from the concealment and denial of the annihilation of 11 thriving Jewish communities across the Muslim world, two-thirds of whose descendants became Israelis who now constitute a clear majority of Israelis.
The Arab world’s war on Israel is a war on those who were expelled, suffered from violence at its hands and were exploited by Arab countries under the flag of Arab nationalism and Islamism.
This is the arena to which Rivlin should have invited the leaders of Europe. But where could such have an event taken place? Does a museum such as Yad Vashem exist, which commemorates this memory and anchors the State of Israel in the history and geography of the Middle East? Israel cannot respond to the existential accusations against it through constant self-justification and brandishing its victimhood for all to see.
There’s no need for Europe. Israelis must turn inwards and find in themselves the self-conviction and self-assuredness of sovereignty; which is political and historical sovereignty. It must distance itself from victimhood to fight its enemies.
Dr Ahmad Abadi, head of the Mohammedian Scholars in Morocco, was part of the Arab delegation making a groundbreaking visit to Auschwitz on 23 January. Here is an extract from his interview with Al-Arabiya, according to MEMRI. Morocco has been staunch in its recognition of the Holocaust. King Mohamed Vl’s condemnations of the Holocaust and antisemitism are emblazoned at the entrance to the new Jewish museum at Essaouira, Beit Dakira.
Dr. Ahmad Abadi:”What one can see in Auschwitz and its surroundings is the extent of barbarity that underlined these genocidal crimes against humanity. One can only stand amazed at how the virus of hatred penetrated a scholarly nation like the German people of that time.
Many of the German elites were involved in this [Nazi] rhetoric and they accepted – and some of them were even involved – in those crimes. Therefore, no one in the extended human family is immune to this virus.
“We should learn this lesson, because we are an extended family, so that we do not repeat such a tragedy anywhere on our planet.
“This visit is a groundbreaking initiative that may refute the widespread belief that Muslims can accept crimes against humanity. There is not even the smallest indication of this in our true religion, which forbids harm, especially since the people who were attacked had done nothing to justify it.”
The Trump Peace Plan, released on 28 January, recognises for the first time ‘a Jewish and a Palestinian refugee problem’. One may criticise it for equating the two refugee populations and minimising Jewish suffering, but one should applaud the fact that the plan contains an explicit reference to Jewish refugees from Arab lands and demands a just solution for them.
The plan demands that a ‘just solution for these Jewish refugees should be implemented through an appropriate international mechanism separate for the Israel/ Palestine Peace Agreement’. Quite what this mechanism would consist of is not specified – it could be the International Fund, as advocated by President Clinton. A separate agreement might well be a disincentive to resolve the Jewish refugee problem altogether, and conflicts with the Knesset law, passed in 2010, insisting that a peace agreement cannot be signed without compensation for Jewish refugees, as well as US Congress resolutions.
An interesting innovation is that the State of Israel deserves compensation for the cost of absorbing these Jewish refugees.
Here are relevant extracts: (with thanks Stan):
“A similar number of Jewish refugees were expelled from Arab lands shortly after the creation of Israel and have also suffered. A just solution for these Jewish refugees should be implemented through an appropriate international mechanism separate from the Israel/Palestine Agreement.
“The Jewish refugees who were forced to flee Arab and Muslim countries also suffered. Most settled in the State of Israel and some settled elsewhere. The Jewish refugee issue, including compensation for lost assets must also be addressed. Additionally the State of Israel deserves compensation for the cost of absorbing Jewish refugees from those countries. A just, fair and realistic solution for the issue relating to Jewish refugees must be implemented through an appropriate international mechanism separate from an Israel/Palestine Peace agreement.״
Reports that Israelis would be able to visit Saudi Arabia have proved premature, perhaps because the immiment announcement of President Trump’s peace plan demands that the Saudis demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinians. The Algemeiner has the story:
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Israelis were not welcome to visit the kingdom after Israel decreed that Israeli citizens could visit Saudi Arabia under certain circumstances, CNN reported on Monday.
Saudi Foreign minister Prince Faisal ibn Farhan
“Our policy is fixed. We do not have relations with the State of Israel.Israeli passport holders cannot visit the kingdom at the current time,” the US broadcaster quoted Prince Faisal bin Farhan as saying.
Israel‘s interior minister had said on Sunday; Israelis — if invited and permitted by Saudi authorities — would be allowed to travel there for religious reasons on pilgrimage or for up to nine days for business reasons such as investment or meetings.
Israelis, mostly Muslims going on pilgrimage, have for years been visiting the kingdom, which hosts the two holiest sites in Islam, but usually with special permission or using foreign passports.
“When a peace agreement is reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis, I believe the issue of Israel‘s involvement in the region will be on the table,” Prince Faisal said.
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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