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Monday, November 05, 2007

UN collusive in expulsion of Jews from Arab countries

At a press conference in New York City today, former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, David Matas, a Winnipeg refugee lawyer, and Stan Urman, executive director of New York-based Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, will announce that the Arab states acted together in expelling their Jewish citizens in the aftermath of the establishment of the State of Israel and that the United Nations "has played a singular role in expunging the whole question of Jewish refugees from Arab countries on the Middle East agenda for the last 60 years."

Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs
While it is known up to 850,000 Jews left Arab countries after the post-war division of the Palestine mandate, the group is holding a news conference to highlight a rediscovered Arab League "draft law" that suggests a pan-Arab conspiracy was at play.

The new assessment comes just ahead of a major Israeli-Palestinian peace conference in Annapolis, Md., where the rights of millions of descendants of up to 600,000 Palestinian refugees of the Arab-Israeli conflict will be discussed -- but not the rights of Jews squeezed from Arab countries.

Without the inter-Arab draft, the measures individual Arab states took against their Jewish citizens may not have been so widespread, the researchers will say. Only 8,000 Jews remain in 10 Arab countries today that once hosted many more.

"We will show that the various state sanctions in Arab countries did not occur haphazardly, but were the result of an international collusion organized by the League of Arab States at the time to set in place a blueprint for the denationalization of their Jewish nationals, the sequestrations of their property and the declaration of Jews as enemies of the state," Mr. Cotler said.

He said he and his research colleagues will also present evidence showing the United Nations failed to investigate the matter, in part because an Arab League representative ran the agenda at one of its key debating chambers.

"It is now clear the United Nations has played a singular role in expunging the whole question of Jewish refugees from Arab countries on the Middle East agenda for the last 60 years," Mr. Cotler said.


"The existence of the Arab League draft law makes the story of what happened all the more heinous because it represented the acting out of a master plan," Mr. Matas said.

"It enhances the case for redress, which should at least include recognition of the Jewish refugees, given the peace process speaks of redress for the Palestinian refugees."


The draft law calls for registering all Jewish citizens of Arab countries, and freezing their bank accounts to use the money to help fund "resistance to Zionist ambitions in Palestine." This would happen even to those Jews prepared to join an Arab army. A Jew considered an "active Zionist" would be interned as a political prisoner. Such Jews would see their money confiscated.

Brackets written into the draft law suggest it was intended as a template: "Beginning with (date), all Jewish citizens of (name of country) will be considered as members of the Jewish minority State of Palestine," it begins.

The researchers located the document in UN and World Jewish Congress archives after spotting a May 16, 1948, New York Times reference to it. In the Times article, Congress officials cited the document as evidence Jews faced grave danger in Arab lands -- something the researchers say turned out to be prophetic.
I don't advise any of you to hold your breaths waiting for the Arab countries to pay any kind of compensation to the millions of Jews who came here from Arab countries and their descendants (after all what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander). But this reminds me of a story from the Talmud.

After Alexander the Great conquered this entire area, the Egyptians went to him and complained that the Jews had left Egypt hundreds of years before and had borrowed massive amounts of property which they had never returned. (This was true. God instructed them to do that so they would leave Egypt as wealthy, free people and not as slaves, and when the exodus took place, the Egyptians were so anxious to throw the Jews out so that they would stop dying in the tenth plague - death of the firstborn - that they urged them to leave without returning any of this property). Egypt demanded a huge amount of money in compensation.

Alexander came to the Rabbis and asked for their response. The Rabbis chose one of their number who said that the Jews would agree to pay the compensation provided that in return, the Egyptians would compensate the Jews for the two hundred years or so they had spent as slaves in Egypt, working around the clock, six days a week. That, of course, was more money than the Egyptians had demanded, and so they dropped the demand.

Maybe there's a lesson here?

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