Conference Hears Calls To Help Jewish Refugees

New Focus on Those Forced To Flee Arab Lands

By JTA

Published September 10, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Speakers at a conference on Middle Eastern and North African Jewish refugees called for legislative initiatives to support compensation for the refugees.

The conference, which began Sunday night and ends Monday, took place in Jerusalem under the title “Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries.” It was organized by the World Jewish Congress and Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Senior Citizens’ Ministry.

The conference is part of a drive to raise the profile of the mass exodus of Jews who either fled or were expelled from Arab countries surrounding Israel’s founding in 1948. It also aims to create parity between those refugees and Palestinian refugees from Israel’s War of Independence. A similar conference will take place at the United Nations headquarters on Sept. 21.

At the conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while Israel absorbed Jews from Arab countries, “The Arab world has neglected Arab refugees for decades and has used them as a battering ram against Israel.”

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) also called for greater recognition of Jewish refugees, as did Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.

“It is just wrong to address the issue of refugees referring to Palestinians only while there are Jewish refugees that are not being recognized or taken care of,” Nadler said.

One of the conference’s goals is to urge legislative bodies worldwide to pass resolutions recognizing Jewish refugees and requiring that in future Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, compensation for Jewish refugees for suffering and lost property be discussed whenever the parties negotiate compensation for Palestinian refugees. Resolutions recognizing Jewish refugees are under discussion in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, as well as Israel’s Knesset.

“When there will be negotiations, the government of Israel needs to raise the issue of Jewish refugees,” said Israeli lawmaker Shai Hermesh, chairman of the World Jewish Congress in Israel. Hermesh also called for supporters of the initiative to partner with Jewish parliamentarians worldwide and with Jewish organizations and international allies.

Legislators from Canada, France and Hungary also made statements supporting the initiative, and an Italian parliamentarian had a statement read on her behalf.

A declaration issued at the end of the conference called on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to “place the issue of Jewish refugees on the agenda of the United Nations and its affiliated forms. We also call on state parliaments around the world to pass legislation recognizing the historic and justice and suffering of the Jews who were expelled, forced out, or who fled Arab countries.”

Referring to world Jewry, the declaration continues: “We call on world Jewry and friends of Israel to keep this issue on the international agenda as an issue of human rights and justice.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.