James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Remembering the Forgotten Exodus

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I’ have recently had an e-mail conversation with a libertarian on the Israel/Palestine issue. One place where I think it is easy for people to get lost is that Israel’s existence, and the Jewish presence in the Middle East, was not the result of European colonization. To the contrary, Jews have always lived in the Middle East. What we forget is that many Jewish communities were recently wiped out in Arab nations. This is commonly referred to as the Forgotten Exodus.

Here is part of congressional testimony on the subject from Dr. Avi Beker, Secretary General, World Jewish Congress Remembering the Forgotten Exodus: “There are four basic differences between the Jewish refugees and the Arab refugees in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“1. The number of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries exceeds the number of the Palestinian refugees. There were about 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands, versus 500,000 to 600,000 Palestinian Arab refugees.

“2. The Jews were expelled systematically, under an official regime policy which included anti-Jewish decrees, pogroms, murders and hangings, anti-Semitic incitement and actual ethnic cleansing. The Palestinians, on the other hand, left the area in the course of an 18-month war when several Arab armies opposing the UN partition resolution invaded Israel. Arab leaders called on the Palestinians to leave. For instance, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Said pledged:

“‘We will smash the country with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews seek shelter in. The Arabs should conduct their wives and children to safe areas until the fighting has died down.’

“The hundreds of thousands of Arabs who did not heed Nuri Said and other Arab leaders stayed in Israel, a decision most have not regretted.

“3. Unlike the Palestinians, the Jewish refugees were absorbed into their host countries, mostly by Israel. About 600,000 stayed in Israel and the remaining 300,000 fled to other countries, such as France, Canada, Italy and the United States. In Israel today, the Jews from Arab countries and their children comprise the majority of the Jewish population.

“4. All Arabs who stayed in Israel enjoy full citizenship; the few Jews who remained in Arab lands continue to experience persecution, attacks, jail and other violations of human rights.”

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Written by JamesEJ

Wednesday, November 17, 2004 at 3:08 pm

Posted in other

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