The Right(?) of Return

The Right(?) of Return

© David Burton 2016

Jewish Refugees From Arab Countries

     The non-negotiable demand for the “Palestinian Refugee Right of Return” is a red herring. Anyone with half a brain knows it will never happen. What it is, is another piece of Arab/Palestinian propaganda designed to guarantee that no meaningful peace agreement can be achieved in the Holy Land. The so-called “Palestinian Refugees” are just some more of the cannon fodder that Arab/Palestinian leaders are only too willing to sacrifice in their nearly 70-year old war against Jews and the Jewish State.

     In the media and in statements by Arab and Palestinian leaders, we often hear and read the demand that “Palestinian Refugees” have a right to return to Israel. These statements are based on misleading interpretations of various texts and on a not-so-hidden agenda that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of a Jew-free “greater Palestine” in its place.

     As a consequence of the Arab countries attacking Israel in 1948-1949, approximately 750,000 Palestinian Arabs became refugees. What is frequently ignored is the fact that, as a result of the forced expulsion of Jews from Arab countries, nearly 1,000,000 destitute Jews also became refugees and displaced persons. As a result of Palestinian, Arab and anti-Semitic propaganda that is spread by a compliant world media, most attention is focused on the Palestinian claim of their right to return. But what about the nearly 1 million Jewish refugees from Arab lands? These refugees and their descendants may not wish to return to their former, but now hostile, homelands. But what about compensation for the economic losses they suffered or a return of the possession they were forced to leave behind?

     This forced exodus of Jews from Arab countries is illustrated by the following table showing the number of Jews who were living in Arab countries in 1948 and, more than 60-years later, in 2014. (Ref. 1)

Jewish Refugees From Arab Countries

     From 1948 to 2014, the number of Jews in the Arab countries listed above declined by a total of more than 840,000. In addition, “in the decades following the Islamic Revolution of 1979, an estimated 85% of the Jews living in Iran (over 60,000) were forced to emigrate to Israel and America.” (Ref. 2), raising the total of displaced Jews to 900,000. Added to this total are the Falasha or Ethiopian Jews that were forced to leave the country in which they had been living for more than 2,000 years. “The Israeli Bureau of Statistics estimated that 78,000 Falasha have immigrated to Israel since 1980” (Ref. 3) and that raises the number of Jewish refugees from Arab and Islamic lands to more than 970,000 or close to 1 million men, women and children.

     In nearly every case, the Jews that were forced to leave these Islamic nations were obliged to leave nearly all of their possessions behind and, to this day, they have never been compensated for their losses. In marked contrast, Germany has paid reparations to Jews and Israel for the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis before and during WW-II.

     Most of the displaced Jews came to Israel, were granted Israeli citizenship, and were absorbed into Israeli society - many at a time when the Jewish state was in dire economic straits and was being attacked by Palestinian terrorists and neighboring Arab countries.

     For 66 years now, the U.N. has addressed the “Palestinian refugee” issue and the ongoing demand for their “right of return”. But not once over this span of time has the United Nations considered the plight of the nearly 1 million Jewish refugees that were uprooted from Arab/Moslem countries and forced to relinquish nearly all their worldly possessions without any compensation.

     Consider the following, abstracted from an article that appeared in The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post. (Ref. 4)

     Jews inhabited Arab lands for about a thousand years before Mohammed was born and Islam came into existence. Today, you cannot find a trace of Jews in most of this vast region. Jews came to Babylonia (modern day Iraq) following the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE. In 1951, during Operations Ezra and Nehemiah, Israel rescued about 100,000 Iranian Jews who left their 2,000-year old home with little more than the clothes on their backs.
     According to the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, Jews were first settled in what is present-day Libya by the Egyptian ruler Ptolemy Lagos (323-282 BCE). They lived continuously on that soil for more than two millennia, their numbers bolstered by Berbers who converted to Judaism, Spanish and Portuguese Jews fleeing the Inquisition, and Italian Jews crossing the Mediterranean. Then in the twentieth century they were confronted with the anti-Jewish legislation of the occupying Italian Fascists. Libya became an independent country in 1951. Then, the 6,000 Jews still there - the remnant of the 39,000 Jews who had formed a once-proud community in Libya — went packing when rioting broke out. Many headed for the newly established State of Israel. Within ten years of Libya’s independence, Jews could not vote, hold public office, serve in the army, obtain a passport, purchase new property, acquire majority ownership in any new business, or participate in the supervision of the Jewish community’s affairs. Finally, by June 1967 the die was cast. Those who had remained, hoping against hope that things would improve in a land to which they were deeply attached and which, at times, had been good to Jews, had no choice but to flee. The Six-Day War created an explosive atmosphere in the streets. Eighteen Jews were killed, and Jewish-owned homes and shops were burned to the ground. Some 4,000 remaining Jews left however they could, most with no more than a suitcase and the equivalent of a few dollars.
     There were once hundreds of thousands of Jews who lived in countries like Iraq and Libya. All told, they numbered close to 900,000 in 1948. Today there are fewer than 5,000, mostly concentrated in two moderate countries—Morocco and Tunisia. There were once vibrant communities in Aden, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and other nations, with roots dating back more than 2,000 years or more. Now, there are next to none. Why does no one speak of these refugees? Why does the world relentlessly and obsessively speak of the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 and 1967 wars in the Middle East — who, were largely displaced by wars launched by their own Arab brethren — but totally ignore the Jewish refugees from the 1948 and 1967 wars? Why is the world left with the impression that there’s only one refugee population from the Arab-Israeli conflict, or, more precisely, the Arab conflict with Israel, when, in fact, there are two refugee populations? And, remember, the number of Jewish refugees was somewhat larger than the number of Palestinian refugees.
     So who cares about the displaced Jewish refugees from Arab lands? Do you know what the acronym MEGO means? It’s an acronym for “My eyes glazed over.” That’s the impression obtained from diplomats, elected officials, and journalists when the subject of the Jews from Arab lands has been raised — “Their eyes glaze over” (TEGO).

     A good part of the reason for this is that Jews from the Arab world picked up the pieces of their shattered lives after their hurried departures — in the wake of intimidation, violence, and discrimination — and they moved on. “Palestinian refugees” have never moved on – they haven’t been allowed to move on. They are too valuable as unwilling pawns in the efforts to eliminate Israel and eradicate the Jews.
     The world must not allow the Arab conflict with Israel to be defined unfairly through the prism of one refugee population only, the Palestinian.

     “According to Palestinian sources, there are about 3.5 million Palestinian refugees nowadays registered with UNRWA {United Nations Relief and Works Agency}. If Israel were to allow all of them to return to her territory, this would be an act of suicide on her part, and no state can be expected to destroy itself.” (Ref. 5) Other, perhaps more reliable, sources put the number of supposed “Palestinian refugees” at more than 5 million.

     Who are these “Palestinian refugees” that are supposedly entitled to a “right of return”? One Example is the Palestinian refugee camp of Al-Wihdat near Aman, Jordan that was established in 1955. It’s certainly not the tent city that many assume. It’s a dense urban community of cinderblock houses with TV satellite dishes, and with shopping districts having gleaming, glass-front stores. The vast majority of the camp’s residents were born in Jordan and are Jordanian citizens. Still, according to UNRWA, the camp’s residents are “Palestinian refugees!”[5]

     In 1950, UNRWA was created to help the 750,000 or so “Palestinian refugees” of the first Arab-Israeli war. Today, UNRWA “serves 5 million Palestinians – not just the refugees remaining from the ’48 war but their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
     “UNRWA continues to register thousands of new refugees each year.
     “. . . While the U.N.’s main refugee agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, aims to reduce the number of refugees from other areas – in large part by helping resettle them elsewhere if it becomes clear they cannot return to their homes – UNRWA does just the opposite. It continually expands the number of refugees, thereby perpetuating and exacerbating the Palestinian refugee problem – and, by extension, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 5)

     In 1948, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the establishment of a “Conciliation Commission for Palestine and instructed it to ‘take steps to assist the Governments, and authorities concerned to achieve a final settlement of all questions outstanding between them.’ Paragraph 11 deals with the refugees: ‘The General Assembly ... resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible’.“ (Ref. 5)

     Of course, the Arab States rejected this resolution, hoping instead to destroy Israel. Later, after realizing that the destruction of Israel was not imminent, they decided to use this resolution as a basis for continuing their war against Israel by demanding the wholesale right of repatriation of all displaced Palestinians.

     The Arab and Palestinian interpretation of the UN resolution suits their purpose and is not warranted. A reading of Paragraph 11 shows that it does not recognize any "right", but recommends that the refugees "should" be "permitted" to return. Moreover, that permission is subject to two conditions - that the refugee wishes to return, and that he/she wishes to live at peace with his/her neighbors. The continuing hostility exhibited toward Israel by the Palestinians and the surrounding Arab countries since 1948 precludes any hope of a peaceful co-existence between Israelis and masses of potentially returning Palestinian refugees. That the return “should” take place only "at the earliest practicable date" clearly shows that this was only a recommendation and not a binding UN demand.

     “One should also remember that under the UN Charter the General Assembly is not authorized to adopt binding resolutions, except in budgetary matters and with regard to its own internal rules and regulations.” (Ref. 5)

     We should also remember that the provision concerning the refugees is only one part of the resolution calling for "a final settlement of all questions outstanding between" the parties. Conveniently, the Arab States and the Palestinians have always insisted on the implementation of a perceived “right of return” independent of all other matters and as a non-negotiable pre-condition to discussing a final peace settlement with Israel.

     Following the 1967 Six-day war, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242 in which the “Council ‘Affirms further the necessity ... (b) for achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem.’ The Council did not propose a specific solution, nor did it limit the provision to Arab refugees, probably because the right to compensation of Jewish refugees from Arab lands also deserves a ‘just settlement’.” (Ref. 5) Again, this resolution does not call for a “right of return” for displaced Palestinian refugees.

     The refugee issue was subsequently reconsidered following the 1967 Six-day war. It was addressed in the Framework for Peace in the Middle East agreed to at Camp David in 1978 by Egypt and Israel. It was agreed that a "continuing committee" including representatives of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians should "decide by agreement on the modalities of admission of persons displaced from the West Bank and Gaza in 1967". Similarly, it was agreed that "Egypt and Israel will work with each other and with other interested parties to establish agreed procedures for a prompt, just and permanent implementation of the resolution of the refugee problem".[5]

     In 1993, the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements between Israel and the Palestinians, agreed that the methods of admission of persons displaced in 1967 should be decided by agreement in a "continuing committee" and that the issue of refugees should be negotiated in the framework of the permanent status negotiations. The 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip adopted similar provisions. [6] Notwithstanding such agreements, the Palestinians and other Arab leaders have reverted to demanding the “right of return" for all “Palestinian refugees” as a pre-condition to negotiating a final and realistic peace agreement with Israel.

     The Treaty of Peace between Israel and Jordan of 1994 mentions the need to solve the refugee problem both in the framework of the Multilateral Working Group on Refugees established after the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference, and in conjunction with the permanent status negotiations.

     But, it is to be noted that under the major UN resolutions and under the relevant agreements between the Palestinians, the Jordanians, and the Egyptians with Israel, the Palestinian refugees do not have a right to return to Israel.

     The “Palestinian refugee” issue came into being following Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, which, perhaps more fittingly, should be called Israel’s 1948 War of Survival. “It is important to set the historical record straight: The overwhelming majority of Palestinian refugees left what was then the newly-established State of Israel on their own accord due to structural weaknesses within Palestinian society and their leadership. [Emphasis mine]
     “The pressure of wartime conditions triggered the collapse of what was already a fragile Palestinian society, particularly when Palestinian leaders chose to oppose the Jewish state by a show of arms rather than by accepting a UN plan for their own state.  . . .
     “On their own accord, an estimated 600,000 Palestinian Arabs fled a war zone, which their leaders had created. An estimated 250,000 to 300,0002 of those refugees in 1948 left even before their homes became part of a war zone.
     “The human tragedy of being uprooted notwithstanding, Palestinian refugees were neither hapless targets nor innocent bystanders. The first stage of the 1948 war was a fierce interethnic or anti-Zionist civil war in which Palestinians were the aggressors and the initiators; the second half was an all-out war involving regular armies, whose participation the Palestinians engineered. The violent path that Palestinians chose – and the ensuing fear, disorientation, and economic deprivation of war – led to their own collective undoing.
    - - -
     “The Palestinians’ fatal mistake of calling in the Arab states was compounded by the Arabs’ refusal to seize the opportunity to end the war by abiding by an open-ended cease-fire negotiated in late July 1948, even after the Jews had halted Arab advances and clearly begun to gain the upper hand. Thus, by failing to keep the truce, they created, by their own hands tens of thousands of additional refugees from Arab-dominated areas.  . . .
    - - -
     “Palestinian narratives – even those detailed in Palestinian academic studies – simply ignore or warp uncomfortable facts. The depth of their inability to accept even partial responsibility for their plight and their rejection of resettlement as an Israeli plot intended to rob them of their heritage does serve one purpose: it unites all Palestinians from academics to peasantry, yet it is a unity based on faulty premises.
    - - -
  • ”There would be no Palestinian refugees if the Arabs had accepted the UN partition plan and refrained from attacking Israel in 1948. They bear responsibility for their own refugee problem.
  • ”Most Arab Palestinians fled because of flaws in their own society that weakened their ability to prevail in a war that they themselves started, not because they were expelled. Thousands of Arabs who chose to stay are today citizens of the State of Israel.
  • ”Arab Palestinians exacerbated the refugee problem twice: once, by changing the rules of the game – calling in neighboring Arab armies, forcing badly outgunned Israelis to deport some Palestinians over the lines, then by refusing to keep a ceasefire, adding more Arab Palestinians to those who became refugees.
  • ”The Palestinian-Arab refugee problem, including their demands for compensation and their plans to demand and implement the Right of Return, amounts to yet another strategy to destroy the State of Israel.
  • ”Two refugee problems were created that demand redress: Arab refugees who due to their belligerence as a society, bear a significant part of the blame for their own predicament, and peaceful Jewish refugees from Arab countries.” (Ref. 7)
     UNRWA once again came into the world’s headlines during the summer of 2014 when it was revealed that its schools were stockpiling Hamas rockets. In Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East, UNRWA actually functions as a large Palestinian Arab organization with a smattering of foreign supervisory staff - and those foreign staffers tend to leave during a conflict. Since its establishment in 1950, UNRWA has administered the biggest welfare state in the world. It is the only U.N. relief agency that has not provided temporary aid. Instead, it has existed for more than six decades, fostering hate and resentment against Jews and Israel, while permanently keeping its wards in refugee camps instead of working to relocate them and to end their status as refugees. In Gaza, UNRWA classifies 80% of the residents there as “refugees” and subsequently oversees perhaps the biggest welfare state in the world on their behalf.

     “The original ‘refugees’ that the UNRWA was set up to cater to are for the most part dead. The UNRWA has become another UN boondoggle funding a welfare state for “refugee camps” that are older, bigger and more developed than many Middle Eastern cities.” (Ref. 8)

     In stark contrast, the million or so Jews that were forced out of Arab countries simply because they were Jews after 1948 were never wards of the U.N. They were quickly and efficiently absorbed into the State of Israel without any financial burden being placed upon the international community. Their status as refugees was short-lived and ended within a few years.

     But, nearly 7 decades later, and with no end in sight, Arab “refugees” - most of whom left Israel of their own volition despite the urging of David Ben Gurion to stay and be part of the newly created nation - along their descendants, are still being classified as “refugees”. The international community, not their Arab brethren, provide the money to support them. Aside from Jordan, no Arab country to this day will allow them to immigrate and become citizens of their nation.

     Even thinking Palestinians themselves recognize the senseless continuation of UNRWA. “Bassam Eid, a prominent Palestinian human rights activist, has issued an urgent plea for a serious overhaul of UNRWA . . .
     “Eid, the Director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, . . . addressed a meeting at the British parliament, entitled ‘Perpetuating Statelessness? UNRWA, Its Activities and Funding.’ In that presentation, Eid, who was raised in the UNRWA refugee camp in Shu’afat, east of Jerusalem, harshly criticized the agency for perpetuating the plight of the refugees as well as for its political relationship with Hamas. [Emphasis mine]
     “{Eid stated that.} ‘Sixty-six years after it was created, UNRWA is still promising Palestinians that they will return to their homeland,’ ‘In my opinion, causing five million Palestinian refugees to suffer more and more under the umbrella of the ‘right of return’ is a war crime. They are being used as pawns in a war strategy.’
     “{Eid said} ‘As a refugee, I want to see UNRWA submitting audited reports to donor countries. . . . I want UNRWA to present to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees a plan for the permanent resettlement of the Palestinian refugees.   . . .
    - - -
     “. . . UNRWA’s mission {should be focused} away from the ‘right of return’ – a demand that is incompatible with the international commitment to a two-state solution, since an influx of the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees would end Israel’s existence as a sovereign Jewish state . . .
     “{Next}, ’UNRWA needs to apologize for six decades of false promises. Then it needs to concentrate on building permanent neighborhoods for the refugees, to remove them from the miserable situation that prevails in the refugee camps’.” (Ref. 9)

     The number of Palestinian refugees in 1948 was estimated to be around 750,000. Of this number, only 30,000 to 50,000 of these original refugees were estimated to be alive in 2012 – about 6%. The number of descendants of these original refugees in 2012 was estimated at around 5,000,000. In 2015, the total number of Palestinians in refugee camps was estimated to have grown by another 150,000.[10] Today, in 2016, probably less than 5% of “Palestinian refugees” are actually refugees from any of the wars with Israel – some 95% of these “Palestinian refugees” were born as refugees because of UNRWA and the blind hatred of Israel by their fellow Arabs.

     Looking at these numbers, we see that there are about 5,150,000 Palestinian Arabs – descendants of the original 750,000 Palestinian refugees – now living in refugee camps who have never lived within the borders of the State of Israel. How can they “return” to a country in which they have never lived? They have no connection with the land of Israel, no social foundation with which to start a new life in a strange new land and no means of supporting themselves – remember, they have been wards of UNRWA for nearly 7 decades. Do they even want to “return” to Israel?

     “UNRWA won’t disclose the precise number of original refugees remaining from the ’48 war, but it’s probably miniscule {about 40,000}. Even by UNRWA’s own accounting, fully half the Palestinian refugee population is under age 25.
     “In fact, a child born in {Jordan} to a father who is a native Jordanian and a mother, who, while also born in Jordan and a Jordanian citizen, has a paternal grandfather who fled pre-state Israel in 1948, would be considered a refugee.
     “ ‘The U.N. has created a special status for the Palestinians as refugees that has not been applied to any other group.” (Ref. 6) As a matter of policy, UNRWA promotes perpetual refugee status on the people under its self-serving agenda.

     Arab enemies of Israel have concocted the nakba (the disaster) narrative concerning the establishment of the State of Israel. A major portion of this narrative revolves around the “Palestinian refugee” issue and the demand for their “right of return.” Conceding this “right of return” would abnegate the nakba image that forms the core of the Arab demand for the establishment of an independent Palestinian nation. As a form of despotic mind control, focusing the minds of the Arab Street on the image of the nakba keeps the Arab Street from addressing the problems of poverty, tyranny and repression foisted upon them by their despotic leaders. The Arab Street is continually propagandized by being told that all the problems of the Palestinians are caused by Israel-Jews and these problems date back to the nakba. All Palestinian problems are never caused by their leaders or as the result of the Palestinians’ own actions. Israel and Jews are to blame for everything and they serve as convenient scapegoats! The nakba occurred more than 6 decades ago and the Palestinians continue to wallow in self-pity and victimhood instead of taking concrete steps to solve their problems as Israel and the Jews have done. The Palestinians and the Arab nations surrounding Israel refuse to admit that they started the 1947-1949 wars, lost them and that they are the ones mostly responsible for the resultant “Palestinian refugee” problem. Today, the Palestinians are still fighting the wars of 1947-1949 instead of moving on and working to resolve today’s problem and making a better life for themselves and their children. Instead, they are constantly beating their breasts, wearing sack cloths, pouring ashes over their heads and seeking martyrdom for themselves and their own children. All the while, their Arab brethren and the anti-Semites of the world urge them on along this path of self-deception and self-destruction.

     “. . . The Arab states could have absorbed the {Palestinian} refugees from the camps and contributed substantially to their welfare. Instead, their lip-service support is coupled with contempt for Palestinian refugees within Arab societies. They {the refugees} were marginalized, and the Arab regimes, with the exception of Jordan, took no steps to ensure that they were assimilated into the socioeconomic fabric of the societies. The contributions of the Arab states to the Palestinian cause have been and remain meager, just as their promises of contributions to various donor institutions to ensure that the Palestinian Authority keeps its head above water are rarely fulfilled. Having the refugees live in wretched conditions is a deliberate ploy on the part of the Arab states to use them as a bargaining chip, symbols of Palestinian suffering and victimization and dispossession, and fodder for ‘the street’ to turn their people’s attention away from their regimes’ repressions and ineptitude.” (Ref. 11, pages 189-190)

     Of the original 750,000 “Palestinian refugees”, it is estimated that only 40,000 remain. The rest of these “refugees” have never seen the land to which they are supposed to “return”. As a practical matter, how many refugees and their descendants would actually want to return to Israel? A 2003 poll found that only 10% living in the diaspora wanted to return. In Gaza and the West Bank only 31% wanted to return. They apparently know that there is no actual home to return to. It appears that Palestinian negotiators care a lot more about keeping the problem alive than about the refugees themselves. Consider also that most Palestinians who fled the 1947-1949 wars were tenant farmers – they owned no actual land. What would they and their descendants return to?[11]

     Clearly, the demand of the “right of return” is a fiction perpetrated against the Palestinian Arab pawns stuck in the Mideast refugee camps and it is nothing more than a weapon that is being used against Israel by the do-gooders of the world who are naïve enough to buy into the anti-Israel propaganda of the Arab/Palestinian world. Those who promulgate this hoax ignore reality and the inequity of demanding a Palestinian “right of return” while ignoring a more valid “right of return” claim for the million or so Jews driven out of Arab countries. At the most, a “right of return” issue could be a topic for honest peace agreement negotiations and not as a non-negotiable pre-condition to any peace negotiations. While such discussions might result in some form of compensation for refugees and/or their descendants, there will realistically never be any agreement by Israel to allow all but a miniscule number of Palestinian Arabs to “return” to Israel. The core of the “right of return” demand has never really been about the right of “Palestinian refugees” to “return” – it’s about one thing and one thing only: the Arab/Palestinian hope of once-and-for-all eliminating the State of Israel and driving the Jews from their ancestral home!

FOOTNOTE: (Abstracted from (Ref. 12) )

     The Israeli national holiday created to remember the 860,000 Mizrahi Jews expelled from Arab lands beginning in 1948 – was not only forgotten by the entire Greater Boston Jewish community, but in a painfully ironic contradiction, a number of local congregations and two Jewish agencies actively working to resettle non-Jewish refugees from an Arab land were among those failing to commemorate the event. Mizrahi Jews are Jews from the Middle East and Mediterranean areas, as opposed to Ashkenazi Jews from the region of Europe.
     Israel’s Knesset designated November 30 as Jewish Refugee Day 3 years ago, to mark the forced exodus of Jews from Arab and Muslim countries that began around the time of the founding of the State of Israel. Since then, the Jewish population in Arab countries has declined 99%, to less than 8,000, with 600,000 Mizrahi Jews becoming Israeli citizens.
     Mizrahi Jews had thrived across the Middle East and North Africa since biblical times. But, in a post-Holocaust ethnic cleansing, they endured physical threats, state-sanctioned anti-Semitic legislation and pogroms, as well as plenary, uncompensated loss of property.
     More Mizrahi Jews immigrated to Israel after 1948 than Palestinians were displaced by the War of Independence. Today, Mizrahi Jews comprise just over half of Israel’s population.
     While most American Jews have no trouble marking Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel Independence Day and Israel Memorial Day, it is very sad that we fail to take note of Jewish Refugee Day, that remembers the plight of so many of our brethren.
     While liberal Jewish groups, such as HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), the Jewish Family Service of MetroWest and several congregations rush to resettle a dozen Syrian refugee families here, they chose to ignore the fate that befell their fellow Jews, particularly, the 40,000 Mizrahi Jews who were intentionally driven out of Syria.

     This behavior may not come as a shock to many of us, as was noted in a recent article appearing on this web site, titled, American Jews Hurting Israel and their Fellow Jews (Ref. 13))
  1. Fact Sheet: Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries (Updated December 2015), Jewish Virtual Library,
    Accessed 5 October 2016.
  2. The Jews of Iran, Reyna Simnegar,, Accessed 5 October 2016.
  3. The Last Jews of Ethiopia, Miriam Berger, Forward, 9 August 2013.
  4. Letter from a Forgotten Jew, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post, 29 November 2016.
  5. Palestinian refugees,, Accessed 5 October 2014.
  6. Uncovering UNRWA:An Exception to the Rule, Uriel Heilman, B’nai B’rith Magazine , Winter 2016.
  7. What You Should Know About the "Right of Return" , Eli E. Hertz,,
    12 October 2012.
  8. The UNRWA is Hamas, Daniel Greenfield, The Jewish Press, 7 August 2014.
  9. Palestinian Human Rights Activist Calls for Major Overhaul of UNRWA (INTERVIEW), Ruth Lapidoth,
    Jewish Virtual Library, Accessed 5 October 2016.
  10. Arab and Jewish Refugees – The Contrast, Ben Cohen,, 2007.
  11. The Two-State Delusion, Padraig O’Malley, Penguin Books, Published in 2016.
  12. Resettling Arabs while ignoring Jewish refugees, Editorial, The Jewish Advocate, 7 December 2016.
  13. American Jews Hurting Israel and their Fellow Jews, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu; Article 273,
    1 December 2016.


  15 December 2016 {Article 275; Israel_30}    
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