With assertions of the rights of Palestinians to reclaim land in Israel expected to arise at an planned Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, a Jewish advocacy group has scheduled a meeting in New York on Monday to call attention to people it terms “forgotten refugees.”
The group, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, says more than 850,000 Jews left their homes in Arab lands after the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948. The UN says that 711,000 Palestinians left Israel-controlled territory in 1948 and 1949. “We have found evidence that there was collusion among the Arab nations to persecute and exploit their Jewish populations,” said Stanley A. Urman, executive director of the group.
A draft law composed by the Arab League in 1947 called for measures to be taken against Jews living in Arab countries, ranging from imprisonment, confiscation of assets and forced induction into Arab armies to beatings, officially incited acts of violence and pogroms. “This was not just a forced exodus, it was a forgotten exodus,” said Irwin Cotler, a former Canadian minister of justice.
He said the main goal of the campaign was to raise public awareness rather than to seek compensation. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the other components of redress, recognition, remembrance and acknowledgment of the wrongs committed.”
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