Compensation for Jewish Refugees from Arab Counties must be part of any deal.

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 466, May 15, 2017

Dr. Edy Cohen

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: No solution for the Palestinian refugee problem is possible so long as justice is not served for the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries.

The Palestinians and their erstwhile international champions are commemorating Nakba Day on May 15. Just as the Jerusalem mufti Hajj Amin Husseini, the Palestinian Arabs’ leader from the early 1920s to the late 1940s, would habitually condemn the Balfour Declaration from his World War II Berlin headquarters to ingratiate himself with his Nazi masters, so May 15, the date when the British Mandate ended and the state of Israel came into being, has become the day on which the Palestinians’ annually commemorate their self-inflicted “catastrophe” (or Nakba).

No one can ignore the Palestinian refugee problem. Yet no one speaks of the predicament of the larger number of Jews expelled from the Arab states in the wake of Israel’s establishment. Having failed to abort the newly established Jewish state by force of arms, these states took revenge on their own Jewish communities, some of which had lived in those lands way before their Arab/Muslim conquest in the seventh century CE.

About 900,000 Jews of Arab countries were forced to leave their homes, and their properties were summarily expropriated. In some of those countries, primarily Egypt and Iraq, that stolen property is estimated today in the hundreds of billions of dollars. This includes many buildings and hundreds of beautiful synagogues, enterprises, and private assets that were confiscated solely because their owners happened to be Jews.

Those Jews were expelled and/or forced to flee their homelands in fear of their lives. They were subjected to persecution and numerous pogroms, though they had in no way harmed their Arab compatriots – unlike the Palestinian refugees, who fled in the wake of a war of annihilation that their leaders and the Arab regimes had waged.

As part of the recent Arab League summit in Jordan, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative was revived. It offers Israel normalization with the Arab and Muslim states in return for a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Not surprisingly, the statement issued by the summit demands concessions only of Israel. If, however, Jerusalem decides to enter peace talks on the basis of this plan, it must demand an explicit apology from the Arab states that expelled their Jewish citizens in the course of the conflict. Israel must further insist that these Jews be compensated for the loss of their earthly properties and for the suffering attending their expulsion.

Over the course of history, countless peoples have afflicted the Jewish people. Some have apologized, and some have even tried to atone for their misdeeds. For example, the Portuguese and the Spanish have apologized for their persecution of Jews, and now offer passports to all Jews whose families were expelled from those countries, as far back as the Expulsion of 1492. The Germans, who annihilated one-third of the Jewish people, have apologized, signed a reparations agreement with the state of Israel, and compensated numerous Holocaust survivors.

In contrast, the Arab states are not only unwilling to pay compensation to those Jews they expelled, but refuse to acknowledge this atrocity in the first place. The time has come for these states and their leaders to own up to their misdeeds, apologize for this injustice, and compensate those whose property they stole.

Israel can help to redress an historical injustice if it makes it unequivocally clear that it will not sign an agreement on ending the conflict with the Palestinians and/or the Arab states until the issue of the Jewish refugees and their plundered property in the Arab countries is resolved.

As the state of the Jewish people, Israel has a supreme moral duty, along with a right anchored in international law, to demand that the Arab states compensate their past Jewish citizens for the assets and lands that were illegally and unjustifiably wrested from them.

Unfortunately, Israeli governments have thus far ignored this issue altogether. One can only hope that the current and future governments will come to their senses as soon as possible, since no solution for the Palestinian refugee problem is possible so long as justice is not served for the Jewish refugees from the Arab states.

May 15, 2017 | 6 Comments » | 51 views

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6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. :
    I’m still waiting for Putin to announce that his government is going to start paying off the Russian Imperial bonds (at par, with interest).

  2. :
    There’s really no legal linkage between the property claims of Jews who fled the Arab countries & the Arabs who fled nascent Israel.

    If an Arab has a just claim to assets in Israel, his case deserves to be heard ASAP. Of course, his case should be of lower priority than cases of widows and orphans, and the cases of Jews whose domestic land claims were JUMPED by the Israeli government. Yep.

    The only way that Jews will receive compensation for the assets stolen from their fled-forbears is for the US Army to pillage those crappy countries.

    As if the American oil companies would ever tolerate the USG dumping all that Arab oil onto the market.

  3. It is time to abandon the delusion of peace with Arab/Muslim terrorists and face reality, after almost 70 years of Jewish appeasement and concessions, with Arab/Muslim continued terror and violence. It is time for Israel to stand its ground and take the territory originally allocated to the Jewish National Home in Palestine. Protect its people at all costs with zero tolerance and no holds barred.
    Any Agreements with The Arab-Palestinians are null and void including the Oslo Accords which the Arabs violated since day one and Mahmoud Abbas aka Abu Mazen the Leader of the Arab-Palestinians declared in the U.N. speech in the summer of 2015 that he will not abide by its terms.
    The only solution is to relocate all the Arabs to Jordan (which is historically and legally Jewish territory. Jordan forbids Jews to own and or reside in their country) or to the homes and the over 120,000 sq. km. (Jewish assets is valued in the trillions of dollars) the Arab countries confiscated from the over a million Jewish families that were expelled from the Arab countries and most of them were resettled in The Land of Israel.
    The world stood idle throughout history while Jews were persecuted, terrorized and killed by the millions. It is time to assert our rights without the bias and anti-Semitism of the world at large.
    “A Unified Israel is a Strong Israel”.
    YJ Draiman

    The Cleansing of Jews from Arab-Muslim Countries
    Almost all of the more than a million Jewish families and their children living in Arab countries at the time of the re-creation of the State of Israel were terrorized and forced to leave and all their assets confiscated. Most of those Jewish families and their children were resettled in the Land of Israel and today comprise over half the population.
    First Jews to arrive in the Arab countries was during King Solomon’s time. Aleppo in Syria was a thriving Jewish community during King Solomon’s time.
    Jews living in Arab countries were terrorized, expelled and fled their homes and all of their property, personal, businesses, homes and over 120,000 sq. km. of Jewish owned Real Estate for over 2,500 years, valued in the trillions of dollars, due mostly to anti-Semitism and persecution when the Jewish state was re-established.
    Today, that property is valued in the trillions of dollars.
    In this incredible set of testimonies, we hear firsthand from Jews who were terrorized and left Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria and Syria, etc..
    What was it like before 1948 and how did things change in the months leading up to their forced expulsion?
    Listen to these important but almost forgotten stories.
    My grandparents from my mothers side came from Yemen and I was informed first hand some of the stories relating to the persecution of Jews in Yemen. I also have family that originated from Iraq and listened to their horrific depiction of the terror which the Jews in Iraq were subject to.
    Anytime the Arabs mention taking Jewish land in the Land of Israel and compensation. We must remind them that they took Jewish land 6 times the size of Israel and Jewish assets totaling in the trillions of dollars.
    See bellow the official document of Arab discrimination against the Jews
    Text of the Law Drafted by the Political Committee of the Arab League
    In 1947, the Political Committee of the Arab League (League of Arab States) drafted a law which was to govern the legal status of Jewish residents in all Arab League countries. This law had already been approved by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, provided that, “beginning with a specified date, all Jews – with the exception of citizens of non-Arab countries – were to be considered members of the Jewish ‘minority state of Palestine,’ and that their bank account be frozen and used to finance resistance to ‘Zionist ambitions in Palestine.’ Jews believed to be active Zionists would be interned as political prisoners and their assets confiscated. Only Jews who accept active service in Arab armies or place themselves at the disposal of these armies would be considered ‘Arabs.’” 1
    Excerpts of Direct Quotes of the Law drafted by the Political Committee of the Arab League
    • “All Jewish citizens…will be considered as members of the Jewish minority of the State of Palestine and will have to register [“within 7 days”] with the authorities of the region wherein they reside, giving their names, the exact number of members in their families, their addresses, the names of their banks and the amounts of their deposits in these banks…”2
    • “Bank accounts of Jews will be frozen. These funds will be utilized in part or in full to finance the movement of resistance to Zionist ambitions in Palestine.”3
    • “Only Jews who are subjects of foreign countries will be considered ‘neutrals.’ These will be compelled either to return to their countries, with a minimum of delay, or be considered Arabs and obliged to accept active service in the Arab army.”4
    • “Every Jew whose activities reveal that he is an active Zionist will be considered as a political prisoner and will be interned in places specifically designated for that purpose by police authorities or by the Government. His financial resources, instead of being frozen, will be confiscated.”5
    • “Any Jew who will be able to prove that his activities are anti-Zionist will be free to act as he likes, provided that he declares his readiness to join the Arab armies.”6
    • “The foregoing…does not mean that those Jews will not be submitted to paragraphs 1 and 2 of this law.”7

    This is just a very small sample of the cleansing of Jews from Arab/Muslim countries.

    YJ Draiman

  4. As a Jew born in an Arab country, it was about time for
    us to claim what was stolen from us, this in the most
    despicable conditions. I left at the end of 1967, 50 years
    at the end of this year. We have formed an association
    with members all over the world for the preservation of
    our cemeteries so that what happened in Libya – Kaddafi
    ordered the Jewish cemeteries to be bulldozed and the
    boned dumped into the sea – does not happen to us.
    My family, quite wealthy, left behind villas, buildings,
    warehouses, farms, etc…etc… Yet, we were elated to
    leave in one peace these God forsaken places.
    People speak about Islam and Radical Islam:
    There is no such thing: Islam is Radical, make
    no mistake. Here is my proposal: Expelled Jews to
    sign over to Israel every item spoiled by the Arabs.
    So much was stolen, it makes me sick just thinking
    about it. When I hear American Jews giving to Israel
    their sordid advice: Give the heart of Israel to the
    Moslems I say You stupid stupid idiots…These are
    the worst criminal savages…

  5. @ M. A. Cohen:
    Under NO circumstances should an individual bequeath assets to the government. Government is already BIG enough, thanks.

    As an asset recovery strategy, I suggest donating your support to the Democratic Party USA, i.e. the Lawyers party.

    A Democratic-controlled USG tends to work for the benefit of lawyers. Once a critical mass of American lawyers coalesces behind a contingency fee windfall, such as recovery of looted assets, when the timing is right a Democratic administration could be expected to put pressure on a foreign government to offer a high monetary amount for settlement of claims.

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