Congress needs to rethink take on Middle East refugees

Ryan Jones,

Resolutions introduced in both the US Senate and House of Representatives this week very belatedly recognizing that there was once a Jewish refugee crisis in the Middle East are both promising and dangerous.

It is promising that a body with as much influence as the US Congress is pushing the issue of the international community’s need to address the fact that hundreds of thousands of Jews were dispossessed and expelled by the Arab states they called home just 50-some years ago.

But it is dangerous that Congress wants to tie that to recognition of the “rights of Palestinian refugees.”

There are some glaring differences between the two cases:

    * The so-called “Palestinians” who were displaced during Israel’s War of Independence for the most part did not move more than 20 miles, and still found themselves surrounded by people sharing the same ethnicity, language, culture and religion. To call them “refugees” is somewhat disingenuous, to say the least.

    * The majority of displaced “Palestinians” became displaced because their own leaders ordered them to get out of the way so the Jews could be more easily finished off. Again, not “refugees,” but rather members of the Arab “Ummah” who unfortunately found themselves having to start over when their leaders and armies failed to defeat Israel.

    * The Jews, on the other hand, were the defenseless minority in their host nations, and were stripped of their possessions, persecuted and thrown out by their Arab overlords, necessitating in many cases a long and arduous journey to the only place they would be safe – the State of Israel. Once there, they did share a religion with those around them, but they had to adapt to a new culture and learn a new language in order to survive. The very definition of refugees.

These are all things that need to be taken into consideration, but perhaps the most glaring difference between the Jewish refugees from Arab state and the “Palestinian refugees” is that the Jewish refugees were promptly resettled. And not only that, they were promptly resettled by a nascent state that didn’t really have the means to resettle them.

The “Palestinians,” meanwhile, have been forced to remain “refugees” by their Arab brothers for 50+ years! Additionally, their children have been labeled as refugees too!

There is no precedent for this, no other refugee situation that was ever dealt with by perpetuating the refugee status of the displaced and actually transferring it to their children and grandchildren.

The only explanation can be that the “Palestinian” refugee issue is not really a refugee issue at all, but a cynical diplomatic ploy to demonize the Jewish state and force it to allow its borders to be flooded with Arab Muslims.

This is what Congress needs to recognize in its resolutions.

The Jews long ago dealt with their own refugee problem. Now it’s time for the Arabs to do the same – or admit that there never was one to begin with.

Congress’ current course of action is only going to further legitimize the myth of the “Palestinian refugee.”

February 22, 2007 | Comments Off on Congress needs to rethink take on Middle East refugees

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