Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Giving the lie to the 'big lie'

Seminal piece by David Meir-Levi giving the lie to the 'big lie' that Israel created the Arab refugee problem. He makes the point that Israel has more than paid handsomely in reparations to the Arab refugees in terms of abandoned Jewish land and assets, assuming Israel was responsible for the Arab flight - which he then demonstrates convincingly that for the most part it was not.'Hypothetically,' he argues,'the Arabs would be getting the better deal.'

" Some observers have suggested that this turn of events could be understood as a “population exchange” – Arabs fled to Arab countries as Jews fled to the Jewish country, both as a result of the 1948 war, both under conditions which their side regards as forced evacuations. On the other hand, no one on the Arab side has suggested the obvious: if Jewish refugees were resettled on land vacated by fleeing Arabs, why not resettle Arab refugees on the lands of Jews who were forced to flee the Arab countries. One reason no one has suggested this is that no Arab state with the exception of Jordan will even allow Palestinians to be citizens. Another point: Taking into account the assets of the Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim lands, one can conclude that the Jews have already paid massive “reparations” to the Arabs whether warranted or not.


The property and belongings of the Jewish refugees, confiscated by the Arab governments, has been conservatively estimated at about $2.5 billion in 1948 dollars. Invest that money at a modest 6.5% over 57 years and you have today a sum of $80 billion, which the Arab and Muslim governments of the lands from which the Jews were expelled could apply to the benefit of the Arab refugees. That sum is quite sufficient for reparations to Arab refugees. There is no way of accurately assessing the value of Arab property left in Israel’s control; but there are no estimates as high as a 1948 value of $2,500,000,000. So, hypothetically, the Arab side would be getting the better of such a deal.

Another irony must be considered in the context of the refugee issue. Israel handled its Jewish refugee problem by devoting massive resources to the education and integration of the Jewish refugee population into its society. Read the whole thing!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Most Jews have left the Arab countries that formerly protected them SINCE, and in response to, the creation of Israel. In many, if not most, cases, this was voluntary, hardly 'cleansing.' Other groups have also left Muslim countries with the rise of fundamentalism. Why would a hard-drinking Armenian want to stay in prohibitionist Iran?

bataween said...

Why should an Armenian leave to escape the rise of fundamentalism, but a Jew should leave 'voluntarily'? I'm sorry, anon, very few Jews left voluntarily. They were protected for a short period by the colonial regimes in Muslim countries.