On 1st December, the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Aswat (The Middle East) published an interview with Raphael Luzon, the chairman of the Association of Libyan Jews - UK. The response from Arab readers was, according to Luzon, phenomenal. 'Point of no return' is very grateful to Iraqijews for this summary of the article's main points.
The chairman of the Libyan Jewry organisation in the UK, Raphael Luzon, is amazed that the world could empathise with the Palestinians while ignoring the plight of Jews from Arab countries.
Luzon said that he would never forget Libya, his country of origin, but asked if anyone could find a single Arab country that gives equal rights to Jews and Arabs? He requested that 'Arab' Jews and Palestinian refugees be treated equally.
He also said that the Arabs had killed Jews, forced them to become Muslims, and threw them out of their homes and countries by cruel means.
He agreed that the Palestinians had lost a lot, but pointed out that tens of organisations worldwide were giving them material and humanitarian help on an almost daily basis. In spite of this, they are still called refugees after 57 years. Where do these organisations stand on the suffering of a million Jewish refugees from Arab countries who lost their land and property?
Luzon had initiated the first conference for Libyan Jews in the United Kingdom, a conference that had led to the establishment of the Association of Libyan Jews in the UK. Its purpose is to preserve the heritage of Libyan Jewry.
What was the point of the Libyan law of 1974 which talked of restitution to Libyan Jews if 30 years later nothing had been done, he asked. He added that his 80-year-old mother wished to visit Libya: it would be a symbolic act that would have echoes around the world.
In the past relations betwen Arabs and Jews in Libya were good. Luzon's father was successful in trade. He described how after 1967 conditions deterioriated in Libya and the Jewish community was expelled, leaving all their property behind. They were allowed to leave with only £20 and a small suitcase each.
Not everyone was so lucky. Luzon's uncle, aunt and six of his children were killed by a Libyan army officer.
Read article in full (Arabic)
Read full text of Luzon's speech