Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jewish refugee confronts UN for the first time


For the first time ever at a UN Human Rights Council session, a Jewish refugee from Libya highlighted the plight of one million Jews driven out, like herself, of the Middle East.

In 1948 there were 36,000 Jews in Libya. Today there are none."Ma' fadhel ahad (there is no one left)," Gina Waldman said.


Mrs Waldman, wearing her grandmother's henni night bridal dress, told the UN session in Geneva on 19 March how, during the 1967 Six-Day War between Israel and her Arab neighbours, the mobs took to the streets and shouted, “Edbah el Yehud!” “Slaughter the Jews!”

"They burned my father’s warehouse. Then they came to burn down our home. Honourable Muslim neighbours stopped them, and saved our family’s lives."

One month later, the Libyan government ordered the expulsion of all Jews. Mrs Waldman held up the one-way travel document - never to return to Libya - which the family were given. "We were being expelled from a country where my family had lived for hundreds of years. After we left, the government confiscated our homes and all of our assets.

"My family was put on a bus to the airport. The bus driver got out, and tried to burn the bus with us in it. We were rescued from death by two Christian friends."

Mrs Waldman affirmed that without historical truth, as in South Africa, there can be no reconciliation. Those truths were: That Jews are an indigenous people of the Middle East, having lived in the region for over 2,500 years, and that Jews were victimized by Arab regimes, as outlined in a JJAC report Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries: The Case for Rights and Redress” presented to the UN Human Rights Council. The UNHCR has ruled that Jews fleeing from Arab countries were ‘bona fide’ refugees, victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

To see Gina Waldman's webcast go to this link (scroll down to B'nai B'rith International slot in the 9 - 12 am session.)

Also on Youtube.

For full text of Gina Waldman's address see here.

JTA News

Canadian Jewish News

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