Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don't forget Jewish refugees, says the AJC

David Harris, AJC executive director

This week, the American Jewish Committee gives a boost to the Middle East's forgotten Jewish refugees in its weekly radio broadcast. The broadcast is by the AJC's David Harris, whose wife is originally from Libya.

May 11, 2010 -- New York – AJC Executive Director David Harris in his national commentary on the CBS radio network, reminds listeners of the forgotten refugees, the one million Jews who were forced to leave their homes in Arab countries after Israel declared independence 62 years ago. LISTEN.

All AJC radio commentaries since 2001 are available at www.ajc.org/radiocommentary.

The full text of this week's commentary follows:


"These refugees shouldn't be forgotten. Their story is critical to understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict."

All AJC radio commentaries since 2001 are available at www.ajc.org/radiocommentary.

The full text of this week's commentary follows:

How many refugee populations did the Arab-Israeli conflict create?

The answer usually given is, "One, the Palestinians."

Yes, the Arab world launched the first war against Israel 62 years ago this week. War creates refugees.

But the real answer is two.

The second refugee population was Jews from Arab countries.

Here's what one recently wrote in the New York Times:

"My family, threatened with death in 1967 because of anti-Jewish hatred, barely managed to escape (Libya). Other Jews, including close friends, were killed by raging mobs.

"The Jewish community of Libya is gone, and this is a community that predated the Arab conquest of Libya by centuries.

"The Jews who were forced to leave Arab countries, numbering nearly a million people, are the forgotten victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict."

These refugees shouldn't be forgotten. Their story is critical to understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Letter from a forgotten Jew by David Harris

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