Wednesday, April 25, 2012

At last, Israel's UN envoy speaks of Jewish refugees

Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries at last made their way into the international spotlight, when Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to the UN, spoke about them at a debate on the Middle East at the UN Security Council on 23 April. He repeats the point at a subsequent press conference:




Here is what Ron Prosor said about Jewish refugees at the Security Council debate:


"Madame President,

"There is another great truth that this organization has completely overlooked for the past 64 years. In all of the pages that the UN has written about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, in all of its reports and fact-finding commissions, and in all of the hours dedicated to debate about the Middle East, there is one great untold story. Or - to be more specific - there are more than 850,000 untold stories.

"More than 850,000 Jews have been uprooted from their homes in Arab countries during the past 64 years. These were vibrant communities dating back 2,500 years. On the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Babylonian Jewry produced many of Judaism's holiest books - and thrived for two millennia. In the great synagogues and libraries of Cairo, Jews preserved the intellectual and scientific treasures of antiquity into the Renaissance. From Aleppo to Aden to Alexandria, Jews stood out as some of the greatest artists, musicians, businessmen, and writers.

"All of these communities were wiped out. Age-old family businesses and properties were confiscated. Jewish quarters were destroyed. Pogroms left synagogues looted, graveyards desecrated and thousands dead. The pages that the UN has written about the Palestinian refugees could fill up soccer stadiums, but not a drop of ink has been spilled about the Jewish refugees.

"Out of over 1088 UN resolutions on the Middle East, you will not find a single syllable regarding the displacement of Jewish refugees. There have been more than 172 resolutions exclusively devoted to Palestinian refugees, but not one dedicated to Jewish refugees. The Palestinian refugees have their own UN agency, their own information program, and their own department within the United Nations. None exist for the Jewish refugees. The word "double-standard" does not even begin to describe this gap.

"This discrepancy is very convenient for some in this Chamber, but it's not right. The time has come for the UN to end its complicity in trying to erase the stories of 850,000 people from history. The time has also come to speak openly in these halls about the Arab World's role in maintaining the Palestinians as refugees for more than six decades.

"Jews from Arab countries came to refugee camps in Israel, which eventually gave birth to thriving towns and cities. Refugee camps in Arab Countries gave birth to more Palestinian refugees. Israel welcomed its Jewish refugees with citizenship and unlocked their vast potential. As they rose to the highest levels of society, our refugees lifted the State of Israel to new heights.

"Imagine if Arab countries had done the same with their Palestinian refugees. Instead, they have cynically perpetuated their status as refugees, for generation after generation. Across the Arab world, Palestinians have been denied citizenship, rights and opportunities.

"All of these are facts that must be neither forgotten nor overlooked, as we look to move forward on the path to peace."

Read speech in full

Article in the Jewish Chronicle

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

High time. Thank you Israel!