Wednesday, August 01, 2012
New Bill will force US to act on Jewish refugees
Update: the news from Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC) that the Bill has been 'dropped' is great news! The term 'drop' is a legal term meaning that it was accepted.
In a major new development, a cross-party Bill on rights for Jewish refugees from Arab countries has been introduced in the House of Representatives in the US Congress this week. This Bill, which would be binding on the United States Government has, as original co-sponsors, Congressmen Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) (pictured), Ileana Ross Lehtinen (R- Fl), Howard Berman (D-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), Joe Crowley (D-NY), and Bob Turner (R-NY).
In its wording, the Bill recalls Congressional Resolution no 185 of 2008. The difference would be that, if passed, it would have the force of law. Another revolutionary aspect is that the Bill raises expectations of, and requires action by, the United States:
Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every two years thereafter, the President will be required to submit to Congress a report on what actions have been taken to include the Jewish refugee issue in its statements.
In the US Senate, a similar Bill has been drafted. To date, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R- IL) have agreed to be the lead cosponsors. It is hoped that the Senate Bill will be introduced this week as well.
Ynet News interviewed each of the sponsoring Congressmen for their reactions:
"The suffering and terrible injustices visited upon Jewish refugees in the Middle East needs to be acknowledged," said Nadler. "It is simply wrong to recognize the rights of Palestinian refugees without recognizing the rights of nearly one million Jewish refugees, who suffered terrible outrages at the hands of their former compatriots. This no-nonsense legislation would help secure equal treatment of Palestinian and Jewish refugees."
"Ros-Lehtinen added that "Jewish refugees who were forced to flee Arab countries and Iran endured unimaginable hardships. Their plight has been ignored by the United Nations, other international bodies, and many responsible nations. Any comprehensive Middle East peace agreement can only be credible and enduring if it resolves all issues related to the rights of all refugees in the Arab world and Iran, including Jews, Christians and others."
"According to Berman, "The double standard of acknowledging Palestinian refugees, while ignoring Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, is unacceptable. In any discussion of a peace settlement, Jewish refugees deserve consideration and compensation equal to that of Palestinian refugees. Without such parity, there can be no meaningful justice and thus no legitimate peace."
"Congressman Poe argued that "every refugee, regardless of ethnicity, is worthy of human dignity and respect. The United States should not be playing favorites by advocating for one group of refugees over another. It is time that we publicly recognize the struggle of all displaced groups, including the Jewish and Christian refugees. They are by definition a people that do not have a voice and need our help."
"Turner stated that the "plight of Jewish refugees in the Middle East is often inexplicably and unconscionably overlooked. The nearly one million exiled Jewish refugees in the Middle East suffered at the hands of their compatriots and their hardships cannot continue to go unrecognized. This bill will work correct this injustice and provide equal recognition of rights for Jewish refugees."
Read article in full
Below Point of No Return reproduces the key recommendations of the US Congress Bill:
Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every two years thereafter, the President shall submit to Congress a report on the following:
Actions the executive branch has taken to fulfill the sense of the House of Representatives, as contained in paragraph (2) of the first section of House Resolution 185 (as passed the House of Representatives on April 1, 2008) and described in section 1(10)(B) of this Act.
Actions the executive branch has taken to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to ensure that any statements that include a reference to the required resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue by the Quartet on the Middle East, which includes the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia, must also include a similarly explicit reference to the resolution of the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.
Assistance the United States has provided to Israel to help it accomplish its goal that the interests of Jews displaced from Arab countries are considered in any final settlement of the Middle East refugee question that is part of any comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.
Recommended actions that would ensure that the interests of all refugees displaced from Arab countries, including Jews, Christians, and other groups, are considered in any final settlement of the Middle East refugee question that is part of any comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.
World Jewish Congress applauds US Congressional initiative
Same article in Haaretz
Same report in Jerusalem Post