Jewish refugees arriving in Israel from an Arab country
With less than a week to go before the opening of the Zochrot bi-annual conference advocating the Palestinian 'right of return' of millions of Arab refugees to Israel, battle lines between its supporters and detractors have been drawn.
Zochrot ('remembrance') is a leftist group which aims to gain recognition and accountability in Israel for the Palestinian 'Nakba'.
Its conference is provocatively scheduled to take place on 29 and 30 September at the Eretz Israel Museum in the heart of Ramat Aviv, the supposed site of Sheikh Munis, an Arab village whose 2,000 inhabitants fled the 1948 war.
Efforts to get the conference shut down have so far failed. Im Tirzu, a Zionist group, has been trying to get Zochrot itself shut down for advocating the destruction of Israel by altering its Jewish character.
NGO Monitor has published a report pointing to European government funding for the Zochrot conference. The sponsors, mainly religious foundations, have been evasive about disclosing how much of the European taxpayer's money they were contributing to Zochrot. Two organisations denied they were supporting the conference, but have not withdrawn their names.
An article in Haaretz has dismissed criticism of Zochrot's campaign for Palestinian refugees as 'envy'. But Zvi Gabay, also writing in Haaretz ('The selective memory of Zochrot' - Hebrew) says that the Palestinian Nakba must be viewed alongside the parallel tragedy of Jewish refugees forced from Arab countries. Gabay is envious of the fact that the Palestinian refugees have an NGO to fight for their interests in Israel. No such group exists in Iraq - or in any Arab country - to fight for the rights of the much greater number of Jewish refugees.
Lyn Julius writing in the Times of Israel says that a conference for Jewish refugees happening in Baghdad would be unthinkable. The participants would be run out of the city.