Saturday, November 23, 2013

Save archive, says UN refugee conference

From left to right: Ambassador Ron Prosor, World Jewish Congress’ Robert Singer, witness Levana Zamir, Minister Silvan Shalom, witness Linda Menuhin, former president of the Aleppo Jewish Communty Tofic Kassap, former ambassador Ron Lauder, Sylvain Abitbol of the Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, Rabbi Elie Abadie of NYC’s the Edmund J Safra Synagogue (photo credit: courtesy of the Israeli Mission to the UN)

Several media carry reports on the Israel government/World Jewish Congress/JJAC meeting at the UN Headquarters on 21 November. As well as urging more attention for Jewish refugees, speakers called for the Iraqi Jewish archive not to be sent back to an uncertain fate in Iraq. The Algemeiner reports:

Israeli Minister of Energy and Water Silvan Shalom, whose grandfather was once the leader of the Jewish community of Gabes, Tunisia, said, “Over the last 65 years, the U.N. and its agencies have spent tens of billions of dollars on Palestinian refugees, but not a cent on Jewish refugees.”

 Ron Prosor, Israeli ambassador to the U.N., noted that since 1947 there have been 687 U.N. resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including 101 that speak specifically of Palestinian refugees, but no resolutions on Jewish refugees.
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, reiterated a recent statement by 42 groups on the fate of the Iraqi Jewish Archive, a collection of artifacts recovered from the basement of the Iraqi intelligence ministry and restored by the U.S. government that are currently on display in Washington, DC, but afterward are set to return to the Iraqi government despite the belief that Iraq stole them from the Jewish community.
“We urge our government not to send them back to an uncertain fate in Iraq, where hundreds of holy Torah scrolls remain in disuse and decay,” Hoenlein said.
Prosor told regarding the Iraqi archive, “There were a lot of resources and assets put together in order to compile it the way it is, it was saved, and we don’t want it to be lost again.” Robert Singer, CEO of the World Jewish Congress, told that the fact that 42 groups signed the statement about the need to protect the archives and make them accessible to Jews shows “a unified position of the Jewish community on this issue.”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder praised the Canadian parliament’s recent recommendation that Canada officially recognize and encourage the need for justice for Jewish refugees from Arab countries as part of any resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“We hope that all countries follow Canada’s lead,” Lauder said.
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Jerusalem Post

Times of Israel 


Yisrael Hayom 


Jewish Weekly

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