Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lord Weidenfeld, JJAC vice president, dies

 Tributes have been pouring in to George Weidenfeld, publisher, raconteur, international personality and philanthropist, who has died  aged 96. Lord Weidenfeld, a refugee from the Nazis in Austria, was concerned until his death with the plight of refugees. It is not generally known that he was a UK honorary vice-president of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries.

Lord Weidenfeld

The Jewish Post reported on the launch of JJAC in 2002:

"Justice for Jewish from Arab Countries (JJAC) was formed under the auspices of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, World Jewish Congress (WJC), and the American Sephardi Federation (ASF). ... The primary goals of JJAC are: 1) to educate public opinion on the causes, and plight, of Jews displaced from Arab countries; and 2) to advocate for, and secure rights and redress for, Jews from Arab lands who suffered as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.

"Providing a historical context for the claims held by many former Jewish refugees from Arab countries, Lord George Weidenfeld, a member of the House of Lords in the UK and a noted media personality in Europe, detailed how Jews in substantial numbers resided in Arab countries over 1,000 years before the advent of Islam. In 1948, there were nearly 1 million Jews living in Arab countries, whereas today, there remain a few thousand."

Last year  Lord Weidenfeld, who was rescued from Nazi-occupied Austria and transported to Britain by Christians in 1938,  pledged to fund the rescue of Syrian and Iraqi Christian refugees who are suffering at the hands of ISIS. He had "a debt to repay,” he told Britain’s The Times.

Richard Holbrooke, champion of refugees

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