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.
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