The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel scored an own goal when it inadvertently promoted the cause of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. ( This is not the first time that a photo of Jewish refugees has been hijacked). On World Refugee Day, it attempted to draw attention to Palestinian refugees by sending out a photo of Jewish refugees in a transit camp in Israel. The photo was re-tweeted by COSATU, the South African Trade Union group. Story in the Algemeiner (With thanks: Michelle)
The photo used by BDS shows Jewish, not Arab refugees.
The group’s gaffe was mocked by several commentators on Twitter, one of whom sarcastically wrote,
“Thank you Cosatu for bringing to the world attention the plight of
Jewish refugees exiled from their homes in the 40’s and 50’s. Truly
doing good work!!”
The issue of Palestinian refugees dates back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli
War, when five Arab armies invaded the Jewish state less than a day
after it declared independence. Some 750,000 Palestinians left or were
expelled from their homes during the fighting, and they and their
descendants are today considered refugees.
That year also saw the beginning of an exodus of an estimated 850,000
Jews from across the greater Middle East, whose communities were
targeted with antisemitic pogroms and discriminatory laws following
Israel’s creation. A majority of the refugees — hailing from countries
including Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Morocco, and
Libya — were resettled in Israel, where their descendants now make up
half of the Jewish population. Others made their way to the United
States and Europe.
Yet the issue of Palestinian refugees — which today number over five
million, according to the United Nations — remains unsolved, and their
“right of return” to Israel is a central tenant of the BDS campaign.
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