Wednesday, August 31, 2005

How much did the Jews lose?

How many Jewish refugees were there? 870,000 (not including refugees from Iran). [Palestinian refugees: estimates vary between 400,000 and 700,000.]

How much did the Jews lose? No official figures exist. The property and belongings of the Jewish refugees, confiscated by the Arab governments, has been conservatively estimated at about $2.5 billion in 1948 dollars. Invest that money at a modest 6.5% over 57 years and you have today a sum of $80 billion.

In an interview in June 2007, 'Righting a historical injustice', Dr Heskel Haddad of WOJAC estimated that the value of Jewish property seized at today's prices is between $200 and 300 billion. In an article dated 13 February 2003, Itamar Levin of Globes Online estimated the value of Jewish property lost at $30 billion, with that seized in Iraq, Syria and Egypt alone at between $8 - $10 billion. Article in French here.

Some claim that Jewish property lost in Iraq alone amounts to $20 billion.

Palestinians: in the early 1950s, the UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine estimated the value of lost Palestinian property at £122 million, or approximately $1.85 billion 1990 US dollars. This was the only independent study ever done of Palestinian losses. In 1999, the Palestinians presented a $670 billion compensations claim before the European Union Commission for lost assets, use of those assets and emotional distress (p.223 Locked doors by Itamar Levin).

Jewish-owned land lost in Arab countries:38,625 sq miles
[By way of comparison, Israel's total land area is 7,992 square miles.] WOJAC has also estimated deeded property lost in Arab lands to cover 100,000 According to a UN report of 20 November 1951, Palestinian land lost amounted to 6,3027 sq.miles (16,324 sq km), of which 1,766 sq. miles were cultivable.]

Background reading:
Jewish property in Iraq, Egypt and Syria:can it be retrieved in court? by Itamar Levin ( Justice no.36, summer 2003, page 9)
Israel tallies up compensation claims by Iraqi Jews by Michael Fischbach (book review here)
Locked doors:the seizure of Jewish property in Arab lands by Itamar Levin - book review
BICOM report: The Middle East's ignored Jewish refugees
Private property: keep out! by Peter Hirschberg
Jews who fled Arab lands now press their cause - San Francisco Chronicle
The other side of the refugee coin - Time magazine
Other must-read articles

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