Capital news from Capitol Hill: new resolutions on Jewish refugees have been re-introduced in the recently-elected US Congress House of Representatives and Senate.
Here is the press release from Justice for Jews from Arab Countries:
WASHINGTON, DC (February 20, 2007) - Rarely is any consensus reached on final status issues in the Middle East peace process. Yet, remarkably, US Congressional leaders have agreed on the rights of Jewish refugees displaced from Arab countries.
In a rare display of bi-partisanship, four Senators and four Congressmen, representing both political parties, have introduced landmark Resolutions on Middle East refugees that call attention to the fact that Jews living in Arab countries suffered human rights violations, were uprooted from their homes, and were made refugees. These Resolutions signify that "it would be inappropriate and unjust for the United States to recognize rights for Palestinian refugees without recognizing equal rights for former Jewish, Christian, and other refugees from Arab countries.
On February 16, 2007, formal bicameral resolutions were introduced in the Senate (S.Res 85) and in the House (H.Res 185). These far-reaching Resolutions seek to ensure that all victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict are treated with equality, including Jewish, Christian and other refugees from countries in the Middle East, North Africa and the Persian Gulf. Concretely, the Resolutions urge the President to ensure that in all international forums, when the issue of 'Middle East refugees are discussed, representatives of the United States should ensure:
"That any explicit reference to Palestinian refugees is matched by a similar explicit reference to Jewish and other refugees, as a matter of law and equity."
This bi-partisan effort is being spearheaded in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) along with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); Rep. Michael Ferguson (R-NJ); and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY). In the Senate, sponsors are Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ); Trent Lott (R-MS); Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN); and Sen. Richard Durbin. The Resolutions will be the strongest declarations adopted by the U.S. Congress, on the rights of Jewish and others refugees that were forced to flee Arab countries.
"When the Middle East peace process is discussed, Palestinian refugees are often addressed. However, Jewish refugees outnumbered Palestinian refugees, and their forced exile from Arab lands must not be omitted from public discussion on the peace process. It is simply not right to recognize the rights of Palestinian refugees without recognizing the rights of Jewish refugees," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
"There can be no true and lasting peace in the Middle East unless the legitimate claims of all refugees displaced by the years of conflict are recognized by the international community," said Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN).
"Large numbers of both Arabs and Jews have been forced to flee their countries and it is only right and equitable that the President acknowledge and include Jewish and other refugees in any discussion of Palestinian refugees in pursuing this issue in the international arena."
"It would be constitute an injustice were the United States to recognize rights for one victim population - Palestinian refugees - without recognizing equal rights former Jewish refugees from Arab countries" said Stanley Urman, Executive Director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries. "Both were victims of the very same Middle East conflict and the rights of Jewish refugees must be addressed."