Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jewish refugees bill has 39 co-sponsors

A bill addressing the rights of Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries during Israel’s war of independence was scheduled to come up for discussion in the House of Representatives last week but has been delayed in committee, the New Jersey Jewish Standard reports.

"Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced House Res. 185 last February and it has waited to come before the Foreign Affairs Committee. It had been scheduled for mark-up last Wednesday but the death of the committee’s chair, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), last week delayed the bill’s retrieval from its yearlong limbo.

"Despite the delay, the resolution’s author remained steadfast in his support.

"We must recognize the rights of Jewish refugees — the forced exile of Jewish refugees from Arab lands must not be omitted from the public dialogue on the peace process," Nadler said in a statement to The Jewish Standard. "My resolution, which enjoys bipartisan support, would help bring recognition to these forgotten refugees. I am hopeful that Congress will adopt this resolution in a timely manner."

"As of Wednesday, the bill had 39 co-sponsors, including Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9).

"Any comprehensive Middle East peace agreement that only addresses Palestinians would be shamefully and inexcusably incomplete," Rothman said in a statement to the Standard. "The plight of nearly 1 million Jews, Christians, and other minority groups displaced from Arab countries since the birth of Israel in 1948 must also be recognized and addressed."

"The bill, according to a Nadler spokesman, should come up the next time the Foreign Affairs Committee meets. The spokesman did not know when that would be, though.

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