Canada Urged to Recognize Jewish Refugees

The Jewish lobby calls on Canada to adopt parliamentary committee's recommendations to recognize Jewish refugees from Middle East.

Dalit Halevi, Ari Yashar ,

Illustration: Yemenite Family
Illustration: Yemenite Family
INN: American Colony

Shimon Fogel, chairman of the Canadian Center for Israel and Jewish affairs, called on the Canadian government to adopt the recommendations of a parliamentary committee which urges the recognition of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

The recommendations are from the committee for foreign policy, which prepared an extensive report on Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa since the mid-1900s. Last week an executive summary of the report was presented to members of parliament, reports Shalom Toronto.

Roughly 800,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries around the time of the establishment of Israel in 1948. The assets they were forced to leave behind are valued at $4.4 billion.

The report includes two recommendations to the Canadian government. The first is that the government "officially recognize the reality that Jewish refugees experienced when they were uprooted from their residence in Middle Eastern countries and North Africa after 1948."

The second recommendation calls on the government to "urge sources managing direct negotiations to include all of the refugee populations as part of the overall and just arrangements relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israeli-Arab conflict."

Fogel wrote in a blog that the report is an important milestone in the ongoing efforts of the lobby to bring a change to Canada's policy concerning the Middle East. The Jewish lobby is cooperating on the issue with the organization Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC).

"If Canada will take the logical step and listen to the committee's advice, Canada's influence as a reliable voice in the international arena can help create a balance in the discussion about refugees in the Middle East, and encourage an historic self-accounting necessary to achieving a viable peace," writes Fogel.

Israel itself has been slow in addressing the issue of Jewish refugees.

Just this month a new Knesset Lobby was established to advocate the rights of Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands.

In contrast the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been actively pursuing benefits and "rights of return" for "Palestinian refugees" that left Israel in 1948 during the War for Independence. Refugee status was granted even to those that had only been in Israel for 2 years.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas recently said there would be no peace deal unless the now 5 million "Palestinian refugees" were allowed to repatriate to Israel, effectively wiping Israel off the map.