21
Jun
08

Justice for Jewish Refugees?

This debate is now closed.  Thankyou for all your comments.  For the rest of this week, you can listen again to the discussion on the Newshour programme on Saturday 21 June via the Newshour homepage at bbcworldservice.com (go to the ‘7 day listen again’ link).

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Before 1947 there were nearly 1 million Mizrahi or Eastern Jews living from Morocco to Bukhara. Iraq was an ancient centre of Mizra Jewry, and Jews made up 1 in 6 of Baghdad’s population. 

Today only a few tens of thousands of Jews still live in Arab and Islamic countries. But moves are afoot to have the suffering of Mizrahi Jews recognized and for their community to be given compensation for their losses.

The Mizrahi Jews left and were expelled from their homes in the years after the creation of the state of Israel.  But should they be treated as refugees and should their cause be linked to that of the Palestinians? 

But why now? Is the wish to highlight an old story an attempt to neutralize the claims of Palestinians or is this the last chance to hear the stories of a dying generation from a vanished world?

On Saturday Newshour will be discussing the past, fate and cause of the Mizrahi Jews. We shall be asking whether the Jews from Arab countries need justice, and if so from whom?

We want to hear your views on this subject: write and tell us what you think.


142 Responses to “Justice for Jewish Refugees?”


  1. 1 steve
    June 17, 2008 at 18:05

    Perhaps you can get Syed to be a guest on the show, he often comments about “imported jews” in the middle east. The reality is that Israel integrated these jews into Israeli society, and didn’t deprive them of citizenship, nor forced them into refugee camps like the palestinians’ “arab brothers” did to them. I think what will happen is that the claims of palestinians refugees will be counteracted by the claims of the jews kicked out of muslim countries, will call it even, and then they can form their respective palestinian state besides israel, hopefully in peace.

  2. June 17, 2008 at 19:09

    Hi… Any human being who’s been driven out of his home by force and deprived of his possessions, whether Palestinian or Jewish, does deserve a compensation… As a Baghdadi citizen, I say to all Iraqi Jews : Inshallah when things in Iraq get better, your places are always preserved here, in your original country Iraq where your original roots belong… Here is the reality of your existence… Here is home guys… Every Iraqi immigrant’s dream is to come back home again, no matter how much time has passed or will pass… May all of you guys come back home again honoured and dignified, Amen ! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  3. 3 Zak
    June 17, 2008 at 19:30

    That’s a very generous statement Lubna, unfortunately I don’t think as many people are as enlightened as you so the movement of Jews back to Iraq will be very slow if at all.

    Perhaps the issue comes down to individual families. If families have direct relative claims to the land then absolutely they should be compensated. But how would you do that without allocating for a group. Ideally it could happen but in reality I know my ancestors and many Jews looked to America for that homeland. There’s also an argument to say that people should go where they are freely accepted until the world comes to see them as equal.

    So that is the ultimate question, do enough people in Arab countries see Jewish homeland as beneficently as Lubna? Asking people to march back into oppression is no more practical now than it was then.

  4. 4 Rashid Patch
    June 17, 2008 at 20:09

    After 1948, throughout the Middle East and the Maghrib, Jewish communities were entreated by Zionists to leave their homes and move to Israel. Many did; but those who did not were then harshly castigated as traitors to Jewry.

    Arabs angered by the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians reacted against Jews throughout the Middle East. But I have also been told by Jews from Morocco, and from Iraq, that they were physically attacked by Zionists for not wanting to move to Israel, when it needed to increase its’ Jewish population; and that their synagogues and homes were vandalized, burned, or bombed by Zionists – not by Arabs – in order to drive them out of their home countries, and to force them to emigrate to Israel. Under pressure from both Arabs and Zionists, they went to Israel, and then left it when they were able.

    When Egypt expelled about 40,000 Jews after the Suez crisis (claiming they represented a “5th column” of potential traitors), Jews throughout the Muslim world feared similar expulsions. Many of the Mizrahim in the Maghrib went directly to Europe, and many Levantine Mizrahim – from Syria and Lebanon – went to the U.S., avoiding Israel altogether. Mizrahi Jews still experience considerable discrimination in the strongly Ashkenazi-centric Israeli society.

    There is definitely a long-term propaganda effort on the part of Zionists to distract attention from the situation of Palestinians, and to shift sympathy to Jews. This propaganda is openly discussed and commented upon in the Jewish press and media in Israel and the U.S.

  5. June 17, 2008 at 20:15

    The case of Moroccan Jews is quite different from those in the rest of the Arab world. It’s a historical fact that late Morocco’s King Mohammed V protected Moroccan Jews from the Nazis who wanted them deported from Morocco. Moroccan Jews enjoyed protection under Moroccan monarchs. They were never forced to leave Morocco when Israel was created in 1948. The remaining Jews in Morocco were better-off.

    When King Hassan II died in 1999, Moroccan Jews living in Israel mourned his death: http://www.jewishaz.com/jewishnews/990730/king.shtml .

    Recently, Moroccan Jews who migrated have regained their lands they left behind in rural areas.
    In Marrakesh and other cities, they used to live in Mellah : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mellah . Before their departure, the Jews sold their houses. A few remained. Until some years ago, there used to be 10,000 Jews in Morocco, the largest Jewish community in the Arab World. Now their number is down to 5,000 because of young Jews immigration to mainly Europe and the USA.

    Moroccan Jews didn’t sever their relations with Morocco. There is the World Council of Moroccan Jews. Many Jews still yearly come to Morocco to celebrate their religious rites, the most famous of which is Hailoula http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/040511/2004051129.html

    Maybe Jews can ask for compensations from those who confiscate their properties. It is also interesting to know that the largest community of Jews in the Middle East (totalling 30,000 Jews) is is in Iran, the first enemy of Israel.

    As far as Morocco is concerned, Moroccan Jews are free to come back. They’re still considered as Moroccans.

  6. 6 Dennis
    June 17, 2008 at 20:17

    There should be justice for the Jewish Refugees and also for everyone else….

    Dennis
    OCC
    Syracuse, New York
    USA

  7. 7 AFB
    June 17, 2008 at 20:39

    Maybe the Zionist movement was not good for all Jews?

    This comes down to Ahmadinejad’s question about who should pay for Europe’s sins? And, it is very true that under Ottoman empire there were not these problems, until the territory was divided by powers of Europe and USA for nefarious reasons like oil control.

    Interesting that European powers at the time in 1948 were in a position to inflict on the rest of the world the aftermath of their own failings.

    Much the way the West is today inflicting itself on the Global South in the form of food crisis and destabilised currency conditions. As well as of course, wars for Oil and other menaces to living and peace which are increasingly involving everyone. No wonder there is simmering anger releasing itself in occasional bouts of terrorism.

  8. 8 Judie
    June 17, 2008 at 23:08

    This is an important but under reported story. About the same number of Jews left their homes in Arab countries and moved to Israel as the number of Palestinians who left Israel. There were several reasons for the emigration in both situations, though the way the immigrants were treated by their co-religionists were diametrically opposed.

    It’s too bad this story is going to be aired on Saturday when observant Jews will be observing Shabbat and will not be able to either participate or listen to the program.

  9. 9 Shirley
    June 18, 2008 at 02:13

    This is something that I posted on another thread on this very topic.

    I looked up the Jewish exodus from Arab lands. For the most part, it is referenced by extremists or tunnel-visioned groups such as Daniel Pipes, Christian Action for Israel, Palestine Facts, Middle East Facts, and Free Republic. I am on page four of my Google search for Jewish people expelled from Arab countries; and only Wikipedia comes up as a source without its own pre-set agenda.

    “The migration started in the late 19th century, but accelerated after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. According to official Arab statistics, 856,000 Jews left their homes in Arab countries from 1948 until the early 1970s.” The longer historical picture before 1948 appears to be mixed. There were periods of tolerance or acceptance; and there were periods of discrimination and persectution. This appears to have reflected the treatment of other minorities by the state and the majority population around the world at the time.

    The reason that the time is interesting to me is because the rise in the mistreatment of Arab Jews coincides with the strengthening and mobilisation of the zionist movement. Has it occurred to anyone that people in the Arab would might get upset that part of their lands might be set aside exclusively for a homeland for a people who were not native to the region? This is the reason that tensions were increasing in Palestine before the final Partition Plan as set out by UNGA Resolution 181 of 29 November 1947. Before the zionist movement began to mobilise towards the establishment of their own state on Palestinian land to the exclusion of the Palestinian people, the Jewish people in Palestine were generally accepted. It was understood that they were fleeing persecution in their own countries and needed a safe haven. When the threat of the changing of that safe haven into an exclusive homeland was perceived, reactions began and tensions flared.

    I view the historical maltreatment of Jews in Muslim countries as unfortunate, because I would have hoped that Muslim rulers would have been more accommodating towards ethic and religious minorities. Then again, I look back at the slaughter of the descendants of Prophet Muhammad and their supporters who clung to the belief that Imam `Ali, not Caliph Abu Bakr was the true successor of Prophet Muhammad, and it becomes obvious that this sidelining and persecution of the minority was already the status quo in most historical Islamic states. I believe that Jewish people, and any others who are persectuted in other parts of the world on account of their ethnic or religious status, should be able to find refuge in a Muslim country. It does bother me that Muslim rulers historically often fell in step with the rest of the world in their treatment of minorities. Indeed, there were good times, but the bad times cannot be ignored.

    What is confusing about the argument of the Jewish exodus from the Arab world is that if we did return those Jewish emigres in the same way that we we would like to see Palestinian exiles to be returned, the Jewish refugees would almost certainly be persecuted all over again. Just because the leaders of Arab countries claim the title “Muslim” does not mean that they have any intention of acting Islamically. If we have rapists, murderers, and usurers as leaders in Muslim countries, then how can we expect them to be held to the Islamic standards of the treatment of the minority and politically weak?

    In my opinion, the best solution would be to abide by the expectations normally held of democratic societies: compensate those wronged, return to them what is theirs, and work towards the removal of racist barriers and abuses.

  10. 10 AFB
    June 18, 2008 at 03:17

    Shirley so so interesting.

    Only thing is that treatment of minorities by majorities in every society of the world is pretty much universally the way you describe it in this case. It seems to me that anyone choosing to behave differently from the dominant may at times get hit by a backlash. This is true of ethnic minorities in most societies when a tipping point is tipped, as well as other kinds of persecuted groups like women, pagans, gays or church reformers, or ‘liberals’ or whoever happens to catch the ire or challenge a status quo feeling attacked. Nationalist or Liberation movements when they become political are particularly vulnerable to this reaction. The Western Religions make much in their holy texts about ethnic groups, domination, national building, separation, like the ones you mentioned in Islam, favoritism, nepotism, etc. Each of the majors have their own great bloody rivalries. So, I feel we get it honest in our acculturation. There is a little in each tradition that can be counted as true Spirituality which truly transforms an individual who practices, but it is always wrapped in a violent National Origin Narrative Myth.

    Minority groups like Judaism will suffer from time to time, just like Romany are suffering again now in Europe, Zimbabweans in SAfrica, and Muslim minorities suffer widely in Europe, US, and Australia because of the “liberation” movement undertaken by Al Qaida and other groups against what they perceive to be continued unadulterated oppression by Western Imperialists or their Agents. Even when Nationalism and Separation Movements became apparent in for Yugoslavia, Muslims suffered at the hands of the dominant avowing themselves to be ‘christian’. The only difference is there is no Nationalist movement for Romany, they have no voice, and take no collective action, yet they still get beat up for Millennia.

    Inherent in Judaism is ‘separation’ from others and the dominant culture and other self-referential self-preservation practices which can be interpreted as Political when the mood strikes. This has been the dilemma since the Roman Empire when Romans couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about Idols in Temples when everyone was enjoying Pax Romana and making money, including Judeans in diaspora and Judeans at home in their Temple System, which worked much like Mecca works today for Muslims in diaspora the world over. And also dietary laws that precluded participation in Feasts and the kind of Relationship building that entails, which would have worked wonders as it did for all the other Tribes. Herod Antipas was accused of being a Roman because he was assimilated and was a part of Roman society. Perhaps known today as the ‘self-hating’ Jew. Other religious sects to that too, but they are much under the radar of politics, so don’t suffer too much.

    I have seen scholars say that it may be that a big problem for the Nationalist movements in Europe in the 1930s was the People from the Pale of Settlement (i.e. Jews) in Russia were perceived as becoming political in their own Emancipation Process from Tsarist Era Tyranny and supporting the Leninist movement which was a threat to the fledgling ‘democracies’ in Mittel and Ost-Europa after 1918 and the resultant Abdications, Assassinations, and De-Thronements of age old Monarchies in place since the Holy Roman Empire.

    This kind of ‘political’ involvement is one prospective driver of the current conservative and isolationist movements in Judaism which regard the Shoah as a result of Assimilation and Politicization in the Wider non-Jewish World in which they “had no business”. It is also a major barrier to Jews participating in a Universalist Spiritual Movement which may be emerging from the ashes of Christianity in Europe, and other Post-Church Western Democracies.

    In my view, the solution is for all of us to join one Humanity in our minds, and leave behind the binds of legacy with enslavement, tribal competition for natural resources and land, and hypocritical “religious” practices masquerading as Faith. The Great Integrity or other such Creative Force really is driving Metaphysically and Quantum Mechanically toward Unity!

  11. 11 Ahmed Arwo
    June 18, 2008 at 03:58

    Why only Jewish of Arabia? Let all Jews get the right to go back to their countries prior to their genocide in Germany. That is undiluted justice and the key to the solution of the middle east. It will redress unfair treatment of the Jews and same will be done automatically to the millions of Palestinian refugees. The selective, biased and partial application of justice to one sector of humanity tantamount to gross violation of life old laws and norms of human dignity. Human kind should be treated equally under the law.

    I do support to repartiate Jewish and non-jewish refugees inorder to suppress any tendency of exploitation of minorities in any nation. he notion that anyone that claims to be a Jew has the right to go to Palastine, while those who born and bread in Palastine are kicked out of their homes with no return, is inhuman and far from the norms of democracy as claimed by Isreal. The Jew and Arabs are brothers and used to live side by side through out the Middle East. That was disturbed by creation of a Jewish state where citizens of the land were forcefully replaced by refugees from Europe. Today even Jewish Arabs are discriminated in Isreal forget about Arab Isrealies who despite their number ( 35% of Isrealies), are treated 3rd class citizens. Do not get confused with Palestinians. Those are Arabs with Isreali citizenship. What kind of democracy is it, where citizens have unequal rights? Doesn’t that what used to be apartheid in South AFRICA.

    Humanity can sort world problems with application of justiced in equal doses where ever its remedy is needed. Let us stop double standards, and instead of pick and choose policies, establish a strong and sound rules and standards to up hold human brotherhood in securing universal rights of life in dignity.

  12. 12 Bryan
    June 18, 2008 at 11:01

    Lubna June 17, 2008 at 7:09 pm,

    “Any human being who’s been driven out of his home by force and deprived of his possessions, whether Palestinian or Jewish, does deserve a compensation.”

    How many Arabs who left were driven out and how many left willingly, at the urging of the commanders of the surrounding Arab armies to get out of the way so that they could return and “claim all of Palestine once the Jews had been driven into the sea?”

    Rashid Patch June 17, 2008 at 8:09 pm,

    “Arabs angered by the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians reacted against Jews throughout the Middle East. But I have also been told by Jews from Morocco, and from Iraq, that they were physically attacked by Zionists for not wanting to move to Israel, when it needed to increase its’ Jewish population; and that their synagogues and homes were vandalized, burned, or bombed by Zionists – not by Arabs – in order to drive them out of their home countries, and to force them to emigrate to Israel. Under pressure from both Arabs and Zionists, they went to Israel, and then left it when they were able.”

    Be good to see some links here to that information.

    AFB June 17, 2008 at 8:39 pm,

    “This comes down to Ahmadinejad’s question about who should pay for Europe’s sins?”

    They were also others’ sins. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, for example, carried out massacres of Jews in Palestine and actively supported the Nazis:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=Grand+Mufti+of+Jerusalem+Meets+Hitler&btnG=Google+Search

    Shirley June 18, 2008 at 2:13 am,

    So because Daniel Pipes and others support Israel they can’t present objective historical fact? Have you given them a chance and read them?

    “Has it occurred to anyone that people in the Arab would might get upset that part of their lands might be set aside exclusively for a homeland for a people who were not native to the region?”

    This assumes that Arabs are one homogenous mass with no national identities or boundaries between countries. What right do Libyans, for example, have to consider Palestine as “their” land? And what about the Jews who were native to the region?

    Ahmed Arwo June 18, 2008 at 3:58 am

    “ he notion that anyone that claims to be a Jew has the right to go to Palastine, while those who born and bread in Palastine are kicked out of their homes with no return, is inhuman and far from the norms of democracy as claimed by Isreal.”

    Again, what about those Arabs who left voluntarily so that the Jews could be “driven into the sea?”

    “The Jew and Arabs are brothers and used to live side by side through out the Middle East.”

    Yes and no.

    “That was disturbed by creation of a Jewish state where citizens of the land were forcefully replaced by refugees from Europe. Today even Jewish Arabs are discriminated in Isreal forget about Arab Isrealies who despite their number (35% of Isrealies), are treated 3rd class citizens.”

    Totally untrue. Arab Israelis have full rights in Israel. There is complete freedom of religion in Israel for Muslims and Christians as well as Jews. There are Israeli Arab members of parliament and an Israeli Arab cabinet minister. And Israeli Arabs run successful businesses, many in the construction industry, building for Jews and Arabs alike.

    The condition under which Jews of Morocco live, as described by Abdelilah Boukili June 17, 2008 at 8:15 pm, is a notable exception to their treatment in other Arab countries. Perhaps Tunisia is also an exception. The apartheid state of Saudi Arabia doesn’t apply since Jews are not allowed to set foot there, leave alone live there. And it is interesting that Israel has a thriving Israeli Arab community of well over a million people while Arab country after Arab country that you look at has only pitiful remnants of their Jewish communities, if any, mostly living under oppression.

    Zak June 17, 2008 at 7:30 pm has a good point when he says,

    “Asking people to march back into oppression is no more practical now than it was then.”

    This is of course what would mostly happen to Jews allowed to return to their homes in Arab lands. But Arabs allowed to return to Israel would live in complete freedom because Israel truly is a democracy. The problem is, of course, that they would overwhelm Israel and it would then be a majority Arab and Muslim country. And that would leave the Jews of Israel as an oppressed minority in their own land, or worse, simply because of Muslim intolerance of other peoples and other faiths.

  13. June 18, 2008 at 14:28

    Hi… I’d love someone to answer this question for me : What’s the percentage of the Arab Jewish people who had left to Israel willingly because they had that firm religious belief that Israel was actually their real homeland ?! And since when exactly did that start ?! During 1948 or many years before 1948 (may be since the 19th century)?! Are there any trust-worthy documented figures from trust-worthy neutral, and unbiased resources ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  14. 14 samadoon
    June 18, 2008 at 16:37

    I would like to go back one issue challenged by Bryan. What do you mean Arab Isrealies have equal rights. Do they have equal rights to move and settle any part of their home country, or are they given a restricted area to live,.When any Jew can even crowd into their large prisons. Do they have the right to serve government departments. Even they do receive less social beneffit than the Jew.

    ou are right they have specially created minister, out of the whole cabinet. Is that fair for 35% of the citizens. Yes they are allowed to practise their religion, but do not forget the whole issue of Isreal is to create a Jewish state, where rules and regulations will be followed according to the appeasement of the Jewish religion. When Turkey with 99% moslems is pushed to have a secular constitution, no-one raised a question on Isreali discrimination against non-Jewish citizens.

  15. 15 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 16:45

    35% of Israelis are not arab. To people having a problemwith a jewish state, do you have problem with any of the “Islamic Republic of” countries???

  16. 16 VictorK
    June 18, 2008 at 17:33

    Bryan made the following comment about somebody else’s post, “This assumes that Arabs are one homogenous mass with no national identities or boundaries between countries. What right do Libyans, for example, have to consider Palestine as “their” land? And what about the Jews who were native to the region?”

    Isn’t that exactly how Arabs see themselves? As a single nation, however many different states they may have? There is even a tendency for non-Arab Muslims to think in in similar terms, which is the only explanation for the rage some of them feel about an issue – Palestine – that really has nothing to do with them as Pakistanis or Somalis or Malaysians, but everything to do with them as part of a Muslim world community with a common interest that transcends national boundaries (I think their word for it is ‘umma’). Of course, the same people would be outraged if Western states expressed solidarity with Israel simply because it too is of the West, though their own approach is essentially a matter of tribal loyalty.

    I’ve never been able to understand, given this way of viewing their identity as something universal rather than particular (‘we are all Arabs’ or ‘we are all Muslims’), why the Palestinian issue can’t be addressed on just these terms. The Palestinians should be just as much at home if they were re-settled in any other Arab country (that wanted them), or if one really wanted to push it they should be just as happy being resettled in Indonesia, Bangladesh or any other Muslim country. But Arabs and Muslims can’t have it both ways: if there is a distinct Palestinian identity then this should be treated as a conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, nobody else. If there isn’t such an identity – which is the only basis for all Arabs and all Muslims treating the issue as their very own – then the call for a Palestinian state loses much of its alleged significance.

    The Jewish refugees should receive exactly the same justice as the Palestinian refugees: inflation-indexed compensation for the property they lost on the understanding that they renounce all claims to it. Let the US and EU, as well as Israel, pay the billions owed to the Palestinians; and let the Arab and Muslim states of the world pay the billions owed to the Jews.

  17. June 18, 2008 at 18:27

    David here from the Newshour team.

    Thanks for some fascinating posts. We’ll attempt to answer some of your questions in the discussion on Saturday, but one thing is clear – it’s a complicated and controversial topic.

    My colleague Robin is doing most of the work setting up this one and he’ll be posting some links soon on some of the issues you raise, including Bryan’s. In the meantime:

    Abdelilah, you’re right to say that Morocco is a distinct case. We’ll have a feature from our correspondent there as part of the discussion on Saturday’s programme.

    Lubna, hi again ! We’ll do our best to get an answer to your question about the percentage of Jews from Arab lands who left willingly for Israel.

    AFB, we’ll try and address the role of the Zionist movement and ask – was it good or bad for the Jews from the Arab world?

    Judie, apologies for airing the topic on the Jewish Sabbath. We always run an in-depth discussion on Saturday’s 1300 Newshour but it will most likely get a second outing in the later 2000 Newshour programme the same day, and it will also be accessible online for 7 days via the world service website.

    Do please keep your comments coming….it all helps to focus our thinking as we prepare for the discussion.

  18. 18 Syed Hasan Turab
    June 18, 2008 at 19:55

    According to UN charter Isrial been formed & recognised as Jewish state, I personally dont have any griviences against any religion, colour & race my focus always be humanetrian issues. The way Isrieli Govt is completing his journey from political crises to human tragedy/desaster, being an humanbeing I dont like it & will fight against unhuman acts of any nature of any nation.
    Lable of true Democracy & religious state sound like total FRAUD with humanity & human values. According to the diversity & careless handling of political demand’s essence of religion & Democracy been wiped out by Isrieli Domenating political power i.e. Imported Jewish or Jewish Malishia.
    If we review over all situation Isriel is responsible for all desasterious ground realities in the region including”MIZRAHI”.
    As we all know all this “UGGLY DRAMMA” is going on under supervision, command & controll of “JEWISH COUNSIL”. Infact this counsil know the destination dosent matter what ever is the price & human sufferings as almost two generation of “MIZRAHI & MUSLIMS ” been gone while performing ” JEWISH COUNSIL’S UGGLY DRAMMA”.
    As we all know “JEWISH COUNSIL” is a group of well educated people with negative application of there knowledge & skill. Why these people are bias with prevailing peacefull human society & what is there destenation, there future wild & consperious move will speak out from there future behaviour as former Jewish Malishia or imported Jewish & Isrieli Army are united under Isreli Democratic Flag.
    Any way Barbarism always face worst.

  19. 19 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 20:13

    @ Syed

    Be careful, or else at the next Jews Control the World Counsil meeting, we will discuss you, and silence you, as you’ve figured us out!

    I didn’t know Borat was a regular poster on WHYS!

  20. June 18, 2008 at 20:55

    Thanks David for your response. I’m looking forward to the BBC correspondent’s report about Jews in Morocco. I will be surprised if the report contains woes by the Moroccan Jews living inside or outside Morocco concerning their status in it. At least the majority of them still have fond memories of it. Moroccan Jews who can still visit it still see it as the land of their ancestors.

    I can assure you, Jews who leaves Morocco do so just for a better economic life abroad, especially in Europe and the USA.

    In Marrakesh city where I live, there is still a big Jewish cemetery dating back to 1571.It was visited by Senator Hilary Clinton in 1999, during her private visit to Morocco. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/306123.stm It is near the mellah http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mellah where they used to live, which is now inhabited by Muslim Moroccans, although there are still very few elderly Jews who live in it.

    Moroccan civilisation is a mixture of Arab, Berber and Jewish elements. The most notable legacies of Jewish culture in Morocco concern cooking, handicraft and traditional clothing, especially the caftan and jewellery.

  21. June 18, 2008 at 20:57

    Hello my dearest David… Do you really have any idea how much happy I am right now because at last I heard from you ?! :-)… BTW guys, you may be interested in looking up for this gentleman : Naeim Giladi-An Iraqi Jew ! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  22. 22 Roberto
    June 18, 2008 at 21:04

    Lubna, hi again ! We’ll do our best to get an answer to your question about the percentage of Jews from Arab lands who left willingly for Israel.
    ————————————————————————————

    ——– What is the need for percentages when in most every so-called “Arab” country the Jews have virtually disappeared and Christians have been whittled down to tiny enclaves?

    The Euphrates section of Iraq was part of Jewish holy lands and there is what, one, two Jews left in Iraq, a couple of old snaggle toothed men or something along those lines?

    The vast majority Arab/Muslim states will never compensate Jews and Christians for being driven off their ancestral lands, nor will they ever grant Palestinian refugees currently living in their countries citizenship and equal rights because those concepts don’t exist in a medieval tribal culture.

    Jordan is the only country which has sucessfully absorbed a large Palestinian population and Egypt absorbed a small one. That’s it.

    In the Islamic holylands of Mecca and Medina where Mohammed received his religious instruction at the hand of his uncle in law through the Torah and the New Testament, these sacred lands have been scoured clean of every single Jew and Christian save a rare visitor granted passage by the Saudis.

    Forget the Palestinian issue. Nothing will ever be resolved until the Muslims address this fundamental blasphemy in their own Holy lands.

    Israel at least grants full citizenship and rights to Christians, Muslims, and older non Abrahamic religious peoples in their territories.

    That’s the Challenge. What Muslim on this blog cares to address this issue? Just saying Jews can always go back to Iraq is a completely empty gesture.

  23. 23 Syed Hasan Turab
    June 18, 2008 at 23:22

    A person & group of people always been recognised with there past performance’s along with common behaviour living in society, at the name of HOLOCOUST any advantage or break may not be granted for repeatation,
    The behaviour of religious state suppose to be within religious frame work or Judhaism leaders have no controll over Govt to stop barbarism.
    I personally request to all Rabaih please understand that there careless behaviour is inappropriate & building up sensative grounds against Jewish State, please take command & controll of Isriel instead of unreligious, materialistic & unhuman ” JEWISH COUNSIL”, so then dignity, respect & brotherhood object may be achieved with good religious Governance for Isriel as religion never be an issue in the region, only unreligious behaviour is the mother of prevailing human desaster.
    I may request to the UNO & respective Govenments of the world please save Phalistine & Isriel from recognised “BLOOD HOUND” i,e “JEWISH COUNSIL”, as the histry of crime’s against humanity is 60 years old this is enough for HOLOCUST sympathsier’s including UNO.
    May God bless all of us specially Steve.

  24. 24 Bryan
    June 19, 2008 at 00:06

    samadoon June 18, 2008 at 4:37 pm,

    “Do they have equal rights to move and settle any part of their home country,”

    Yes, of course they do. Large areas of Tel Aviv, for example Jaffa, are mostly Arab. Large Israeli towns like Nazareth are mostly Arab.

    “or are they given a restricted area to live”

    No.

    steve June 18, 2008 at 4:45 pm,

    “35% of Israelis are not arab. ”

    True. I think about 20% of Israelis are Arabs.

    VictorK June 18, 2008 at 5:33 pm,

    “Isn’t that exactly how Arabs see themselves? As a single nation, however many different states they may have?”

    In reality the Arab world is torn by many conflicts, between nations and within nations, but I suppose since there is a common enemy to fight, namely Israel, it acts as a unifying force.

    Newshour June 18, 2008 at 6:27 pm,

    David, thanks for your comprehensive reply to our comments.

    Roberto June 18, 2008 at 9:04 pm,

    “Jordan is the only country which has sucessfully absorbed a large Palestinian population and Egypt absorbed a small one. That’s it.”

    Speaking of Jordan, those who complain bitterly about Israel’s alleged maltreatment of its Arab population would be able to compare Jordan’s treatment of its Jewish population if it had one. But the Jews were driven out and I believe there is a law against Jews becoming citizens of Jordan.

    Strange when you think about it. Two states were created out of the British Mandate in Palestine. The Jewish one has a thriving Arab population of well over a million people while the Arab one is Jew-free.

  25. 25 samadoon
    June 19, 2008 at 07:51

    Do not anyone believe impartiality in repatriation as said by Ahmed. Why not discuss JEWS communities expelled from Europe. an any one tell me the number of Jews expelled from Europe after WW2. About Jews in Arab states do you know there are less than 40 Jews in Bahrain and they are given one Assembly member and one ambassador. Do you know that Eygpt has over 5 Jewish ministers in its cabinet and do you know that well over 30% of the national wealth is owned by 0.5% who are hristains and Jewish.

    And do you know all synogogues in Syria are well looked and maintained despite their emptiness. he Jews in Arabia have better rights than Arabs intheir own country. As there is no democracy in Arab states, it the the material power of wealthy Jew that have more than their share of political power. They are the movers and shakers in most Arab countries, always working behind the curtain, as they do in the west. Clever and shrewd they are . I respect their unity and fighting power for their interest. hat is what is missing from the Arab world.

  26. 26 Bryan
    June 19, 2008 at 10:16

    Regarding Luna’s rather strange notion of Iraqi Jews being welcome to return home, let’s not forget the history of the Jews who fled Iraq:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/03/06/INGM2BJH7U1.DTL

    This short but comprehensive historical account, also from a personal perspective, makes the question of how many Jews left Iraq willingly a nonsensical one, to put it mildly. In fact, Jewish travel was restricted and Jews were not allowed to liquidate their assets. Who would not get out by any means possible when their property was confiscated by the state and their people brutally massacred? And the establishment of Israel can’t be used as a (poor) excuse here, since much of the violent oppression of Iraqi Jews occurred before Israel was established and before the first Palestinian refugee. A key figure in the alliance of Iraq and Nazi Germany was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. People who complain bitterly about the Palestinians being made to “pay the price for Europe’s treatment of the Jews” should take note of the treatment of Jews by the Arabs.

    And they should try to imagine the major players in today’s Iraq welcoming Iraqi Jews back home. Try Moqtada al Sadr, for example:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0130/p01s04-woiq.html

    Or if he is perhaps too radical an example, and the article too dated, try today’s Iraqi government, which will not recognise Israel:

    http://www.forward.com/articles/13571/

    Given the history and the current circumstances, I don’t see Iraqi Jews exactly queuing up to go home.

    The article on the treatment of Iraqi Jews, and Jews from other Arab countries, is well worth reading since it encapsulates the debate here, and more. The author, now a lawyer living in America, makes these telling points in conclusion:

    “Since 1949, the United Nations has passed more than 100 resolutions on Palestinian refugees. Yet, for Jewish refugees from Arab countries not a single U.N. resolution has been introduced recognizing our mistreatment or calling for justice for the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees forced out of our homes. This imbalance of the world’s concern is itself an injustice.

    Arab governments instituted policies that led to nearly 900,000 Middle Eastern Jews becoming stateless refugees. Those same governments forced about 750,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants to remain in impoverished refugee camps, refusing them citizenship and denying them hope.

    Peace between Israel and the Arab world requires a solution that recognizes that there were two refugee populations. Acknowledging and redressing the legitimate rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries will promote the cause of justice, peace and a true reconciliation.”

  27. June 19, 2008 at 13:36

    Hello again guys… Call me romantic, or idealistic, or unrealistic, or whatever, but I do still regard Iraqi Jews currently living in Israel as original Iraqi citizens… And to me their presence in their original homeland to which they truely belong, Iraq, is the normal thing that must and should happen, sooner or later ! They do deserve to live as honoured and dignified citizens in the place where their original roots are from, in the place where their ancestors had lived before them, in the place which is called Iraq, the country that has been there since the beginning of time ! Inshallah when life in Iraq get back to normality again, all of you guys will get back for good to your Iraq, let’s all hope that’ll happen soon… And BTW my dearest David, I’d love to hear even a little about Naeim Giladi on the Saturday’s eddition of Newshour… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  28. June 19, 2008 at 14:17

    David from Newshour again….

    We started thinking about this topic after we saw details of a conference in London next Monday: http://www.justiceforjews.com/

    We’re still confirming our guests for the discussion, and it’s proving an interesting process.

    One prominent Palestinian activist has just refused to take part, emailing us to say: “…my coming on to discuss it [ie the cause of the Jews from the Arab world] just legitimizes an absurd new theory of the neo cons, set up fraudulently in order to undermine the legitimate claims of palestinian refugees…no-one would ever take this idea seriously unless serious mainstream media start feeling pressured to cover it as if it were a real claim or issue.”

    I’ll let you be the judge of that, and simply say that nobody has pressured us to air the topic….we simply felt it was a worthwhile discussion to have.

    That email refusal does however raise the interesting question of linkage between the JFJ campaign and the Palestinian refugee cause. Will it undermine the Palestinian case for refugee compensation? Or will it make that case more likely to succeed if Jewish refugee claims are addressed alongside them?

    As of now, we’ll be joined by David Matas, legal counsel to the Justice for Jews campaign, and the New York University historian Zvi Ben-Dor Benite. And by Saturday we’re confident we’ll have a 3rd panellist.

    We’ll keep you posted.

  29. 29 Hugh
    June 19, 2008 at 14:48

    Fine. Let Arab and other states who expelled Jews compensate them. AND require Israel to compensate each and every one of the 3 plus million Palestinians who live in horrific conditions in refugee camps and the millions more who are oppressed under Israeli occupation and colonization.

    Let Israeli war criminals be prosecuted. Let the international community impose sanctions on Israel for its violations of international law. And let the United States and a “coalition of the willing” occupy Israel to introduce democracy for all people west of the Jordan river.

  30. 30 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 14:50

    @ samadoon

    “As there is no democracy in Arab states, it the the material power of wealthy Jew that have more than their share of political power. They are the movers and shakers in most Arab countries, always working behind the curtain, as they do in the west. ”

    Straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

  31. 31 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 14:52

    @ Hugh

    Are you suggesting Israel is responsible for Lebanon and Syria keeping Palestinians in refugee camps?

    Occupy Israel becaues you hate Israel? Interesting reading the comments of the haters on here.

  32. 32 VictorK
    June 19, 2008 at 15:15

    @ Newshour: the Palestinian activist was right not to join the programme.

    The whole point of the legend of the expelled Palestinians (many, if not most, of whom left voluntarily and not under compulsion) is to present the Palestinians as a people whose sufferings are unique and whose demands have an indefeasible moral claim on the sympathies of the world. To point out that just as many Jews also became refugees at exactly the same time and that a great many of them were terrorised into fleeing – from lands that they had inhabited long before any Arab had set foot there, like Iraq – terrorised by by Arab neighbours and Arab governments, takes some of the glow off the Palestinian cause.

    The Palestinians have always operated on the sanctimonious basis that they have absolute right on their side, a right so absolute that even terrorism can’t diminish it. They have never admitted the real state of the matter, which is that this is an issue of two sets of clashing rights. To do so would imply compromise and concession, with a view to satisfying as much as we can of the legitimate (and practical) demands of both sides. Compromise has never been part of the Palestinian strategy, which is all about recovering Jerusalem, acquiring a right of return, and as a consequence demographically recovering every square inch of Israel . To accept that there are Jewish refugees with comparable claims to the Palestinians would derail their strategy irrecoverably.

    Still, it’s always interesting in controversies like this to see who cuts and runs.

  33. 33 Roberto
    June 19, 2008 at 15:55

    Why not discuss JEWS communities expelled from Europe. an any one tell me the number of Jews expelled from Europe after WW2
    ———————————————————————————————

    ———— Jews have been immigrating from Europe/Russia to the US since it’s inception.

    By 1900 1.5 mil Jews lived in US from these immigrations making it 3rd most populous of Jewish peoples behind Russia and Austria/Hungary.

    The location of Jewish refugees post WW2 is problematic because of all the post war chaos and the fact that these refugees either stayed in place or ended up at nearly every point on the globe.

    There were no Jews expelled pre WW2. They were rounded up and put into concentration camps. Some fled and became refugees. Post WW2, some chose to immigrate as soon as able. Others followed later. Some have migrated from Israel to US and viceversa.

    Russia was talked into allowing 1 mil + Jews to immigrate to Israel in the 80s. They weren’t expelled.

    The largest number ended up in Israel, Europe, US and South America. These migrations took place as the same time as the North African/Middle East Jews fled their homes for either Israel or the US.

    Israel and the US have the largest number of Jews in the world as of 2006, just under 6 mil apeice. France, 1/2 mil, Canada/Britain, 1/3 mil apeice. After 3 generations, a good portion of that population is children and grandchildren of refugees to give you an idea of how tiny the Jewish population had become just extrapolating that there might be perhaps 1/2 mil more scattered in South America, Africa, Austrialia, ect.

  34. June 19, 2008 at 16:25

    My dearest David Mazower : To answer your question I say : Justice must be for all my good friend, for Arab Jewish refugees who were driven out of their homes by force and deprived of their possessions, and also for Arab Palestinian refugees who were driven out of their homes by force and deprived of their possessions… That’s of course for those people who consider both sides to be human beings who do deserve to live with dignity and honour… But for those people who consider one side to be human beings who do deserve to live with dignity and honour while consider the other side not to be human beings and not deserving to live with dignity and honour, then the story is totally different !!! And I say it again to you David : Please, you guys should Bring up the name of Naeim Giladi on Saturday Inshallah… The role of the Zionist movement in Iraq during and even many years before 1948 should be addressed while talking about the cause of Iraqi Jewish refugees… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  35. 35 Ahmed Arwo
    June 19, 2008 at 16:46

    How is it acceptable a state a nation and ethnicity is the same and one. It is another rule of three in one. Isreal constitutes if you have Jewish faith, regardless your colour and size of your eyes, regardless your lack of knowledge of the Jewish language and tradition, you are the citizen of Isreal. You can come in to replace the Palestinians, exporting them out of their God given lands.

    How you can bite, kick and slap and do not want to hear the cries of those you humilate day in day out. Even crying is not allowed to Palestinians. If I said let us talk about displaced people universally, and let us start with the present crisis and then go back to historical atrocities, redress them fairly and equally. And let us build a world where peace is the norm, and where justice is applied with fairness and objectivity.

    Why divide Isreal and Palestine. Keep them as a one democratic country where all its citizens have equal rights. hat should be the target, no less and no more. If we live peacefully as equal citizens in the West despite our different religion, colour and languages.

  36. 36 Syed Hasan Turab
    June 19, 2008 at 17:39

    All these Arabs been living in Middle East from Thousands & thousands years, the histry of Islam may not complete without Jewish & Christines.
    Infact Mohammd’s job was lot easier then Moses & Jesus as the fundamently motivated base was available and majority of Muslims are converated from Jewish & Christines, no doubt land is the same.
    Because of technology advancement this world is shrinking on the other hand Middle East is expanding, because of few consperious people without any religious approach.
    Please compair presant & past of Europe, what did they learn from WW’s.

  37. 37 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 17:48

    @Ahmed

    Brilliant, if you cannot destroy on the battlefield, call for a one state solution. Sorry to break it to you, but Jews don’t want to dhimmis. You seem to hav ea problem with a Jewish state, but why do I have a feeling you have no Problem with the Islamic Republics of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan? They all refer to themselves at “The Islamic Republic of”? I look forward to hearing your double standard.

  38. 38 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 18:07

    Apparently Jordan doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state:

    http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2008/me_jordan0253_06_18.asp

  39. 39 Pamela Levene
    June 19, 2008 at 20:04

    When all those displaced Jews arrived in Israel they were first placed in camps. The conditions were primitive – In the summer they choked in the dust.. When the first rains came mud swept the tents away. Children actually drowned. But people hung on, others helped them and in time the camps were emptied and all those refugees began new lives in Israel.

    Many never regained the standard of living they had had in their Arab birthplaces, many suffered a sense of loss to the end of their lives. But their children did a little better … and their children a little better still.

    I have always thought that words carry great significance. I think it is no coincidence that those camps were called from the very beginning TRANSIT camps. Never were they referred to as REFUGEE camps, even though truly that is what they were.

    And of course these Jews were told perhaps the most significant words of all. Even though they were strangers speaking a strange language, the Arab Jews had in fact come HOME. Notwithstanding so many years of dispersion, they had come to where Jews and Judaism, their nation, their religion, their faith, their customs had all started – in this land of Israel – and surely that was the most significant of all!

  40. June 19, 2008 at 20:18

    Ahmed Arwo asks: ‘What kind of democracy is it, where citizens have unequal rights? Doesn’t that what used to be apartheid in South AFRICA.’ He refers to Israel, where there is discrimination against somne sections of the population, notably Israeli Arabs. Ahmed, why don’t you come to visit the UK, where sections of the population are discriminated against, from blacks to Asians to new eastern European immigrants. Or to the USA, where blacks, Hispanics, and others are discriminated against. Now, you may say, this is the condition of the West, which promotes inequality. In fact, it’s nothing of the sort. All societies discriminate. Muslim societies actively discriminate against non-Muslims. African states discriminate against people belonging to the wrong tribe. Name me a country that does not discriminate.

    To condemn Israel because there is discrimination gets us nowhere. In fact, Israeli Arabs have the vote, serve as members of parliament, serve on the Supreme Court, and so on. There is, and let me emphasize this, not a scrap of apartheid in modern Israel, and the comparison with South Africa is meaningless. There are no areas barred to Arabs, not cinemas, not restaurants, not swimming pools, not public transport, not taxis (or sheroots), not shops. Nowhere. If nowhere is Arab-free (as so much in SA was black-free), where on earth is the apart-hood?

    With respect to the refugees, I really can’t go along with the attempts above to say that both sides were equal. The Palestinian exodus has to be set in the historical context of an invasion of Israel by five Arab states, in a declared attempt to commit a massacre that would make those of Genghis Khan pale into insignificance. In some places, Israeli troops had to force Palestinians out (rather than fight battles where they lived), but that is what happens when you are forced to defend a very small territory. At the same time, Arab armies repeatedly told the Arab inhabitants to leave in order to allow them a free march into Israel. The Arabs lost, barely defeated by a small but superior force. The refugees did not get back, and why should they? When Pakistan exchanged millions with India during Partition, people on both sides were forced to leave who have never returned to their homes. No special refugee council was set up for them. Today, it is all past history. Mizrahi Jews also got on with their lives. As anti-Semitism has increased throughout the Muslim world, a return to their original countries does not look very enticing. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have been manipulated by some very callous leaders into staying in camps (there has been more than enough money to build permanent homes, but the only real building that goes on is the construction of luxury villas for the political elite) and brainwashed into thinking there is no solution to their problems than the elimination of the Jews. Young Palestinians are brought up to aspire to the status of martyr. Their parents have shouted and screamed instead of getting down to the twin tasks of making peace and building an independent state of their own. None of us, least of all the Israelis, want to see them harmed. Their safety and prosperity is the best defence Israel can have, and the best guarantee the rest of the world can have that war in the Middle East will not engulf us all. Sixty years have passed. It is time for the grandchildren of the first refugees to accept that the world has moved on.

  41. 41 Nannette
    June 19, 2008 at 20:23

    Arab antisemitism was around long before Islam even came into existence. Jews have been persecuted for over 3,000 years.

    The Arabian penninsula was originally a peaceful place, where Jews and Vedics/Hindus lived alongside each other. Both were exterminated in the Arabian penninsula by the armies of Mohammed, the creator of the Islamic faith.

    The reason there are so FEW Jews in the world is because first of all, it’s a faith that doesn’t proselytise, nor force conversion on anyone. Judaism doesn’t claim to be superior to any other religion.

    Secondly, Jews have been subject to countless genocides and persecution over the millenia, including the genocides which took place in Arab countries after the creation of Islam. Much like the Christian Arabs are facing today.

    The most recent ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab countries took place less than 100 years ago. There are documents which prove the case, but the bigger question is WHY has it taken so long for these refugees to be recognised?

    The Nazis had a HUGE influence on middle eastern Arab countries, which supported Hitler. The most noteable of this influence was Haj Amin Al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who became a friend of Himmler, Hitler, and Eichmann. The Mufti was the leader of the Handsar SS Division of Bosnian Muslims, and according to the records of the Nuremberg trials, was the person responsible for suggesting the “Final Solution”, the genocide of Jews, gays, disabled, etc. The Mufti had also ordered gas ovens for Jews to be built in Egypt shortly before the allies won.

    In 1947/48 there were tens of millions of refugees from Pakistan/India, from Sudetenland, from Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc., who were all absorbed by their chosen country. Most of the Jews from Arab countries, many who fled on foot, were absorbed into Israel.

    Can anyone explain why so many Arab states are completely Jew-free? Yet Israel has a Muslim Arab population of 20%.

    Why have the Arabs whose refugee status was created by their own leaders, still been allowed to continue their status as refugees?

  42. 42 Nannette
    June 19, 2008 at 20:37

    samadoon,

    Israeli Arabs are free to live and study where they want. There are Arab government members, Arab lawyers, judges, and teachers. They can all attend the same universities and travel on the same busses, shop at the same stores and swim on the same beaches.

    Muslim women are given equal rights to men, and gay Muslims can live openly in a society that won’t kill them, because they’re not breaking any laws.

    Of course, there are poor Jews in Israel, just as there are poor Muslims, but it’s a country where people actually care, and help each other when they can, irrespective of religion. There are some very wealthy Israeli Arabs, just like there are some very wealthy Israeli Jews.

    Israel is just another democracy, but it’s the only one in the middle east.

  43. 43 Alec Paterson
    June 19, 2008 at 21:41

    Lubna,

    As you are from Baghdad, you must be aware of the 1941 pogrom, which started in Ghazi street, during the ‘Jewish Festival of Visits’, with mobs attacking Jewish homes, looting and killing. Heads of children were cut off like sheep, women were abused. This terror was managed by the police and ex soldiers, with shops and commercial stores belonging to Jews in the areas of Rashid street, Shorja, Amin street, and Jewish areas of Abu Seifayn, Abbas Effendi, Aquliyya were looted and Jews were murdered. This reminds you of the SS and Gestapo in Hilter’s Germany. Of course the Iraqi leaders were in awe of Hitler, as were many Arab leaders, including the Mufti of Jerusalem. There was also a porom against Jews in Libya, in 1945, again prior to the establishment of Israel.

    Muslim Jew hatred predates the establishment of Israel. it originates from the days of Muhammad, with anti-Semitic motifs in the foundational Muslim texts, Quaran, Hadith and Sira, as well as the writings of Muslim jurists, theologians and scholars from the Middle Ages to the current period. In the lands subjegated, and the peoples vanquished by the warriors of Jihad, Christians as well as Jews had the inferior status of Dhimmis.

    Jewish refugees from Arab countries were absorbed by Israel, but Palestinian refugees have continually been used as pawns by their leaders, in their aim to destroy Israel as a Jewish state.

  44. 44 ClapTheHammer
    June 20, 2008 at 05:11

    Lot of ‘clashing’ information being bandied about here.

    Taken in the framework of previous movement of peoples along ethnic lines, the Pakistan/India transfer being the most appropriate, compensation BOTH WAYS would seem to be the best way out.

    As far as Bagdad goes, you will have to really persuade me that Sadr will welcome back the Jews expelled from Iraq.

    And we all know that Israel would resist repatriation of Arabs who left the area about 1948.

    The Arab states are guilty of perpetuating the suffering of the refugees while Israel welcomed hers and turned them into productive citizens who fully participate in the miracle of Israel.

    Very appropriate that this subject should be aired fully as one of the sticking points of any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is the ‘Right of Return’. The Palestinian representatives are moving towards the compensation factor while this ‘Jewish Nakba’ can balance these claims with the net result being probably in Israel’s favor.

    And. It’s never too late to give the Palestinian refugees full citizenship in there countries of residence. Lebanon in particular.

    As for a single democratic state in Palestine. This is just a euphemism for the eventual destruction of Israel by demographic means.

    Those who propose a single democratic country should lend their efforts to democracy in Iraq and other ‘Islamic countries’ and see how they get on.

  45. 45 Ahmed Arwo
    June 20, 2008 at 06:57

    I wonder if the dialogue is becoming monologue. It sounds this forum is nothing but a mouthpiece of not even Isreal but rather an I sreali Government. Is it possible no single Isreali of different opinion is on this debate. Equally where are the Arabs or even Palestinians. What about the Pakistanis, Iranians and Afganis as in more than one place their names were attacked.

    It is waste of time if this world forum is one sided. Listening ones voice time and again is nothing but insult to ones intellect and extremely boring. May I ask gentlemen and the lady in the debate to give way to peace-loving Isrealis whom I share many issues. We can turn this dialogue more fruitful to the benefit of humanity if in-addition to extremes a good part of moderates participate this discussion. Is there a barrier that shields off those Isrealis of an opinion different than that of their government. Or the BBC formulated a policy that attracts people of set opinion. Even the Arabs in the debate are of unique and rare opinion, they are closer to Isreali government’s thinking, I doubt a lot their true colour.

    I joined this forum, not to talk empty, but to have sincere and truthful discussion, with intention to create an Isreali, Arabs, Westerners and citizens of the world who can engage one another with intent of searching for universal peace and unity. I am about to leave and my search somewhere else. I am sure these participants love to hear their voice and nothing else. I am an extra, so good bye and enjoy listening your monologue . By the way I respect your courage and tact in hiding the truth and turning fiction into facts. But be aware we are learning well and fast and may be soon we surpass you using your own tools. Finally my greetings to peace loving Isrealis that want to live with Palestinians in one country with same rights and duties. They are the real heros.

  46. 46 ClapTheHammer
    June 20, 2008 at 07:24

    Goodbye Ahmed Arwo.

    Have a good day

  47. 47 Ahmed Arwo
    June 20, 2008 at 07:53

    Thank You Mr. Hammer. I hope we shall meet in another stage.

    Good Bye All.

  48. June 20, 2008 at 08:32

    Some commenters here deny that the Jews were really refugees. They blame Zionism for their departure. And they say they would be welcome to come back.
    All these claims are nonsense.

    There is no comparison between Palestinian refugees, who left as a result of a war started by their own side, and the deliberate victimisation by state laws and persecution of a whole community of peaceful Jewish citizens minding their own business far from the theatre of war in Arab countries.

    99.5 percent of Jews have been forced out of Arab countries. According to the historian Nathan Weinstock, even the Jews of 1939 Nazi Germany were not as thoroughly ‘ethnically cleansed.’.

    Israel took in the great mass of these penniless people. At first they were but into refugee camps, but eventually they were absorbed into society.
    The idea that any Jew should be allowed to return to the Arab tyrannies which threw them out is laughable. Arab countries like Libya and Morocco have told the Jews they are welcome to return, but not a single one has.

    A word about Morocco: it is true that the king was always a figure of moderation and protection and the Jews were hugely loyal to him. But the Jews of Morocco were historically among the most repressed of all Jewish communities in the Arab world. They were periodically massacred, confined to special ghettos or mellahs and subject to humiliating restrictions. The word mellah (salt) comes from the fact it was the Jews’ job to salt the heads of executed criminals.

    The lowliest jobs in the Muslim world, such as cleaning latrines, were reserved for Jews and Christians. Many of these Jews only acquired full rights for the first time when they became Israeli citizens.
    People should recognise that Israel is not only a legitimate response to centuries of Arab and Muslim antisemitism, but that over half Israel’s Jewish population come from Arab and Muslim lands. Israel is therefore the legitimate nation state of an indigenous Middle Eastern people.

  49. 49 VictorK
    June 20, 2008 at 08:50

    @Ahmed Arwo: put your case just as others are putting theirs.

    If you have a better argument or more telling facts, very well. If you don’t (and you haven’t challenged a single one of the claims made about Jewish and Palestinian refugees, or the historical treatment of Jews in the Muslim world) then you’ve probably made the right decision to leave.

  50. 50 Pangolin-California
    June 20, 2008 at 08:59

    A pox on both your houses. I just can’t believe that there is any actual attempt at impartial scholarship in this conference any more than I could believe that German skinheads putting on a production titled ‘Springtime for Hitler’ had developed a sudden fondness for Mel Brooks.

    The flat truth is that ethnic politics the world around prior to 1945 had a great deal of ‘butcher thy neighbor’ about them. We did it to every faction in the US that we could get away with and it was common practice in every other continent. How better to control your populace than to lead them on occasional rampages of looting and rape in minority neighborhoods. They still do this with unsettling frequency in Africa and India.

    Then the US popped off two nukes and eliminated two cities.

    Suddenly it was very important to everybody that no strong power develop a long term grudge against another. Two groups felt free to violate this policy; the Israeli’s and the Arab’s. Not the Muslims and Jews because I refuse to blame this on religion. The behavior of both sides has been, overall, an insult to the cause of religion and beacon fire of warning to atheists.

    This, this is what religion feeds. This madness. Or is it just pure, human, hate and stupidity.

    Look at the butchery this conflict has wrought from two peoples in the name of the same God. You may claim your God but if he wants to stand for justice on Earth surely he should refute those involved in this mess.

  51. June 20, 2008 at 09:07

    Hi… en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naeim_Giladi. With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  52. 52 Larry
    June 20, 2008 at 09:18

    I read much of the incoherrent Arabist claptrap with interest.
    Jews and Arabs co-existed and lived together? Eh?

    I am not going to comment on all the confused propaganda that makes up some of the contributions but one point I would like to make regarding any supposed co-existence and respect for neighbours concerns what the Arabists call “Occupied East Jerusalem”. This the same East Jerusalem where my family lived, where my grandfather “died” in 1936 (have you heard of the Arab riots?)? The same East Jerusalem where my grandparents are buried in the ancient Jewish cemetary of Mount Of Olives where most of the ancient and later tombstones were violently ripped up by the Jordanians (not Palestinians, you understand) to use in roadmaking and even in public latrines? We have never found my grandparents’ original consecrated stones.

    Whilst Jews are forbidden to or no longer reside in the majority of the Arab states, many “humanitarians” and “bleeding hearts” uphold the rights of everyone else on earth to reside in the areas they term occupied except specifically the Jews! In a harrowing reminder of the 1930’s, those areas are intended to be JUDENREIN! Jews are already forbidden from owning property in Jordan or Saudi Arabia.

    Let me remind you of a few more facts –

    Did you know that the non-Jewish Arab immigrantion into mandated Palestine was allowed unabated by the British and that MORE Arabs (Non-Jewish) than Jews entered the country during the period of the mandate? They came in search of a better life by looking for employment and benefits provided by the like immigration of Jews into the Yishuv (pre-1948 Jewish Palestine) If you understand this, then you will also know that a huge proportion of the “Palestinian Refugees” in 1948 were not any more indigenous to the Holy Land then the immigrant Jews. In fact, the UN, in a sop to the Arab Lobby at the time classified any Arab person as a refugee who could claim (with minimal proof) that they had been “resident” for just 2 years!

    This message is from a “Left-wing” one time Meretz supporter. I truly want peace for my people and our neighbours. But the neighbours must also desire this. Israel cannot make peace with those who do not recognise its right to exist emboldened by those who would deny the Jews the same rights that they champion for everyone else. Sure, Israel’s policies are not always without crticism, and anyone is free to say so, but it is not legitimate to single out Israel and put her on a pedestal higher by far than anyone else, surrounded by a sea of would-be assasins

  53. 53 ClapTheHammer
    June 20, 2008 at 11:32

    Larry.

    You should be using CIF.

    I too went through the cauldron as you did.

    When I came out the other side, I was and am still ‘Left’ but rationally so.

    Your statement ‘But the neighbours must also desire this. Israel cannot make peace with those who do not recognise its right to exist emboldened by those who would deny the Jews the same rights that they champion for everyone else.’ is a mirror of how I feel and this appraisment of Arab Jewish property has been neglected for too long.

    Especially as the ‘Right of Return’ is trumpeted by many who claim to be ‘Left’.

  54. 54 Bryan
    June 20, 2008 at 12:08

    Interesting style of communication the defenders of the Arab countries and their policies have here:

    *Do anything but engage in debate on the issues.

    *Insist that almost half of all Israeli Jews back their bags and move back to Europe.

    *Insist with a straight face that the remaining few Jews in Arab countries, including Egyptian Jews, have a tremendous amount of wealth and influence, virtually control their governments, and are all doing much better than their Arab brethren.

    Cheerfully toss the names of Jewish anti-Zionist propagandists into the mix without even telling anyone what to look out for when reading these propagandists to try to separate truth from lies and wheat from chaff.

    Well, since Lubna keeps on thrusting the name ‘Naeim Giladi’ in everyone’s face I gave it a shot and Googled him:

    http://www.jewsnotzionists.org/jewsofiraq.htm

    Like all fine propagandists, Giladi cleverly uses his depth of historical knowledge to distract attention from his distortions and omissions of historical fact. If we were to believe him:

    *The British were actively on the side of the Zionists, even as late as 1948.

    *There was no alliance between Iraq and Nazi Germany and the grand mufti of Jerusalem did not engineer pogroms against Jews.

    *The slaughter of Iraqi Jews by Iraqi Arabs was engineered by the British. If not, it would never have happened, since no Arab would ever have attacked a Jew unprovoked.

    Sometimes even the expert propagandist gets so caught up in his fantasies that he drops his guard and exposes himself for what he is. Here’s Giladi on Ben Gurion shortly after the establishment of Israel:

    “Ben Gurion told the world that Israel accepted the partition and the Arabs rejected it.”

    (As if Ben Gurion was lying about what was actually an undeniable fact.)

    “Then Israel took half of the land that was promised to the Arab state.”

    (Hell, why mention the War of Independence, during which Israel suffered attack after attack from its Arab neighbours as they tried to obliterate the newborn state. And why mention the principle that a country has a right to hold onto territory it gains after it is attacked as a buffer against future aggression. Can’t have inconvenient facts disturbing the anti-Israel narrative.)

    “I know now that from the beginning many Arab leaders wanted to make peace with Israel, but Israel always refused.”

    (Funny way the Arabs have of making peaceful overtures.)

    “He [Ben Gurion] said that the Arabs wanted to drive Israel into the sea…”

    (As if Ben Gurion was lying about verifiable, recorded statements by Arab leaders.)

    “…and he called Gamal Abdel Nasser the Hitler of the Middle East whose foremost intent was to destroy Israel.”

    (Perhaps a touch of exaggeration there but not essentially untrue. Nasser’s own statements back that up.)

    “All the while, Ben Gurion continued to talk about the Hitler of the Middle East. This brainwashing went on until late September, 1970, when Gamal Abdel Nasser passed away.”

    (Amazingly, Giladi doesn’t seem to have heard of the 1967 Six Day War or the resulting Arab declaration from Khartoum, the infamous ‘three nos’:

    “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel.”

    And the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Israel was attacked on its holiest day, also seems to have escaped his notice.)

    So I guess we’ll have to take whatever comes from the pen of this author with a large pinch of salt, to put it in the politest possible fashion.

    Hullo? Is anyone out there on the pro-Palestinian side prepared to actually enter into a debate here?

  55. 55 Roberto
    June 20, 2008 at 12:39

    May I ask gentlemen and the lady in the debate to give way to peace-loving Isrealis whom I share many issues.
    —————————————————————————————–

    ——— Sure, when you can show me the peace loving Palestinian and Lebanese movement.

    Me thinks you want one way traffic with peace loving Israelis to shower you with roses while you spew bullets in return.

    Israel has a history of making peace with Jordan and Egypt and has returned much of those lands. Palestinians and Lebanon have been in sectarian anarchy and civil war and there is no peaceful government to negotiate with.

    Since you have no legitimate spokesmen to broker a peace agreement, you’ve got nothing. I don’t care if you have formulated a majic elixir that transforms everyone into the exact stereotypes that you wish for your purpose that makes everyone hunky dory with everyone else, it’s all for naught.

    Nobody exists in your camp to negotiate an agreement to take your majic elixir.

  56. 56 Paddy Monaghan
    June 20, 2008 at 13:13

    Congratulations on your Programme.
    May I share a little piece of history which gives some light on this.
    In 1920: the League of Nations (forerunner of the UN) gave Britain the Mandate for Palestine.
    In 1922: Britain separated 77% of mandated Palestine (designated as a Jewish Homeland) and gave it to King Abdullah to satisfy Arab national aspirations – it became Jordan.
    In 1947: the UN voted to further divide the remaining 23% of Palestine west of Jordan into a second Arab State and a Jewish State, leaving the Jews with only 12% of the area originally promised to them. The Jews accepted this 2 state solution; the Arabs rejected it.
    In 1948: on the 15th May the State of Israel is proclaimed. The next day the armies from the 5 surrounding Arab countries attacked Israel with the intention of destroying the new Jewish State and driving the Jews into the sea. Thankfully they didn’t succeed. In what was for Israel a totally defensive war, in which they were literally fighting for their existence, undoubtedly a number of Arab communities were expelled. However it is also true that these Arab countries appealed to the Arab communities in Israel to leave so they could blanket bomb Israel. There was no systematic expulsion of the Arabs.
    Some 800,000 Jews, were expelled from these Arab countries in 1948 and their property stolen. It is estimated 700,000 Arabs left, or were expelled from Israel, also in 1948. However, the Arab countries, who initiated the war and were 100 times wealthier than Israel and with 100 times more land, cynically chose to exploit the refugees by placing them in refugee camps. The new Israeli State, on the other hand, chose to put the Jewish refugees to work on the land. So it was the surrounding Arab nations that must take responsibility for the pitiful refugee camps that were set up on the West Bank and Gaza.
    Accordingly the right of return for Palestinian refugees does not make sense withour simultaneously looking at the right of return for Jewish refugees. Hence the importance of your programme.

  57. 57 Stephen
    June 20, 2008 at 13:34

    The Moroccans were the only nation who didn’t follow the Arab League resolution to throw their Jews out, nevertheless most left because of what happened in other Arab countries.

    The statistics are interesting:

    Jewish Population in the year 1948

    The Jews of Algeria: 140,000
    The Jews of Egypt: 75,000
    The Jews of Iraq: 150,000
    The Jews of Lebanon: 20,000
    The Jews of Libya: 38,000
    The Jews of Morocco: 265,000
    The Jews of Syria: 30,000
    The Jews of Tunisia: 105,000
    The Jews of Yemen including Aden: 63,000
    TOTAL: 886,000

    Jewish Population in the year 2000

    The Jews of Algeria: 100
    The Jews of Egypt: 200
    The Jews of Iraq: 100
    The Jews of Lebanon: 100
    The Jews of Libya: 0
    The Jews of Morocco: 5,800
    The Jews of Syria: 200
    The Jews of Tunisia: 1,300
    The Jews of Yemen: 200
    TOTAL: 8,000

    See http://www.justiceforjews.com/jjac.pdf.

  58. 58 Larry
    June 20, 2008 at 13:46

    If the Israelis were so hell-bent on “ehtnically cleansing” or “expelling” the Arabs in 1948, then they don’t appear to have been very good at it –
    How come so many Arabs were left behind to become the 20% of the population of the State Of Israel today? Because they chose to stay and were not “forced to flee” How many Jews chose to stay in the Arab countries – virtually none – they were not given the choice – echoes of “Juden raus!” ?

    But anyway this is a BBC production. It’s one thing facilitating fair debate on this blog but how do we know we are not to be dealt more of the same Arabist bias on air – especially if BBC’s Mid East guru Jeremy Bowen and his stooges are given anything to do with it. Why don’t you get good old Charles Enderlin involved too – I am sure he and his crew of actors at France2 could manufacture and stage a showing of a few of the “right” Palestinians for the airwaves.

  59. 59 sara
    June 20, 2008 at 15:14

    Boukill….
    we are Iraqi Jews…my family left Iraq right after the birth of Israel with just a suitcase… leaving everything behind…
    my husband ESCAPED from Iraq with his brother and a couple of his freinds in 1971 through Iran with the help of the Kurdish people… he saw his freinds hang in the town square…hunted by Saddam…they were 18 – 20 yr. old.
    we always heard how the MOROCAN JEWs were NEVER persecuted and were cared for…and YES… we have visited Morroco and WE LOVE IT…the people are warm and tolerant.
    definitely will visit again, time permitting

  60. June 20, 2008 at 15:33

    Oh Precious Bryan, at last !! Thanks a million to you for doing me such a great favour by shedding the light on Naeim Giladi in your last blog post… I bet now more and more readers of this page will love to look up for him, saying to themselves “Why don’t we just go and see who this man is that Lubna and Bryan are arguing about ?!”.. And thank dear Allah that it’s neither up to me nor to you to decide how each one of them will judge him or view him… After all nobody at all can claim that the ultimate truth is in his pockets, can you ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  61. 61 Bryan
    June 20, 2008 at 16:04

    Yes, Lubna, let them judge.

    Why do you think I provided the link and argued the case against his propaganda?

    “Why don’t we just go and see who this man is that Lubna and Bryan are arguing about?”

    I don’t see any argument coming from your side. You simply ignore all comment and keep pointing at published propaganda. Why not join the debate?

  62. 62 allan Belanger
    June 20, 2008 at 17:20

    – Number of employees working in international organisations for 25 Million refugees: 6300
    – Number of employees working in international organisations (UNRWA) for 600 000 Palestinian refugees 22 000
    – Number of employees working in international organisations for 850 000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands: 0

    Which brings to mind the followng question: who is interested in perpetuating the refugee problem?

    Allan Belanger
    Montreal

  63. June 20, 2008 at 19:15

    David from Newshour once again:

    Larry: “But anyway this is a BBC production. It’s one thing facilitating fair debate on this blog but how do we know we are not to be dealt more of the same Arabist bias on air?”

    There are no guarantees in this business, Larry, especially not in live radio, but we’ll do our level best to give some complex issues a fair hearing.

    We’re sticking with the couple of guests I mentioned on an earlier post – and are confident their different perspectives will make for an interesting and informative debate.

    We’ll also have a feature about the Jews of Morocco, and we’ll hear some personal memories from an Egyptian Jew now resident in the UK. He regularly returns to Egypt, which he recalls as ‘an earthly paradise’ in the years before 1947.

    In the interests of full transparency, I’ll link to another blog which mentions our programme: http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/2008/06/bbc-on-jewish-refugees-golden.html

    “Is this our long-awaited opportunity to put the case for Jews from Arab Countries to an audience of millions? Or has the BBC something more sinister in mind?”

    Neither, actually. And I doubt we’ll provide too many definitive answers. But if we can explore some of the issues in a way that raises the right questions and makes us understand the subject a bit better, I’ll be happy.

  64. 64 Ronnie
    June 21, 2008 at 00:05

    I am an Iraqi Jew, who was born in Baghdad in 1953 and left in 1971. I would like to share with you my experience of growing and living in Iraq. My father (bless his soul) was a highly educated man, who under normal circumstances and equal opportunities would have risen to a high and influential position but because he was Jewish, these opportunities were denied to him. During the 1950s when there was a mass emigration of Iraqi Jews, he was threatened by his Moslem boss not to leave Iraq because my father was vital in establishment of the business of his Moslem boss. Eventually, my father went on and established a thriving accountancy firm in Iraq as he was the first Iraqi to gain a UK certified accountant qualification which he achieved through a correspondence course and sitting the exams in British council in Iraq.
    On the whole we had a comfortable life in Iraq in the 1960s. by the time the Iraqi Jewish community has dwindled to some 2,500 – 3,000 strong from the original 150,000. To survive in Iraq, we learned to keep ourselves to ourselves, stayed away from any contentious issues, throughout the sixties we tried to keep a semblance of normal life even though there were many restrictions place on us. For example, with the exception of very limited period in 1963, Iraqi Jews were denied the opportunity of passports or exit visa. Even then any Iraqi Jew who stayed outside Iraq for more than 3 months automatically lost their nationality and the Iraqi Government were confiscated their assets. Since the 1950s, Iraqi Jews were issued with a special yellow identity card to prove that they have not lost their Iraqi nationality, I still have mine to date.
    Between 1964 to 1967, any Iraqi Jews who wanted to leave Iraq had no choice but to cross the border illegally to Iran At that time the route was to travel south to Basra and cross the river border between Iraq and Iran. Again, because the restriction placed on them, those who decided to leave Iraq had no choice but to leave all assets (commercial, property, …etc.) behind like their brethren in the 1950s. Things took a bad turn after 1967 war.
    The Iraqi government turned with vengeance toward the small Jews Community (by then it was no more than 2,500). There were random arrests for no reason and many were in detention for long period of time with any real crime or brought to court. My father license to practice was revoked as well as all import licenses many of the Jewish community relied upon for their business activities. With jobs in public sector as well as semi public sector denied to the Iraqi Jews, this caused a financial hardship to the Jewish community. Iraqi Jews were denied the opportunity of liquidated an financial or property assets, we were not allowed to leave the outskirts of Baghdad without special permits, and were allowed to make only small amount of withdrawal form our bank accounts. All of these measures were meant to harass us and remind us that we could suffer a worst fate at any moment. Alas we did.

    However, in my mind the key single event that made the Iraqi Jewish community to realise they are no longer welcome or wanted in Iraq took place in January 1969. By that time the Ba’ath party has taken control and Saddam Hussein was the Deputy President. During the late summer of 1968, a sham trial took place of several Iraqi Jews accused of spying for Israel. In our naivety, we thought this will be a repeat of the usual prosecution of Jews and nothing sinister will come out of it. However we were stunned when suddenly the Iraqi TV and radio announced death sentences on nine Iraqi Jews in January 1969.

    I remember, we went to bed on the night of the ruling not knowing what is going to happen and whether the death sentence will be carried out. Little we realised what was in store for us, because the following day and early morning, the bodies of the nine innocent Jews were hanged and put on public display in the main square of Baghdad and Basra. The Iraqi TV and Radio called on the masses to come out and bring their children to witness the death of the Jewish spies. To this date, I have never forgotten the scenes that I watched on the TV, of the ordinary Iraqi dancing and playing joyful music, having picnic and mutilating the bodies of nine innocents Jews.
    I remember turning around and accused my parents of being heartless and cruel for bringing me into this world when they should already known the cruelty and savagery of the ordinary Iraqi population.

    Thereafter, there was only one aim and dream and that is to survive and leave Iraq as soon as possible. My turn came in 1971 when I was smuggled out of Iraq by Kurdish community into Iran and have eventually settled in England. I was followed by my parent and brother soon after. My father lost of his business and left all his property (land, financial investment behind) and left Iraq. He traded these financial assets for security of his and his family life

    .I never spoke or shared my experience of Iraq with my children. They grew up no knowing that part of the life of their father and only opened up slowly post 2003 Iraq war. Until few years ago, whenever I used see pictures of Iraqi citizens, I used to look at it intently as if to se if I can recognise their faces and determine whether they were at the main square of Baghdad on that fateful day

    Go back to Iraq, the romantic part of me would like to take my children to witness their father’s childhood memories. My practical part of me say never in a million years!

  65. 65 steve
    June 21, 2008 at 00:18

    Anyone have the bio on Amir Peretz? He is the current leader of the Israeli labour party and was born in Morocco and his family left when Morocco became independent.

  66. June 21, 2008 at 06:38

    The Jews of Morocco were the largest Jewish community in any Arab country (over 300,000), but today there are fewer than 3,000 left. What is the truth about their exodus? David Bensoussan, President of the Communaute Sepharade Unifiee du Quebec (United Sephardi community of Quebec), Canada, gave this interview recently. It is found here on the Point of No Return Blog from 2/05/2008.

  67. 67 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 07:51

    Anyone interested in Jewish migration literature that deals in spiritual mysticism and expanded cultures would not be disappointed to read Gershom Winkler. He has several books on travel and one specifically on the culture of Shamanism as it’s been attributed across the globe to Jewish society called: Magic of the Ordinary: Recovering the Shamanic in Judaism

  68. 69 Bryan
    June 21, 2008 at 08:46

    65 steve June 21, 2008 at 12:18 am,

    I Googled “Amir Peretz Biography Israeli labour party”

    Dunno if it’s what you’re after:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=Amir+Peretz+Biography+Israeli+labour+party&btnG=Search

  69. 70 Bryan
    June 21, 2008 at 09:29

    Re Steve’s request for info on Amir Peretz, I tried to post a link to a site a few times containing the ‘z’ word, ending in ‘ism’ hyphen Israel. Is it being blocked or is there some other reason for the comment not going through?

  70. 71 Bryan
    June 21, 2008 at 10:35

    Interesting comments from no. 64 – Ronnie June 21, 2008 at 12:05 am and no. 66 – Bataween June 21, 2008 at 6:38 am, though they are painful to read, especially Ronnie’s.

    I think that more than enough evidence has been presented on this topic to show that the prospect of Mizrahi Jews returning home or recovering assets is unrealistic, especially for those currently living in Israel.

    There is an ongoing legal battle initiated by an Egyptian Jewish family, the Bigios, to recover assets nationalised by the government when the family was forced out of Egypt. A Coca Cola plant was built on the family’s land:

    http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/49431.html

    The most fascinating part of this whole saga is that the Egyptian government, having sold the assets to the national insurance company, Misr, later acknowledged the wrongdoing and tried to reverse it:

    “The government even returned the money Misr Insurance had originally paid for the illegally seized Bigio property. But Misr refused to comply, unwilling to give up the constantly appreciating land now purportedly valued at many millions …”

    This is an encouraging sign. But I’m baffled as to why the Egyptian government cannot simply force Misr to comply and return the property. Hell, they nationalised it once so they can surely do it again and then return it to the Bigios.

    Except that the current owners are almost certainly not Jews….

  71. 72 Levana Zamir, Israel
    June 21, 2008 at 13:48

    To the BBC question WHY NOW, the answer is so simple. When my parents were expelled from Egypt, with just one suitcase per person and 20 pounds, their whole world coollapsing in a few hours, it was too much of a trauma. They had to struggle in exile, to begin their life from zero, to raise their children, to give them adequate education, etc. etc. etc. Many courageous men of that generation, died from a broken heart. As for us, the younger generation, we had to prove ourself in a new country, to cope, to assimilate, to forget our past as oriental Jews, which at that time was not a privileged status nowhere. Hearing about the Shoah, we felt a shame to talk about our miseries. That is WHY NOT THEN. But today, that young generation is not young anymore, and we are looking back to our past, and we know. We want the whole world to know too.
    Levana

  72. 73 Mohammed Ali
    June 21, 2008 at 14:07

    Justice for every refugee, Palestinians and Jewish. To single out a particular which itself is an oppressor will not suade the attention from the plight of the Palestinians. Is there justice for the Palestinian Refugees? Someone should help me answer that

  73. 74 selena
    June 21, 2008 at 14:19

    The only way any person or any groups will ever get justice is to stop expecting it for themselves only.

    The unfortunate state of the human condition is we cling to the belief that we are more important and deserve more respect and more rights for ourselves and our group.

    If we could stop for a moment and think of the other person first, even in the minor day to day happenings, let alone the major crises, the word might begin to change for the better.

    Every group has a past and as long as we look to the past and not to the future, we will hate. When we hate we are no better than the people we hate.

    The big question is: why do we think we are better than the others?

  74. 75 Roberto
    June 21, 2008 at 15:01

    Is there justice for the Palestinian Refugees? Someone should help me answer that
    ——————————————————————————————–

    ——– Is there no Palestinian who can speak for them?

    I know there were many negotiators from many points of the globe who worked tirelessly to get the Palestinians to the point of 2000.

    For those who may not know or forgotten, Palestinian economy was thriving as was trade between Palestinians and Israelis. Travel between the West Bank, Israel, and Gaza was routine for many with much fewer check points and less restrictions. Palestinian education was thriving and their overall lifestyle was perhaps the most prosperous of any of the non-oil producing states.

    Negotiations with Israel, the UN, US, and EU were progressing to the point that the unanimous declaration of the internationally recognized state of Palestine was no more than a signature away from being reality.

    What is justice for Palestinian refugees? Has anyone ever bothered to talk and taken a legitimate survey of Palestinian refugees to establish what they think of justice? Would they even be allowed to take such a survey without suffering reprisals?

    It seems to me, if there was to be any justice for Palestinian refugees, the best time for that to be addressed was in 2000.

    Who represents Palestinian refugees today? UNRWA? Where are they?

  75. June 21, 2008 at 15:42

    Hey Selena my love… I’m with you 100% sweetie… And to Precious Bryan, with all due respect to you my good friend, to me you’re, along with some of other good friends of ours, an original member of the party “I’m always right, and the ‘OTHER’ is always wrong, my beliefs are always true and valuable, and the ‘OTHER’s beliefs are always false and worthless, any point of view which goes against what I believe in is simply biased and an evil propoganda, the ultimate truth is in my pockets !”… Do you think that arguing with a human being whose head is being totally occupied and with all above stuff is actually valuable and worthy ?! You don’t own the ultimate truth about the Middle East conflict Precious Bryan, can you claim that you do ?! I’d really appreciate putting or referring to a link on this page from neutral and trust-worthy resources, like from the history department in any classy and respect-worthy Western University (Harvard, Oxford, London, ect., ect.,)… Is there any link about Naeim Giladi and the ordeal of the refugees from both sides (Arab Palestinians and Arab Jews) that anyone of guys can put on this page and extracted from the resources that I mentioned above ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  76. 77 Bryan
    June 21, 2008 at 15:59

    Interesting programme, though a little lopsided. As the presenter, Claire Bolderson pointed out regarding the Jewish refugees, “There was pull from Israel as well as push from the Arab countries.” But we didn’t hear enough, in my opinion about the push, especially in the choice of e-mails read out:

    Abdelilah Boukili June 17, 2008 at 8:15 pm
    (a slightly too-sunny portrayal of conditions for Jews in Morocco.)

    “The case of Moroccan Jews is quite different from those in the rest of the Arab world. It’s a historical fact that late Morocco’s King Mohammed V protected Moroccan Jews from the Nazis who wanted them deported from Morocco. Moroccan Jews enjoyed protection under Moroccan monarchs. They were never forced to leave Morocco when Israel was created in 1948.”

    Rashid Patch June 17, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    (It’s all the Jews’ fault, naturally.)

    “After 1948, throughout the Middle East and the Maghrib, Jewish communities were entreated by Zionists to leave their homes and move to Israel. Many did; but those who did not were then harshly castigated as traitors to Jewry.”

    Lubna June 17, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    (Come back. In time all will be sweetness and light.)

    “Any human being who’s been driven out of his home by force and deprived of his possessions, whether Palestinian or Jewish, does deserve a compensation… As a Baghdadi citizen, I say to all Iraqi Jews : Inshallah when things in Iraq get better, your places are always preserved here, in your original country Iraq where your original roots belong.”

    steve June 17, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    (Ah, some token balance thrown in.)

    “The reality is that Israel integrated these jews into Israeli society, and didn’t deprive them of citizenship,nor forced them into refugee camps like the palestinians’ “arab brothers” did to them.”

    Dennis June 17, 2008 at 8:17 pm
    “There should be justice for the Jewish Refugees and also for everyone else….”

    (Neutral.)

    Judie June 17, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    “This is an important but under reported story. About the same number of Jews left their homes in Arab countries and moved to Israel as the number of Palestinians who left Israel. There were several reasons for the emigration in both situations, though the way the immigrants were treated by their co-religionists were diametrically opposed.

    It’s too bad this story is going to be aired on Saturday when observant Jews will be observing Shabbat and will not be able to either participate or listen to the program.”

    The two guests on the progamme, David Matas, legal counsel to the Justice for Jews campaign, and the New York University historian Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, were knowledgeable and impressive but at times it seemed that David Matas was a lone voice against the opposition, including the BBC. Funny, I would have expected him to be the one aggressively promoting an agenda, but the reverse seemed to be happening. Here’s Claire Bolderson, responding to something he said:

    “It would only be a miscarriage of justice if you equate Palestinian refugees with Jewish refugees from Arab countries.”

    It’s a pity that the BBC comes to a programme like this with such preconceptions and, dare I say it, bias. As David Martas pointed out, the Jews were refugees at the time they were driven out of Arab lands, no matter what happened afterwards.

    But in general the programme was interesting and educational, so thanks for that.

  77. 78 steve b - uk
    June 21, 2008 at 16:20

    Ronnie – your story is very moving. I salute you

  78. 79 Bryan
    June 21, 2008 at 16:59

    Lubna June 21, 2008 at 3:42 pm,

    Lubna, since you live in Iraq you could make a valuable contribution to this debate instead of just pointing fingers at people whose opinions you don’t like. Do you know anyone in Iraq (they’d have to be pretty old) who had Jewish friends or acquaintances? If so, what did those Jewish people have to say about their lives there?

    You should pay closer attention to what people say. I wrote at 10:35 am that I was encouraged to see that the Egyptian government recognised the validity of the Bigio’s claim and tried to see justice done. (This was in the spirit of the Begin-Sadat peace agreement.)

    And no, I don’t think I am always right. Now again, why don’t you debate the issues? And if you are so intent on spreading Naem Giladi’s half-truths and omissions and distortions of fact, why not Google him and post your own links?

    He has been discredited by a number of sources, the most recent being Ronnie, June 21, 2008 at 12:05 am. That’s an important personal account of the treatment of Jews in Iraq, something totally absent from Giladi’s account because he would like us to believe that Zionists, and not Iraqi Arabs, were responsible for Iraqi Jews leaving for Israel. He is obviously a propagandist with a narrow agenda, otherwise he would present all the facts. Why are you so impressed by him? And what, if anything, do you think of Ronnie’s comment above?

  79. 80 susan
    June 21, 2008 at 19:11

    Lubna my sweetie , You preciously could inform yourself by reading “FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL ” BY JOAN PETERS . It has all the notes and indexes your lovely hands can get hold of my good friend . This book was originally an investigation for the “Arab refugees “….read on my love

  80. 81 Dan
    June 21, 2008 at 19:15

    The power of the media defined the word “Palestinians” despite that, like unicorns, they never existed.
    These are Arabs.
    Sadly 60 years ago they listened to leaders who, like Hitler, thought they could exterminate the Jews.
    The Jews that settled in Israel have in the past 60 years turned the desert into a garden with more social, economic and religious freedom and opportunith than all the Arab or Persian states combined.
    In the thousands of years that Arabs roamed the desert they have produced nothing but oil and taken that money to line their own pocekts and give the world Islamic terrorism.
    Israel has given the world medical and commercial products that enhance peoples lives and advance civilization.
    Now Arabs want to devolve those acheivements to have us all live again in a medieval tribal culture subject to the whims of of black eyed mullahs who send all except their own children off to commit suicide and murder.
    Israel exists as a monument to and a bulwark against the holocausts of past and the one that we all see coming if Iran gets the nuclear bomb.

  81. 82 Roberto
    June 21, 2008 at 21:28

    In the thousands of years that Arabs roamed the desert they have produced nothing but oil and taken that money to line their own pocekts and give the world Islamic terrorism.
    ————————————————————————————————–

    ——– I would just like to point out that this is an extremist view that is in no way true.

    Arabs, code for Muslim, have also made their contributions to civilization as any reasonably studied layman can understand. And, like any group of peoples in history, they’ve had their transgressions.

    It is unfortunate that they got stuck in a feudal/tribal society that the West managed to shuck after a couple of terribly bloody world wars, but there it is.

    Now they undergo a reformation of sorts as many of their finest fall in sectarian bombings and civil anarchy.

    I would think it more important than ever to carry on as much constructive dialogue as can be possible. Surely the West cannot be so arrogant as to think that somehow they are above reproach in this world.

    Peace always starts with dialogue, and let us remember that currently the Israelis are reputed to be in dialogue with Lebanese and Syrians. Just casting an entire group of people as an evil empire or instruments of the devil may assauge the topical pain, but does nothing for the soul or immediate problem.

  82. June 21, 2008 at 21:40

    Zak
    Sorry that you have been worrying about this, but I am the same Bataween who is the owner of the Point of No Return blog and translated the original interview from French at the behest of the author. I did not want to include the entire interview plus questions, just the main points. I did not include the link to my post – maybe I should have. You are welcome to add it in
    http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/2008/01/truth-about-jews-of-morocco.html

  83. 84 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 21:58

    OK, now it’s starting to make sense. But you still have a disparity between the answers; to be frank above the author has at least ire if not anger in his responses. On your blog which I have linked to that interview several times, the answers are much more muted, and I have enough linguistics training to know that’s not language alone.

    So we still need a consensus on the real version and one way or another I think that it’s better if you put that on your blog and we take it off this one. Otherwise you have 2 separate versions and only one is right. Again I’m trying to be objective as a mod here, you might want to take a look at the post I put on the blank page, this has become a hot issue especially right now (if I leave it on this blog then I’m technically liable for it as well as the BBC). Personally I have no gripe with the material.

  84. 85 susan
    June 21, 2008 at 22:17

    I had a cling of hope that maybe you would show some dignity in your reporting , but just as I thought unbelievable bias. One of the question asked by the moderator “are they really refugees ?” What an ignorant and ridiculous question . Would such a large group of a population almost 1 million leave their comfortable homes and possessions in order to come to live in tents and desperate conditions with only their clothes on their backs ? Yes BBC they lived in TENTS . BBC you are making a fool of yourself by showing the world how incredibly bias you continue to be ……if you bloggers don’t believe it read this …http://www.bbcwatch.co.uk/reports.html

    I wonder if BBC will show this ?

  85. June 21, 2008 at 22:19

    Two points:

    1) there were Zionist attacks (including bombing of synagogues) against Jewish targets in Iraq in the 1950s top drive them out and blame it on Arab nationalists (see Iraqi Jewish author Naiem Giladi’s excellent book “Ben Gurion Scandals”). See http://www.inminds.co.uk/jews-of-iraq.html

    2) There were Jews from Russia, Poland and elswhere who came under teh Zionist banner. Singling Arab Jews is a political ploy taht is racist: equating anyone who speaks Arabic with all who speak Arabic).

    In any case Jews should return to their homes and lands and we Palestinians have legal rights to return to our homes and lands. No justice= no peace

  86. June 21, 2008 at 22:21

    Can I ask BBC to now have a similar length segment on Palestinian Refugees? That would only be fair. Palestinian Refugee advocates in England would be happy to be on the program including Dr. Ghada Karmi and Dr. Salman Abu Sitta

  87. 88 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 23:59

    OK after some deliberation I want to just encourage everyone to have a look at Betaween’s blog for the interview he has with David Bensoussan, President of the Communaute Sepharade Unifiee du Quebec (United Sephardi community of Quebec) Point of No Return Blog from 2/05/2008.

    We are generally not supposed to publish copied material here but you can find links to this all throughout the thread. I would ask Betaween to contact WHYS about providing a direct link in the header.

  88. 89 selena
    June 22, 2008 at 00:34

    @Zak

    May I ask a question?

    How did you come to your conclusion about Bataween’s blog, in the first place?

  89. 90 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 01:16

    Selena

    Bataween’s blog has been linked to the BBC newshour story from the start by David above. However this interview was one Bataween wanted to bring to light because of it’s relevance. She has certain permissions to use a translated copy of the material in that interview. In general we’re not supposed to publish copied material because the BBC can be held liable. It was also the different version that was on the blog which I found to be misleading so ultimately we arrived at a compromise. Many people apparently thought the BBC program was lacking and it makes me wonder why they didn’t reference Bataween’s blog in the header because he’s got a lot of info including this interview he translated from French.
    Anyway that’s what I’m going to try to do for him instead of posting the interview.

  90. 91 Syed Hasan Turab
    June 22, 2008 at 02:05

    I raise in a neighbourhood with some Jewish families in Karachi Pakistan, couple of my school & neighbourhood friend’s are two brother & sister with the name of Iszak & Lilly.
    Iszak was a good Cricket Batesman & Lilly was good Cabra dancer, I still have nice memories of there friendship & childhood time. Lilly was little older then us & use to perform in private function’s, being a trusted friends along with Iszak we use to hang out with her during & after performance unless we come back home, though I always been questioned by my father where you been how come you are late etc.
    In 1974 Iazak discuss with me why not he go to Isriel for better future of his Cricket Carrier, later on he left for Isriel & played in Isrieli Cricket team as opening Bates man, Lilly got married in Pakistan & started his family life with her husband & kids with all happiness.
    Beside Iszak migration I notice old age Jewish migration on religious grounds from my old neighbour hood.
    For kind information & knowledge of desaster presanter’s none of the Jewish ever been expelled or forced to migrate from Muslim world though they were scared from Jewish State’s behaviour with Muslim’s in Phalistine as Muslim & world media was reporting ground realities & Jewish population was nervous with insecure feeling’s living in Muslim society.

  91. 92 susan
    June 22, 2008 at 03:43

    google: “BBC watch” ……to see how fair the BBC is ….it must all come from the guilt of that stiff upper lip ….

  92. 93 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 04:17

    Susan

    there’s no question the BBC has been stuck in the ‘old English way’ for sometime, they will turn a blind eye to prejudice, ramp up controversy, just to try to be more ‘hip’ and attract audiences more than their outdated parliament (who had to put a naked image of Gail Porter one the side of their building to get people to vote). But I would sincerely urge you to take up a campaign as I have in writing email directly to the various show presenters. Especially Over to You, they relax the behind a little more often than some shows, this one does too, but you have to see it for the merits that are here.

  93. 94 Syed Hasan Turab
    June 22, 2008 at 05:24

    Fairness of BBC may not be compaired with US media companies, though some time partial ownership attempt to presant contiminated media from soft lower lips.

  94. 95 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 05:54

    Syed

    how much alternative media have you searched out in the US? The one thing you can get here is a wider range of views like: http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/

    They never have the mainstream view and are fair to all nationalities, driven by non-profit funding. That’s a big key, non-profit. I listen to the show UpFront every week and it’s always a new experience. I would encourage anyone who thinks they’ve found a bias in US media to check this out and see if you find the same bias there.

  95. 96 Bryan
    June 22, 2008 at 06:20

    Zak, I have e-mailed Over to You a few times without the courtesy of a response, not even an automated one. And the BBC “Complaints” website also gives no automated response and they seldom respond in any other way. They make the complaints process as difficult as they possibly can.

    Claire Bolderson, who hosted yesterday’s Newshour, was on Over to You about a year ago with the host, Rajan Datar, bemoaning the fact that Israeli school textbooks don’t show the Green Line and Israel is shown (shock, horror) right up to the border with Jordan, “as if the Palestinians don’t exist.” This avoids the fact that there are many different kinds of maps and not all show political boundaries. Besides, Palestine is not a country. There was also no mention of the fact that Palestinian maps do not show Israel at all and that very young Palestinian children are educated in hatred of Jews, dressed up in dummy suicide belts and urged to become ‘martyrs’.

    Here’s the related article:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6608689.stm

    Biased against Israel? Of course it is, though it makes a weak attempt to come across as ‘balanced’. To the BBC, the Palestinians can do no wrong, and all responsibility for the conflict rests on the shoulders of the Israelis. That’s the default position and the BBC’s reporting automatically begins from that blinkered, PC assumption.

  96. 97 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 06:56

    Well I didn’t guarantee results, I have also done this as a mod and they won’t give me a response you just need concrete evidence. For instance awhile back Over to You had Will Rhodes on because he took part in writing the Bond novel that was half a spoof and half a lot of fun. They also had a caller on from Ramallah who was complaining of a lack of creative diversity. Will is an old English chap so they found him quite agreeable, played clips of the actor reading his lines only, Will was thrilled because, of course he wrote the lines. So I emailed them and said, hold on you had Will but you didn’t have Hannah, Robert, Rob Stu or myself on, all authors. To have an even slightly fair perspective of the creativity that went into that piece you would’ve had to hear from all of us and anyway it would have been fun like a little writers round table. So you can bet they got the message that the caller from Ramallah was making, because I padded it right on top.

    OK so now we’re dealing with a much more serious topic here but the same rule applies, if you come up with a concrete enough argument you’ll get through. But you have to deal within the means, wait, write, wait, write, try to get in touch with someone who really does care. I can tell you it’s cold and cruel and they will turn their backs on prejudice if you let them. But pick your battles wisely or you’ll just get people PO’d. There’s an art to cynicism and response, just be patient and never, never give up trying.

    Selena, a good friend, has the philosophy that you can’t change the prejudice until you move beyond the loss it is in a discussion, you have to leave it behind. Then you have to be the voice that speaks beyond it.

  97. 98 Bryan
    June 22, 2008 at 07:39

    Zak, I agree with all that. Problem is, the BBC is so prejudiced that we can write their script for them on any subject under the sun. We know where the bias is. Anti-Israel, anti-America, anti-Tories, pro-Labour and so on.

    Actually sometimes I think I have made a bit of dent in the PC attitudes and bias by complaining, but obviously it’s hard to know for sure. Could be that many people complained about the same thing so they were forced to take it seriously.

  98. 99 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 08:06

    Well media is not necessarily ever going to be without bias. You have corporate interests in the US, strong enough that the AP has made the mistake of threatening bloggers; an industry to which they are losing share time to more and more frequently. In the case of the BBC they have a Royalty backed mandate and if you want to really get down on it just ask the Irish how they feel about this.

    But here we have a forum where you have your fellow citizens have a reasonable amount of control over this blog, you can too if you want to become a moderator. But you will still run into prejudice there. Personally I can tell you that they stir the pot like a group of gossiping school girls, there are alliances, and there are none. Don’t think that I personally buy into this, my reasoning is that if I have to wait to see my posts I won’t keep it up. My view is we should have auto moderation and they may soon enough, no swear words, not more than 1000 words let it through. Then the mods can go through like they do on many forums and remove anything that falls under the misuse category. But we’re only going to get there en mass. Until there’s too many mods for the BBC to keep track of they won’t do this. It’s all a mass movement so find your friends in it, there are several gripes here. Work together to find a consensus. I still can’t guarantee results, but I’ll guarantee you this much. If I see a list of specific gripes related to this subject on this thread presented with a reasonable argument and not any wild accusations I will make sure it gets seen by the BBC.

  99. 100 Bryan
    June 22, 2008 at 09:50

    “Well media is not necessarily ever going to be without bias.”

    True, but of course the BBC is a public broadcaster and it’s obliged by its Charter to be impartial. It isn’t.

    “If I see a list of specific gripes related to this subject on this thread presented with a reasonable argument and not any wild accusations I will make sure it gets seen by the BBC.”

    That’d be good. Maybe someone can ask Claire why she chose to read out a one-sided selection of e-mails to this blog, as I mentioned yesterday at at 3:59 pm. There was no shortage of info on the horrific treatment of Jews in places like Iraq.

    And why did she concentrate on Morocco an Egypt, the more ‘moderate’ Arab states in the form of the BBC report and the testimony of the Egyptian doctor?

    Why does the BBC always take the option of minimising or hiding the worst that comes out of the Arab world?

  100. 101 Bryan
    June 22, 2008 at 10:08

    Mazin Qumsiyeh June 21, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    “Can I ask BBC to now have a similar length segment on Palestinian Refugees? That would only be fair.”

    The BBC has promoted the Palestinian cause for years. What do you think Alan Johnston, friend of the Palestinian people, was doing in Gaza all that time? And he’s only one example. There have been countless programmes on the Palestinians on BBC radio, including HYS and WHYS.

    And you object to what is probably the very first programme ever on the World Service about Jewish refugees from Arab lands?

    But you have a good idea. Let the BBC do its five hundredth programme on the plight of the Palestinians. Then insist that the presenter reads out e-mails that mostly ignore their plight and has guests and reports that minimise it. Fair is fair, isn’t it?

  101. 102 Mike
    June 22, 2008 at 12:26

    What many people fail to remember is the animosity toward Jews in the Arab countries in the 19th and 20th century. The most famous was the 1840 blood libel in Damascus, but similar incidents occurred throughout the Arab World as late as 1912 in Morocco. The blood libel has been kept alive, consider the television series in Egypt broadcast during Ramadan only a few years ago. As late as the 1920s any Jewish orphan in the Yemen was to be reared as a Muslim. Despite the usual assumption that Jews were well treated, they were second class citizens in these countries.

    Following the creation of the State of Israel, Jews were expelled from communities that date back over 2500 years, far longer than the Arabs who lived in what is now Israel. There is a difference between the Jewish population in the Arab countries and the Arabs in Palestine. With yearly Arab population growth rates that exceeded 8% annually until the start of WWII, a large percentage of the Arabs were, themselves, new immigrants. Contrast that with the Jewish community of Baghdad who trace their community to over 1000 years before the rise of Islam. While the numbers are the same, the personal and community property the Jews left behind resulted from thousands, not tens of years. On balance, reparations that would be paid to Jews who left Muslim lands would dwarf that owed to Palestinians.

    Would the Jews be welcome? Under Islamic law, Jews are considered dhimmi, second class citizens. Since 1948, Jews have been demonized in all Muslim countries. Considering the growth of political Islamic parties, Jews would certainly be looked down upon. Who would want to leave a country where you have complete democracy and are treated as equals only to become second class citizens?

  102. 103 allan Belanger
    June 22, 2008 at 12:58

    Regarding the Jews of Morocco, I would suggest to read the interview of one proeminent leader in
    http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/2008/01/truth-about-jews-of-morocco.html

    Allan Belanger
    Montreal

  103. 104 Alec Paterson
    June 22, 2008 at 15:16

    The BBC spent thousands of pounds of licence payers money blocking the release of the Balen report, which was instigated in 2004 to investigate the Corporation’s Miid east bias. Why is this still under wraps? What has the Biased BBC got to hide?
    Why was nothing mentioned on the programme about the pogroms in Baghdad and Tripoli, Libya, prior to the establishment of Israel? Anti Jewish motifs in the Koran, Hadith and SIra? Was there a directive from commissar Jeremy Bowen?

  104. 105 susan
    June 22, 2008 at 15:50

    zak how much concrete evidence do you need ?. Don’t tell me you or the BBC ,did not hear of the Al Dura hoax and the recent trial in Paris? (you can see it YouTube -) “Philippe Karsenty ” on “Al Durah”, (The modern Dreyfus affair) (also onYouTube )- the “Pallywood ” fiasco ? . (This is just the tip of the iceberg ) If not where have you and the BBC been ? I think if I heard the BBC’s bias side of those stories, I would just vomit .
    I live in a very liberal area , ,where I can have all the news possible that I want , plus the BBC . I am certainly not conservative , I listen to everything , never have I heard the BBC being fair to Israel . Are they being controlled by rich Arab governments? …..These days we have access to the internet ,we can find the truth , its really stupid of the BBC to ruin its reputation . Eventually , everyone will stop listening to it .
    You reporters who don’t have the courage to speak up , one day will wake up ,and find yourselves on the wrong side of the street , ashamed that you worked for such an ignoble organization . History will be the judge .”You can fool the people some of the time , and some of the people all the time , but you cannot fool all the people all the time “

  105. 106 Syed Hasan Turab
    June 22, 2008 at 16:59

    Zak,
    How many are the cable TV subscriber’s, How many have time to watch TV & how many try to investigate authonticity & reliability of the news along with media companies background check?
    Fact is this we have a good size of senior citizens population along with voting rights,they lost there abilities, they fully believe in unbelieveable’s. For real they turn goofy watching US media, to me they sound like VIP ( very Imparished Person), these are achievements of media companies & patterns.
    A diversified media keep you healthy.

  106. 107 susan
    June 22, 2008 at 18:00

    Syed [edited out personal attack] you should try to complain to all the Arab media’s about their laughable programing against Jews . They would make the Nazis very very proud …..

  107. 108 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 18:20

    Susan

    I would like to think you can be more objective than that, every time you succumb to subversive sarcasm you just drag the discussion down with you. Jews did not become refugees all in one day so let’s learn from history and not get expelled the same way.

  108. 109 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 18:37

    Syed

    How many are the cable TV subscriber’s, How many have time to watch TV & how many try to investigate authonticity & reliability of the news along with media companies background check?

    http://www.moveon.org/
    This one does.

  109. 110 susan
    June 22, 2008 at 18:52

    Are you threatening to expel me ?

  110. 111 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 19:25

    No Susan, I’m speaking about the 5000 years of history which my Jewish ancestors have taken to get to this point being expelled from country after country; you need to understand that a free discussion can either be an expression of that freedom or it can be nothing. Delving into sarcastic attacks are not helping the cause in the larger sense.

  111. 112 susan
    June 22, 2008 at 19:43

    Really you ancestors were Jewish refugees ? hard to believe when you say ” Jews did not become refugees all in one day so let’s learn from history and not get expelled the same way ” ……could you please explain better what you mean ?

  112. 113 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 19:52

    Susan
    Again you’ve got too much anger behind that sarcasm. I’ll do for you what I indicated before so you don’t look like you’re making prejudiced remarks. But in order to not cast shame on my family I’ll refrain from less than civil discourse.

    BTW: I’m just one person who has to decide what mud gets slung is over the line of prejudicial, I am not a BBC employee in any sense.

  113. 114 susan
    June 22, 2008 at 20:22

    You are the one who mentioned your family not me . Sarcastic ….The proof is in the pudding …by the way there was no personal attack at 6:00pm all I said was: I don’t know which country he came from…….? That’s a personal attack ? …..I pretty sure he would be proud of his origins …

  114. 115 Syed Hasan Turab
    June 22, 2008 at 20:34

    Zak.
    Do you think Obama will bring change, he will be so helpless infront of US Congress & Senate Like Bill Clinto’s second term.
    Unless & untill we demand time limit/ term for Congress & Senate membership, now question is this who will process these demand’s & bywhome these will be honored?
    No doubt first we have to get it approved from US Jewish Counsil.

    Susan
    I dont inderstand Arabic & dont watch Arabic media on regular basis, as far as your complain is concerned this is eltimate result of wild unhuman behaviour of Isreli Govt, Imported Jewish with malishi back ground & master minded Jewish Counsil.
    No doubt I do understand life in refugee camp because I born in refugee camp & my mother passed away with in 24 hour’s of my birth.
    I understand real well price of life without mother & understand differance between Love & sorry feelings since child hood. Infact I born in 1948 during partition of Pakistan & India.
    Any way life is a beautifull choice, if you think in a positive crystel, clean & clear way.

  115. 116 susan
    June 22, 2008 at 21:32

    zack what happened you don’t edit the comments by Syed about his so called Jewish conspiracy ,or do you and the BBC believe it ? I doubt you don’t see the racism about calling Jews malicious (Malishi) . this poor ignorant and unfortunate soul seems to believe it all .Those are the consequences of your BBC bias.

    PLEASE SYED …
    .JEWS ARE GOOD PEOPLE …DON’T BELIEVE THE BRITISH …..THEY LOOK DOWN ON YOU ANYWAY …. REMEMBER THEY WERE THE COLONIZERS …NOT THE JEWS ….THEY ARE GOOD PEOPLE …..SYED … GO TO YOUTUBE.COM AND WATCH “PALLYWOOD” .OR “AL DURA HOAX”…IT WILL SHOW YOU THE TRUTH ABOUT ISRAEL. ISRAELIS ARE GOOD PEOPLE JUST LIKE PAKISTANIS AND INDIANS ARE GOOD PEOPLE .THEY NEED A PARTITION JUST LIKE YOU HAD BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN ..LET ME KNOW THAT YOU UNDERSTOOD WHAT I SAID OK SAYED?

  116. 117 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 21:44

    Well a lot has been made of Obama’s Muslim relatives; and he isn’t taking money from lobbyists. Both of those factors are in his favor. The US is a partisan wheel that spins on it’s own access though, you might be surprised how much less dependence there will be on Allied Nations once we get out of Iraq.

    Anyone who understands the plight of refugees should understand how important it is for the US to remain impartial in the diplomatic process and in my view the one thing that’s holding that up is war. If Israel launches an attack on Iran’s nuclear facility they will do it before the end of the Bush term most likely.

    So in terms of refugees I do think that the next term of the US President will deal quite differently with the refugees on both sides of the conflict. But the point of this topic is how we should appropriate for the Jewish refugee status, I know the US will not be paying reparations, but similarly we do have the interest of Jews who came to this country. So it is very much a fact that the US will make any decision in regards to Israel and Palestine by consulting the Jewish council. Palestinians do have a place in this country, but Jewish refugees and immigrants helped found this country and they have paid their dues. Palestinians will undoubtedly have their voice heard in government more in the future, it does come from lengthy wait, just like American Indians, women and African Americans. America is a young country, the only place I will agree we are over bias to one side is in war, in peace we are just the child of the world, and it’s always better to teach than judge a child.

  117. June 22, 2008 at 21:49

    The Sephardic Jews from Egypt and other North African countries which became refugees are under no illusions, as I am one of them myself. We don’t expect renumeration from the Arab countries who “ejected” their Jews, mostly as retaliation against the formation of Israel in 1948 and thereafter.

    However, as a group, it does become sickening and tedious when the subject of the Palestinian refugees comes up, time and again, – as a gross injustice in the world -, and though it may be, the question of the Jewish refugees must be brought to the table any time there is talk of the Palestinian problem.

    And yes, now is the time to talk about it. Because many of us whose parents have already died don’t want the history of this second exodus to die with them. I am particularly vociferous about this subject, just as I am regarding the inhumane conditions for the Palestinians on my blog, Women’s Lens.

    The Jewish refugees from African countries were ignored, perhaps, because their plight was not as great as those Jews who had survived one of the worst human catastrophes, the Holocaust. How could one even begin to compare? But it doesn’t diminish the tragedy nevertheless.

    We were given the boot, with just the clothes on our backs. Some went to Israel, others made their way to Europe, where they felt more kinship with people who spoke French, Italian, English..whatever. A lot ended up in the Americas, both North and South and stayed there in an effort to rebuild their lives, quietly and steadfastedly. So quietly in fact, most people today don’t even know that there was a “refugee” situation out of Northern Africa.

    We did not go ballistic and start blowing ourselves up in vegetable markets or pizzerias. We rebuilt. We learned. We intergrated ourselves in the new countries we chose. And some of us rose above the fray to become people who left their mark in medicine, law, politics, government,- you name it.

    It’s time to pay tribute to these forgotten Jews. Whether the BBC is the right platform is debatable, but it’s a start. We just need an honest broker.

    Aimée Kligman

  118. 119 selena
    June 22, 2008 at 21:59

    @Aimee

    “We did not go ballistic and start blowing ourselves up in vegetable markets or pizzerias.”

    When I read this I find it hard to remember anything else you said.

    Selena Jacobs

  119. 120 selena
    June 22, 2008 at 22:02

    @Zak

    Obama reverses his position on raising money from private sources.

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5imF0stzng4QHQfEka6jVR8_Di09AD91DGB4G0

  120. 121 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 22:05

    It’s time to pay tribute to these forgotten Jews. Whether the BBC is the right platform is debatable, but it’s a start. We just need an honest broker.

    Aimee: feel free to post the link to your blog.

    Thank you for getting to the heart of the issue. Those who can understand why a discussion that allows people to express their opinions freely is an advancement of the cause will be able to see the benefits of it. Especially for those of us viewing the issue from afar it’s extremely critical to listen to each other. If you cannot turn a blind eye to hatred you will become mired in it and do no better for yourself or anyone else. Even within the Israel Palestine conflict the young people can get together impartially to discuss the future. How else is peace going to come? For refugees the cause is similar, only in peace will any positive compensation be realized.

  121. 122 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 22:18

    Selena

    let’s move that discussion over to the blank page as it’s irrelevant here, if you want to explain how that private funding system really works I’m all ears, I have not heard Obama say he will allow lobbyist contributions into his campaign however but I’m aware that he’s not using general fund finance.

  122. 123 susan
    June 22, 2008 at 22:23

    Thank you Aimee kligman

  123. June 23, 2008 at 00:30

    Hi, it’s David again.

    One final post from me, with some thanks, some responses, and some other thoughts.

    Thanks first to all of you who’ve contributed to this discussion. Your comments and personal stories have been read by many of us in the bbc (and beyond of course), and have given us much to think about, and some ideas about how we could cover this topic in the future.

    If you missed the 30-minute discussion on this subject on the BBC World Service’s Newshour programme on Saturday 21 June, you can listen to it again via this link:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/000000_newshour_listen_again.shtml

    Bryan: “in general the programme was interesting and educational, so thanks for that”. Glad to hear it, sorry you thought the choice of emails biased, and thanks for your link to the Egyptian Bigios family’s compensation battle – an unusual and interesting case.

    Susan: “One of the question asked by the moderator “are they really refugees ?” What an ignorant and ridiculous question”. Well, in the context of a comment from a former Israeli justice minister saying that his family had left Iraq for Israel on ideological grounds, apparently voluntarily, it seems a reasonable question to ask. The term ‘refugee’ has a clear meaning in international law, unlike other words such as returnee, exile, or emigrant, so we were simply trying to establish some definitions.

    Mazin: “Can I ask BBC to now have a similar length segment on Palestinian Refugees? That would only be fair.” Actually, this point came up in our editorial discussions about this programme. Different views were expressed with some feeling that we should balance our item on Jews from Arab lands with a similar length treatment of the Palestinian refugee issue….and others feeling that this issue gets covered at regular intervals in our ongoing programming. No promises, but we may devote a similar segment to the Palestinian refugees’ right of return to their former homes in the near future.

    And to those of you who accuse Lubna of naivety, for suggesting that she would like to welcome back the Jews who left Iraq, a final thought:

    I just spent the day at a conference in London about the heritage of the Jews of Iraq. I was surprised to find many non-Jewish Iraqis there, including the author Khalid Kishtainy, reading from his new book ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’. They were there to meet old friends and reconnect with former neighbours. But something else too: to assert their passionate belief in a more tolerant model of coexistence in the Middle East, and remind us all that the history of countries like Iraq and Egypt is so much more than the litany of grim headlines that we usually associate with these places.

    The exodus of Jews from Arab lands is the tragic final chapter of a much richer story. And if you want to know more about that, the recent crop of memoirs are a good starting place. Check out new books by Violette Shamash (Memories of Eden), Marina Benjamin (Last Days in Babylon), Nissim Rejwan (The Last Jews in Baghdad) and Liliane Dammond (The Lost World of the Egyptian Jews) for starters, and there are many more in similar vein.

    Thanks again.

  124. 125 Syed Hasan Turab
    June 23, 2008 at 01:33

    Susan,
    Please understand me I being a person dont have any personal issues with any person or nation, the cryteria I applied for judgement purely based on behaviour of a nation living in human society. While compairing the behaviour of Isrieli nation with immediate neighbour’s I notice a reflection of Nazi ism even worst then that, which is not healthy at all living in an human society in an unhuman way.
    All grivences may be settle down on the table instead of chocking them to the death in weard shamefull Nazi style. What ever U Tube you are recommanding sound like a fraud after observing current behaviour of Jewish State living in prevailing human society.

  125. 126 susan
    June 23, 2008 at 02:16

    David Why have such a program if you don’t really care to investigate . You seem to find one Israeli who says his family left Iraq on his own free will and on ideological grounds…You make him the example for the program . In any country of the world you can find people who emigrate , but then you have others who have suffered greatly and escaped horrible conditions….almost 1 million and you can’t find one refugee. How about looking for someone on vacation and put him on the show ?
    Is it that you did not do you homework or that you are all incompetent at the BBC? You can’t even make the effort to contact real refugees who were subjected to discrimination ,pogroms , executions, and confiscation of property . By your history , I think it was again you bias . When it comes to interviews against israel , you seem to know how to ask the questions. Regardless , you have shown the world that you can’t be trusted to tell the truth, and since you do it with the Israeli issues , how can we trust you for other news ?.
    …………………………………………………again everyone ….google BBC Watch

  126. 127 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 03:09

    I just spent the day at a conference in London about the heritage of the Jews of Iraq. I was surprised to find many non-Jewish Iraqis there, including the author Khalid Kishtainy, reading from his new book ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’. They were there to meet old friends and reconnect with former neighbours. But something else too: to assert their passionate belief in a more tolerant model of coexistence in the Middle East, and remind us all that the history of countries like Iraq and Egypt is so much more than the litany of grim headlines that we usually associate with these places.

    The exodus of Jews from Arab lands is the tragic final chapter of a much richer story.

    Incredible, after trying to right this discussion on a path of reconciliation, hearing this unrealistic ideology proposed, this is about healing, not a fantastic voyage. It’s preposterous for a journalist to accept this as a working model. Do you actually believe that the suicide bombers are just going to up and walk away at the first sign of a Jewish exodus to Iraq? That’s actually comical, hello, I’m here in America where we have just torn that country in 2 and spawned enough hatred for us as to double the already more hatred ‘insurgents’ had for Israelis to begin with. That ideology banks on the great American army to kill off all of those insurgents and then by the grace of god they will just abandon the enemy that has been their own for a good thousand years longer than they’ve been fighting the US.

    Lubna, is an enlightened soul, but she also has a diva watching over her to save her life when the IED explode on the roadside. If you cannot hear the tiny voice she’s using when extending that wish for unity then you, brother, should go into Iraq and take in the sights, because that statement is blind in the cozy confines of London town. If you don’t think when she walks into a hospital where she’ll soon be working and has an American soldier pat her down, that she sees a great long while before that sovereign strength to accept unity, then I think you have grossly underestimated the nature of warfare in that country. Furthermore you had an opportunity here to quell some growing unrest within, that has the potential to rise from an ember but, by ignoring that, you just held flame to the fire.

  127. June 23, 2008 at 05:52

    I feel that Palestinians should not be treated on a par with the Jews as the Jews from Arab countries were forced out of their countries whereas the Arabs from Israel left of their own accord. Also there are 22 Arab countries and not one of them have accepted Palestinians as fellow Arabs. Israel accepted the Jews from Arab countries and should be compensated for this from the Arab countries. Palestinians have been receiving aidfrom the UN for many years and should not be entitled to any more compensation.

  128. 129 Bryan
    June 23, 2008 at 07:49

    Newshour June 23, 2008 at 12:30 am,

    David, the more I think about the programme the more apparent the bias becomes.

    I made some observations here:

    Bryan June 18, 2008 at 11:01 am

    You undertook to provide some links based on those observations here:

    Newshour June 18, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    You failed to do that.

    I provided a link to a poignant personal account of the brutality suffered by the Jews of Iraq here:

    Bryan June 19, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Apparently it was not valid enough to feature even briefly on the programme. Instead we had Lubna’s invitation for the Jews of Iraq to return. I thought the BBC would like that one.

    David, look at the selection of e-mails read out on the show fairly and squarely and the order in which they were read out and then try to tell me it was not biased:

    Bryan June 21, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    I repeat my observation of Claire Bolderson’s comment to David Matas:

    “It would only be a miscarriage of justice if you equate Palestinian refugees with Jewish refugees from Arab countries.”

    There’s the bias in a nutshell. This is a brand new issue for the BBC. But you have made your judgement before even properly listening to or assessing the evidence.

    The fact that the Jewish refugees were welcomed in Israel and made something of their lives in no way lessens the fact and the trauma of their refugee status at the time or the theft of their property and destruction of their lives.

    The Arab states, meanwhile, have deliberately and callously ensured that the Palestinians remain stateless refugees as a thorn in Israel’s side. I don’t believe I have ever seen the BBC explore THAT issue just as I have never seen them explore the fact of a large number of Palestinians voluntarily leaving Israel in 1948 at the urging of the surrounding Arab armies. The BBC will do nothing to undermine the carefully constructed fantasy of all Palestinians having been driven out by the wicked Israelis.

    This particular programme proved that fact.

  129. 130 Bryan
    June 23, 2008 at 08:29

    Syed Hasan Turab June 23, 2008 at 1:33 am,

    Would be good if this one-trick pony contributor had something to offer besides the comparison of Jews to Nazis while portraying himself as some kind of benevolent, superior being. It would be funny if the insult were not so serious. I believe he is from Pakistan – the country that harbours the world’s most bloodthirsty terrorists, where women are raped as a punishment by official decree, where cowardly Islamic terrorists brutally murdered a women because she was trying to lead the country to sanity and where Daniel Pearl was held in captivity by Pakistanis he had trusted and was brutally tortured to death simply because he was a Jew.

    And this individual has the gall to tell us that ISRAELIS are worse than Nazis.

    On reflection, I must agree with Zak, June 23, 2008 at 3:09 am about the absurdity of David promoting the idea of the return of Jews to Iraq. When you think about it, Nazi Germany has come far enough in the past 60 years to welcome Jews back to the country. There is a growing Jewish population there and various laws to keep the neoNazis in check. And how has Iraq treated its Jewish citizens in the same span of time? That question has been comprehensively answered on this thread, including the fact that the current Iraqi government will not recognise Israel.

    I quote Ronnie, June 21, 2008 at 12:05 am:

    “Go back to Iraq, the romantic part of me would like to take my children to witness their father’s childhood memories. My practical part of me say never in a million years!”

    David, wishful, PC thinking does not change political realities.

    selena June 22, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    “@Aimee

    “We did not go ballistic and start blowing ourselves up in vegetable markets or pizzerias.”

    When I read this I find it hard to remember anything else you said.”

    Why? There’s nothing wrong with the truth. Why hide from it? Jews expelled from Arab countries could have formed terrorist groups in Israel and infiltrated Arab countries to blow up innocent Arab citizens for revenge and terrorise them to try to regain their property. Why is it that only the Palestinians took this course of action?

  130. 131 Sandy
    June 23, 2008 at 10:15

    As well as almost a million Jews expelled from Arab lands (and resettled elsewhere) since the end of World War 2, there have been an estimated 50 million refugees (25 million refugees of World War 2, and another 25 million since) who have restarted their lives elsewhere. Today, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) staff of around 6,300 people in more than 110 countries continues to help 32.9 million persons, with a budget of $1,668m pa ($50 per refugee per annum).

    In the meantime, the Arab nations have refused to resettle the Palestinian Refugees and using UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) with its unique definition of the term “Palestinian Refugee” has taken 600,000 refugees of the 1948 war in Israel and turned it into over 4.4 million refugees living in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab republic. UNRWA is by far the largest UN operation in the Middle East, with over 28,000 staff, and a budget of $480m pa ($110 per refugee per annum). Add $7.4billion pledged for 2008-2010 ($550 per refugee per annum) this means a total of 13.2 times the aid of all other 33 milion refugees in the world.

    What should happen, is that all refugees should be treated with equal care and humanitarian aid, and none should be kept imprisoned and impoverished so they can be used as political pawns for the benefit of despots and dictators.

  131. June 23, 2008 at 12:14

    Susan: “Why have such a program if you don’t really care to investigate? You seem to find one Israeli who says his family left Iraq on his own free will and on ideological grounds…You make him the example for the program”.

    Not an example for the programme, but an illustration of why we felt it necessary to discuss the question of refugee status. Other guests and contributors made it clear that many people left because of suffering and hardship.

    Bryan: “On reflection, I must agree with Zak, June 23, 2008 at 3:09 am about the absurdity of David promoting the idea of the return of Jews to Iraq.”

    I didn’t promote it. I made another point in reference to Lubna’s remark.

    David

  132. June 23, 2008 at 13:41

    I was alarmed to learn that David is thinking of ‘devoting a similar segment to the Palestinian refugees’ right of return to their former homes in the near future.’

    As Bryan says, haven’t we had enough programmes about the Palestinians already?

    I too went to the Iraqi heritage event, and spoke to an Iraqi Jew who had given you a 20-minute interview which the BBC did not use on the programme. Why not? Probably because it was a harrowing account of harassment and persecution. Perhaps your Arab listeners could not cope with the unvarnished truth about the treatment of Jews in Arab countries.

    At the event there was also a lady who had read extracts from her book on Iraq. I believe one was to do with the 1941 pogrom in which 180 Jews were killed. Again, her contribution was not used.

    The Arabs who were at the event are among the few who understand and regret the terrible injustices done to the Jews.

    I would ask you, David, seriously to consider using the material you taped but did not use in a subsequent programme. After all, you had barely scratched the surface of the Jewish refugee issue.

    Note to Zak: you assume I am a man – my husband will be surprised!

    Note to the Pakistani gentleman: check out my blog for articles on the Jews of Pakistan, including some first-hand accounts from Jews who had to leave Pakistan.

    http://www.jewishrefugees.blogspot.com

  133. 134 selena
    June 23, 2008 at 15:40

    It is high time we move forward and give up the notion that because our group suffered over the centuries we are entitled to carry on a struggle ad infinitum and milk it for all it is worth.

    Who is not a refugee from someone or something? All our ancestors have suffered at the hands of another.

    Look at any country’s history and someone in that country has been oppressed.

    There has always been a struggle between the powerful and the powerless. The powerful have always cemented their positions by wielding power over the less powerful.

    There is no end to the nonsense.

    We (humans) continue to be the problem. Shouldn’t we try to be the solution to a history of hatred of anyone except our own kind.

    I am deeply saddened that people from my heritage continue to set themselves up as morally superior and insist that we have suffered more. The posts on this blog are disturbing because they demonstrate that there is no solution to any of the separations which exist in society.

    It seems impossible for humans to consider anyone but themselves, when push comes to shove.

    There is no group morally superior… no not one!

    What’s next I wonder? Will the descendants of the victims of Press Gangs, for example, be asking for reparation?

    Look in the mirror, please. 🙂

  134. 135 susan
    June 23, 2008 at 15:41

    David actually most Palestinians left for ideological reasons . They left thinking and hoping all the Jews would be massacred . But surprise !!! the Jews won the war !!!! …..Jews never kicked them out . The proof , the Arabs who stayed ,are living very comfortably in Israel .(Much better than most Arab countries ) In 2006 Nasrallah kidnapped soldiers and started a war between Israel and hisbollah (YouTube – HISBOLLAH katjusha )The rocket were falling on Israel (remember?) . He too told the Arabs living in Israel to leave , so he could attack israel . The Arabs in Israel said “no , we will not make the same mistake again as in 1948 ” . No my friend history cannot be rewritten ..(although there is a good attempt by the Arabs states and it seems with the help of the BBC ) Maybe you should read : “From Time Immemorial ” by Joan Peters…… stop reading that revisionist history …..Tell me David , Why is the BBC so against Israel ?…is it the racist British colonial guilt ?………NOW HOW ABOUT A PROGRAM ABOUT THE AL DURA HOAX . ( I think I will go vomit now)….AND ANOTHER PROGRAM ABOUT TRYING TO FIND THE THE BILLIONS HONORABLE ARAFAT AND HIS LOVELY WIFE SUHA (happy go lucky , globe trotting the world ) HAVE STOLLEN ! ………………

    Until we realize there was an exchange of population , just like the one between Pakistan/India , There will never be peace . As Mr. Mazin Qumsiyeh said “NO JUSTICE = NO PEACE

    “The Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.” (Ralph Galloway, a former head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in Amman, capital of Jordan, in August 1958)

    Game : Can you guess how many UN resolutions against Israel ? YouTube – UN resolutions against Israel
    How many for Jews kicked out of Arab countries?
    How many rockets have fallen on civilians from Gaza since Israel left ?

    PS.To ask the Jews to come back to the Arab countries , is like the nazis asking the Jews to come back to Germany …..What a very sad joke……you have no shame BBC!!!!!!

  135. 136 allan Belanger
    June 23, 2008 at 17:37

    The French philosopher Albert Memmi (born in Tunisia) describes quite well the condition of Jews in Arab Lands in his book Jews and Arabs (in French, Gallimard, p. 50 7 al.)
    It is worth reading.
    It is also worth reading the transcripts of the correspondance of Brittish diplomats (e.g. Drummond Hay) about the conditions of the Jews.
    There is an abondant litterature of European travellers through the centuries that could tell a lot on the perpetual degradations of Jews.
    There are also many diaries of different rabbis that are nothing else than a wailing wall of cries and despair in the presence of massacres, injustice and institutionnalized humiliation.
    To those who claim that coexistence was wonderful, either they do not want to know about the facts, either they consider that dhimmis conditions – that are a blatant transgression of human rights – are what they consider to be a paradigm of normality.

    Allan Belanger
    Montreal

  136. 137 Ronnie
    June 23, 2008 at 19:59

    David

    Ronnie, here I too was at the conference Sunday afternoon and would have loved to meet you and Zak.

    I have not had a chance to listen to the program but I will make the effort to do so

    I do have a small question to you with regards to your posting June 23 2008 at 12:30 am you mention the following books about the Jews from the Arab countries.

    The exodus of Jews from Arab lands is the tragic final chapter of a much richer story. And if you want to know more about that, the recent crop of memoirs are a good starting place. Check out new books by Violette Shamash (Memories of Eden), Marina Benjamin (Last Days in Babylon), Nissim Rejwan (The Last Jews in Baghdad) and Liliane Dammond (The Lost World of the Egyptian Jews) for starters, and there are many more in similar vein.

    My wife (non-Iraqi) bought me the books by Violette Shamash (Memories of Eden) and Khalid Kistainy (By the Rivers of Babylon), and trust me I will read them and make sure my children do so.

    However, I am puzzled about the fact that you did not choose to mention the books by Gourgi C Bekhour (Fascinating Life and Sensational Death) and Mona Yahya (When the Grey Beetle took over Baghdad). I know, Mona very well, her elder brother was a classmate of my elder brother and she was 1 grade lower than in Iraq. Both books were on sale at the Iraqi event.

    I would love to hear your reasons for the book selection and whether the BBC intends to do a program on the 40th anniversary (27th January 2009) when 9 innocent Jews were hanged and their bodies publicaly displayed in the main square in Baghdad.

    Ronnie

  137. 138 Zak
    June 24, 2008 at 02:50

    “This debate is now closed.”

    Well you better lock it because that statement ain’t going to help.

    I want to dispel a few myths here: first I am not a BBC employee
    I am a moderator on this forum selected perhaps because I inspire debate or simply out of desire.

    Second to Ronny who’s made some invaluable contributions to this thread and may be the only one who kept it from sinking in terms of value lost: I was not at the conference in London, however I would be very happy to meet you as well if chance came. But from the sound of the conference as journalist my premise would have been to see the positive mixed with the negatives and not try to favor one or other but rather remain unbiased. To give healing back to a place is to do just that, you can kill with kindness just as quickly as a grenade. I am however an author.

    Last but not least, I was a little miffed about this because I really tried hard to get Bataween’s blog referenced as clear as I could and at the same time save her from violating possible liable laws. So now I’ve corrected this and will say only; that your husband must not be too mad because with your stubborness there would not be much room left for temper in your marriage!

  138. 139 allan Belanger
    June 24, 2008 at 06:06

    Jewish emigration from Morocco
    1948: Some Moroccan decide to celebrate the independence of the Jewish state by killing 48 Jews in Oujda and Djerrada. 90 000 Jews leave Morocco
    1956: 6 Jews are burnt alive in Petit Jean, one old Jew is killed with axes in Boujad. 25 000 Jews leave Morocco
    1961: Anti Jewish measures and kidnapping of Jewish girls under the aegis of the Minister of Islamic affairs. 75 000 Jews leave Morocco between 1961 and 1963.
    1967: Boycott of Jewish stores and media campaign against the Jews and Israel. From that date, Jewish presence in Morocco became symbolic.

    Allan Belanger
    Montreal

  139. 140 Bryan
    June 24, 2008 at 06:11

    “Well you better lock it because that statement ain’t going to help.”

    Thanks for the laugh, Zak. I realised that statement was false when I saw a few more comments coming in after the debate was “closed.” So I guess it’s more accurate to say that Newshour wont discuss this anymore and thinks it can instruct everyone else not to discuss it either. Reminds me of “Have Your say”, the close relative of this blog. Sometimes the BBC shuts a debate down there quicker than greased lightning, even if it’s a popular one and is just taking off. I suppose the difference is that on that blog they have the ability to lock it after it’s closed.

    Still, the BBC has come a long way in the past few years in opening up debate and giving non-PC viewpoints an airing. Pity that they so often snap back into the old ways like a rubber band being released after being stretched.

    Ronnie’s last comment is very revealing. One of my major gripes with the BBC is the way they carefully slant their reporting by omitting or distorting facts they don’t like and emphasizing those they do. I was surprised that this Newshour programme only lasted half an hour. It needed at least an hour just to begin to explore the conflicting claims in an impartial way. But perhaps that was not the BBC’s aim here.

    Newshour June 23, 2008 at 12:30 am
    “Susan: “One of the question asked by the moderator “are they really refugees ?” What an ignorant and ridiculous question”. Well, in the context of a comment from a former Israeli justice minister saying that his family had left Iraq for Israel on ideological grounds, apparently voluntarily, it seems a reasonable question to ask. The term ‘refugee’ has a clear meaning in international law, unlike other words such as returnee, exile, or emigrant, so we were simply trying to establish some definitions.”
    David, just in case you come back to try to lock the door again on this debate, there’s a comment from Stephen on June 20, 2008 at 1:34 pm that would have really helped you with your definitions of ‘refugee’. He gives the statistics of Jews in Arab lands in 1948 compared to the year 2000. 886 000 Jews dwindled to 8000. That’s less than one percent of the total. Put another way, over 99% of Jews left Arab countries in that period.
    And then there is this:
    http://www.jimena.org/faq/faq.htm
    See “Q. Was there any coordination between Arab governments in the expulsions of the Middle Eastern and North African Jews?”
    This is damning:
    “According to Walid Khalidi, perhaps the leading Palestinian nationalist historian and a highly reputable source, “The (Palestinian) Arabs held their ground throughout the period from November 1947 to March 1948. Up to March 1, not one single Arab village had been vacated by its inhabitants, and the number of people leaving the mixed towns was insignificant.”[12] The mass departure from Palestine of 590,000 Arabs began only in April 1948; yet , Heykal Pasha had publicly and very formally announced a program to expel Jews from Arab countries fully five months earlier.”
    And you take the experience of one Jew who left voluntarily as a starting point to explore the debate on who is or isn’t a refugee?
    Solidly grounded in its pro-Palestinian ‘narrative’, the BBC failed to explore this issue in a balanced way. In so doing, it reinforced rather than challenged all the old Palestinian refugee stereotypes.

  140. June 24, 2008 at 09:34

    Let’s make things clear:

    The debate is definitely closed in the sense that the comments from here onwards aren’t going to make it onto air; Newshour has two editions a day and has clearly moved away from this story — which ran on Saturday — already. This does not stop anyone from continuing to contribute to the discussion; the mods will continue to approve comments until/unless told to stop.

    The blog was originally set up to be for only WHYS. However, over time many of the BBC’s news programmes — The World Today, World Update (which has its own blog, for the record) and Newshour among them — moved from their own emails to the same WHYS at bbc.co.uk email as the BBC moved to integrate their programmes with the general theme that it’s for the world to have their say. This blog isn’t “part of WHYS”; rather, WHYS is a part — the most important part and focus — of this blog.

  141. 142 Dennis
    July 5, 2008 at 17:43

    When will there be justice for the jewish refugees.


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