Conference to Raise Cause of Jewish Refugees From Muslim Countries


Jewish refugee camp in Israel, 1950.

The “forgotten refugees” of the Arab-Israel conflict — Jews forced from their homes in Arab countries — will gain a hearing at the United Nations Building in New York tomorrow, at a conference named “The Untold Story of the Middle East: Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries.”

The conference will urge that American and international diplomacy recognize the rights of the Middle East’s Jewish refugees on an equal footing with those of other refugees in the region, including Palestinian Arabs — an especially salient topic given ongoing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

The conference will be convened by Israel’s Mission to the United Nations, the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and Justice for Jews from Arab Countries.

“The world has long recognized the Palestinian refugee problem, but without recognizing the other side of the story — the 850,000 Jewish refugees of Arab countries,” president of WJC, Ronald S. Lauder, said.

More after the jump.
The conference will hear presentations from Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure Silvan Shalom, Israeli Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ron Prosor, Lauder, Conference of Presidents Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein, and Co-President of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries Sylvain Abitbol.

The film The Forgotten Refugees, a documentary by Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, will be screened.

“For any Middle East peace process to be credible and enduring, it must ensure that all bona fide refugees receive equal rights and treatment under international law,” Lauder said.