Compensation urged for Arab Jewish refugees

Speakers at a conference on Middle Eastern and North African Jewish refugees called for legislative initiatives to support compensation for the refugees.

The Sept. 9-10 conference in Jerusalem, Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries, was organized by the World Jewish Congress and Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Senior Citizens’ Ministry.

The conference is part of a drive to raise the profile of the mass exodus of Jews who either fled or were expelled from Arab countries surrounding Israel’s founding in 1948. It also aims to create parity between those refugees and Palestinian refugees from Israel’s War of Independence. A similar conference will take place at the United Nations headquarters on Sept. 21.

One of the conference’s goals is to urge legislative bodies worldwide to pass resolutions recognizing Jewish refugees and requiring that in future Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, compensation for Jewish refugees for suffering and lost property be discussed whenever the parties negotiate compensation for Palestinian refugees. Resolutions recognizing Jewish refugees are under discussion in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as Israel’s Knesset. — jta