Friday, April 06, 2012

"Forgotten Refugees": forgotten no more

From JPost, Thursday Apr 05, 2012:

Justice for Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries has at long last become official Israeli government policy. ...On Tuesday, the deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon held a conference in Jerusalem to launch his ministry's report and recommendations for highlighting the issue of 870,000 Jewish refugees driven out of Arab countries.
See excerpts of the report below, including a link to the full document.
Israel's Jewish population is made up of 52% Sephardim/Mizrahim who were forced to leave their homes and possessions in Muslim lands. Not not only have they never received compensation, but their plight has never been internationally recognised...
...Ayalon said that the issue of Jewish refugees should be raised in the framework of every peace negotiation, in keeping with a law the Knesset passed in 2010. The Prime Minister's Office “will consolidate the issue [of Jewish refugees] into any future negotiations,” the document stated.
The deputy foreign minister broke new ground by publiclly laying responsibility for the creation of both the Arab and the Jewish refugees at the door of the Arab League.
Ayalon recommended the creation of an “international fund” for the compensation of Jewish and Arab refugees and the absorption and rehabilitation of Arab refugees. Contributing countries might include Israel, Jordan and “perhaps Lebanon if it is willing to rehabilitate the descendants of Palestinian refugees in its territory.”
The basis for compensation will be the “value of the assets of the refugees at the time."...

From the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 3 Apr 2012:
Between 1948 and 1951, about 850,000 Jews were expelled or forced out of Arab nations, and became refugees. Between the late 1940s and 1967 the vast majority of the Jews from Arab countries were uprooted from their lands of birth.

Up until the present day, an injustice was done to the Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries. Their property rights and their historic justice were abandoned.
During various efforts and talks in pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, negotiators have overlooked an important element pertaining to the Arab-Israeli conflict - the uprooting of around 850,000 Jews living in Arab nations, the loss of their assets and property, and the difficulties they underwent upon migrating to Israel and their absorption.
Close to half of Israel's Jewish citizen's today, including their descendents, came from Arab countries. Thus during the attempt to resolve the conflict through a political process, which will resume at some point in the future, this issue should be expanded, raised to the forefront, and addressed from every angle.

Thriving, prosperous Jewish communities existed in the Middle East and North Africa a thousand years before the rise of Islam and more than 2500 years before the birth of the modern Arab nations. These communities, which extended from Iraq in the east to Morocco in the west, enjoyed a lively fabric of life and were influential in the local economies. Until the 10th century C.E., 90% of the world's Jews lived in regions now known as Arab countries.
Between the late 1940s and 1967 the vast majority of the Jews from Arab countries were uprooted from their lands of birth, most of the Jewish communities in these countries had vanished, leaving behind a few thousand Jews scattered throughout a small number of cities.
Even before the Partition Plan of November 1947, increasing hostile measures were taken by the Arab nations, led by the Arab League, against their Jewish communities. Following the Partition Plan, Arab governments started confiscating Jewish property. Simultaneously riots and massacres broke out against the Jewish communities throughout the Arab world. Jewish-owned stores and synagogues were looted and burned, hundreds of Jews were killed and thousands were imprisoned.
As Israel was established as an independent state in May 1948, the Arab League Political Committee convened and drafted a series of recommendations for all Arab and Muslim countries on how to take action against the Jews in their countries. Among other recommendations, the citizenship of Jews was revoked, and they were henceforth considered citizens only of the newly established Jewish state. Their assets were confiscated, their bank accounts frozen, and property worth millions of dollars nationalized. Jews were barred from government ministries, their entry in to the civil service was severely restricted, and many lost their means of livelihood.
The anti-Jewish trend only increased over time, and an organized plan of oppression and persecution was implemented against Jews in Arab states. Between 1948 and 1951, about 850,000 Jews were expelled or, as explained above, forced out of Arab nations, and became refugees. In fact, a two-way migration of populations began, along with the creation of two different refugee groups. The Arab nations, led by the Arab League, were responsible for causing both groups of refugees, Jews and Palestinians.
The ratio between the two refugee groups was 2:3, with the Palestinian group numbering around 600,000 as opposed to the Jewish refugees, which numbered about 850,000 (up until 1968), and their descendents now account for about one half of the population of the State of Israel.
Another important aspect of this subject is that of lost property. A 2008 study estimated that the ratio of lost property stands at almost 1:2; the Palestinian refugees lost property totaling roughly 450 million dollars (in today's prices around $3.9 billion) whereas the Jewish refugees lost property totaling 700 million dollars (around $6 billion dollars).
The Arab nations, led by the Arab league, perpetuated the refugee problem (except for Jordan, which conferred citizenship on its Palestinian citizens), as opposed to Israel which integrated the Jewish refugees and saw to their rehabilitation. The Palestinian refugees' situation was also perpetuated by the international system through UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which has no mandate to find sustainable solutions for the Palestinian refugee problem.
According to the criteria set by the UN regarding the definition of a refugee, the Jewish refugees are considered full-fledged refugees, and when the Security Council passed Resolution 242 in November 1967, no differentiation was made between Palestinian and Jewish refugees. The Palestinian refugees had their refugee status perpetuated, while the Jewish refugees from Arab countries engaged in building new lives for themselves.

...Summary and Recommendations

a. A true solution to the issue of refugees will only be possible when the Arab League will take historic responsibility for its role in creating the Jewish and Palestinian refugee problem, as documented.

b. There should be a joint solution between the Arab countries and the international community in order to provide compensation for both Palestinian and Jewish refugees. In order to achieve this goal an international fund will be created that will be based on President Clinton's suggestion from 2000 and the Congress resolution 185 from 2008 in which Israel will also take part, even only in a symbolic way.

This fund will also compensate the countries that had already been working on absorbing and rehabilitating refugees; amongst others Jordan and Israel (retroactively) and perhaps Lebanon if it is willing to rehabilitate the descendants of Palestinian refugees in its territory. Here we should emphasize that the basis for compensation will be the value of assets of the refugees at the time, which according to research was much greater on the Jewish side than on the Palestinian side.

The fund will also deal with the issue of Jewish property that is still in the hands of Arab and Muslim countries, however the so-called Right of Return will not be relevant as the Jews are not interested in returning to the places from which they were deported from.

The State of Israel will not accept the principle of a Palestinian "right of return" but will prefer to provide compensation by an authorized third party. This demand has historic precedents as in the case of Cyprus.

c. Our embassies and diplomatic delegations around the world are requested to act with Parliaments in their host countries in order to adopt a resolution in the spirit of House Resolution 185 from April 1, 2008 which determines that the definition of a refugee applies also to the Jewish refugees who were pushed out of Arab countries.

d. The issue of Jewish refugees should be raised in every peace negotiation framework whether it is opposite the Palestinians or Arab governments.

e. The Palestinian refugees will be rehabilitated in their place of residence just as the Jewish refugees were rehabilitated in theirs - Israel. There should be an immediate discontinuation of the perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee issue.

f. The rehabilitation process in their place of residence will minimize the demand for the "right of return" during peace talks and in any case the insistence of some Palestinian refugees to be given a right of return will be resolved by their immigration into the future Palestinian state that will be established through a peace agreement.

g. During the peace negotiations (with the Palestinians or Arab countries) the demand for financial compensation for both Palestinian and Jewish refugees should be raised.

h. The Foreign Ministry, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, will lead a Hasbara campaign on the issue of Jewish refugees in coordination with the PM's office which will consolidate the issue into any future negotiations.

i. As part of the negotiation framework, all of Israel's delegations around the world will be directed to distribute and to pass along these messages to any governmental body and public diplomacy forum in their host country.

j. Israel's delegations around the world will also be directed to approach Jews from Arab countries that reside in their host country in order to have them speak on this issue.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

We must avoid fatal folly that helped to create Europe's 'leaderless jihad'

From: The Australian March 31, 2012 by: Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor:CONSIDER this moment. The young jihadist Mohamed Merah, 23, a Frenchman of Algerian background, has recently killed three French soldiers, two of African heritage and one West Indian. He did this to avenge the actions of French soldiers in Afghanistan. He said to one of the soldiers he killed: "You killed my brothers; I kill you."
Now he has gone to a modest Jewish school in a peaceful, middle-class suburb of Toulouse and shot a rabbi and his two young sons. At this moment, he chases after an eight-year-old girl. When he catches her, he holds her by the hair while he reloads the gun, then shoots her in the head. All this he has filmed. Later, during the 32-hour police siege that finally ended, as Merah had wanted it to, in his death, Merah tells police he acted in revenge for Palestinian children killed by Israelis.
What else do we know about Merah? We know that he visited Afghanistan in 2010 and went to several other Middle Eastern nations. Then, last year, he spent two months in Pakistan. He told police he was trained by al-Qa'ida in Waziristan, a tribal redoubt for global jihadi terrorists. He also claimed that al-Qa'ida gave him money.
...What else? Merah's stepfather had been detained in Syria for running an al-Qa'ida safe house. He was convicted in Toulouse for recruiting people to join al-Qa'ida in Iraq. Merah's brother, charged with complicity in the latest killings, has said how proud he is of Merah.
The Left, liberal interpretation of Merah is that while his actions were despicable he is really a victim, marginalised in France by his background.
The most famous and important such interpretation comes from Tariq Ramadan, professor of Islamic Studies at Oxford University, and often hailed as a kind of moderate Islamist...he wrote:
"The story of Mohamed Merah holds up a mirror to the face of France; he ends up a jihadi without real conviction, after having been a citizen deprived of true dignity ... rather like an overgrown adolescent, unemployed, at a loose end, soft-hearted but also disturbed and incoherent...His political thought is that of a young man adrift, imbued neither with the values of Islam or driven by racism and anti-Semitism."
The polar opposite of that interpretation is offered by the French newspaper Le Figaro, which wrote:
"The terrorist wanted to show his hatred for France by targeting the military and the school ... He was supported by his family and probably also by a network. This monster is the creation of a suburban counter-culture that is alienated from our country's legal basis. It's too easy just to swallow yet again the eternal sermon of sociologists or demographers who - if they recognise this isolation at all - are happy to make the state solely responsible for it. The social difficulties do not justify the bitterness felt by this counter-culture in its struggle for dominance ... Terrorised France is sitting on top of a volcano."
The key difference between these interpretations is that Le Figaro's is consistent with the facts; Tariq Ramadan's pertains entirely to fantasy.
...Of course, the vast majority of France's six million or so Muslims do not engage in anti-Semitic violence. The vast majority of Muslims in all Western societies are law-abiding. But the minority who are attracted to a jihadist interpretation is disturbingly large.
This is in part because many, if not most, mainstream interpretations of Islam contain within their cosmology a view of the West that is essentially negative, if not hostile.
European security figures believe that "leaderless jihad" is a new and growing threat. Because Western security forces have been so successful in hunting down, arresting or stopping al-Qa'ida plotters, the global jihadi movement is adapting. It is emphasising rapid training for recruits from Western societies and sending them back to act on their own, rather than in cells.
This handicaps Western police forces. What would civil libertarians say if the police had tried to take any preventive action before Merah committed his murders, on the basis of his associations or internet usage? It is impossible.
There is no evidence that Merah was deranged or particularly isolated. He travelled easily in the Middle East, he had a close relationship with his family. It is more than likely, as is the case with the vast majority of jihadist murderers, he made a rational commitment to the Islamist jihadist ideology.
France has Europe's largest Muslim population. Many of them went to France as asylum-seekers. All over Europe, Muslim Brotherhood members found asylum from persecution in North Africa, then set up Muslim Brotherhood organisations in Europe. The failure of North Africans to integrate in Europe, similar to the situation of many Pakistanis in Britain, cannot be blamed predominantly on the host society. Chinese, Indian and other immigrants have been very successful.
Rather, what is clear is that there was a vast, unregulated Muslim immigration into Europe, much of it under the guise of asylum-seeking, which has been catastrophically unsuccessful.
France's President, Nicolas Sarkozy, merely acknowledged the obvious by drawing the connection between this immigration and crime. Immigration into Australia has been, in contrast, very successful, mainly because it has been legal and orderly.
Since Labor dismantled John Howard's Pacific Solution, some 16,000 people have arrived in Australia in unlawful boats, the majority of them Muslim and from countries with strong traditions of Islamic extremism.
Some of the people charged with terrorism offences in Australia have come here under the refugee and humanitarian program.
The desire of the Australian public for this inflow to stop is entirely rational and sensible, and not remotely racist. If each of those 16,000 people results in three more coming eventually through family reunion, then that's upwards of 65,000 people who have not been chosen by our immigration program. And, despite a marginal fall in numbers for part of last year, the better established the route becomes the more people it will attract.
The asylum-seeker phenomenon in Europe has been a dismal failure and has introduced a savage new strain of anti-Semitism, anti-social behaviour, alienation and terrorism into that continent. The problem is much smaller in Australia, but it is folly for us to repeat Europe's historic mistake.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Rev. Wright's Role in the 'Destroy Israel March'

From The Patriot Post, Monday, April 2, 2012, by Arnold Ahlert:Obama's mentor served as an adviser to the anti-Semitic Global March to Jerusalem.
On March 30th, the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ), an attempt to mobilize millions of demonstrators aimed at converging on the state of Israel and inevitably breaching its borders, took place. Joining the likes of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Mavi Marmara flotilla veterans, were the inevitable horde of useful idiots from the West, including British anti-Semite George Galloway, anti-war Bush-basher Cindy Sheehan, Truther conspiracy advocate Richard Falk, and radical race theorist Cornel West. Yet it was one of the movement's "official advisers" whose name stood out: president Obama's former spiritual advisor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
In earnest, the GMJ was little more than a modern-day, jihadist-inspired confrontation aimed eliminating the Jewish State. It was an aim revealed by the GMJ's logo, showing a map of Palestine in place of Israel. The GMJ rejects any two-state solution with the nation they consider the epicenter of "apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation." Furthermore, the organizers insist that they are "renewing the struggle to liberate Palestine," a particular expression that is a common euphemism for the destruction of Israel.
The organizers planned a four-pronged assault on Israel's borders from four neighboring countries: Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. Additional protests were organized to take place at Israeli embassies in Europe and Arab countries. Palestinian activist Dr. Mustafa Barghouti made the inevitable disclaimer that always attends such assaults on Israel's sovereignty. "This march is absolutely peaceful and non-violent, and we will try everything possible to prevent violence," Barghouti said. This disclaimer was followed by the curious caveat: "Of course, if they use violence against us, the world should protest," he adds. "But the march is absolutely peaceful and nobody will try to provoke violence."
Of course unprovoked violence did break out. It was no more than what was expected considering the history of Palestinian activism: A May 15, 2011 demonstration on Nabka Day, the day when Palestinians mourn the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948, resulted in 15 deaths when protesters attempt to breach Israel's border. A reprise of violence occurred June 5, 2011, on Naska Day, when Arab nations commemorate their defeat (or "setback") by Israel in 1967. At least 23 people were killed during a protest near the Golan Heights, when Israeli troops once again prevented a border breach by Palestinian demonstrators coming from Syria.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a man with a long track record of racist and anti-Semitic statements, was a prefect fit for this latest Palestinian PR endeavor. And despite the fact that Wright was president Obama's spiritual mentor for over twenty years, the White House has refrained from commenting on his involvement with a movement designed to produce more violence and more bloodshed.
Wright long ago offered his reasoning for being off the president's radar.
"Them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office," said the Reverend during a 2009 interview.

Yet the president's silence on the issue is disturbing. As recently as March 5th, Mr. Obama assured American Jewish leaders that he "will always have Israel's back."
Yet even if one assumes that such assurances are specifically limited to Iranian belligerence, the White House is undoubtedly aware that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei publicly expressed his support for the GMJ in February, that Iran established local committees to help organize it, and that the Iranian-backed Islamic Centre of England is one of the top European organizers of the event. How is it that the same president who is more than willing to lend his voice to a variety of issues, even a controversial racial case involving a single death in Florida, has nothing to say about an internationally-organized demonstration that presents such a clear assault to Israel's existence?
At the very least, the president might have warned the demonstrators that a breach of Israeli borders is unacceptable. With respect to the countries allowing the demonstrators access to Israel's borders, the president might have also expressed the idea that foreign aid contributions are tied to responsible behavior. And since Jeremiah Wright sits on the advisory board of the GMJ, the president could have re-established contact with Wright to express his concern.
None of it has happened.
Furthermore, in a remarkable exchange on Tuesday with reporter Matt Lee, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland revealed that the Obama administration does not consider Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel.
"We are not going to prejudge the outcome of those negotiations, including the final status of Jerusalem," said Nuland. 

The photo now reads simply "Jerusalem." ...
Thus the Global March to Jerusalem, a march purporting "to change the nature of the confrontation by compelling the occupiers to face millions of demonstrators demanding Freedom for Palestine and its capital Jerusalem" from the "racist state of Israel" proceeded with no resistance from the President Obama -- and perhaps tacit approval.
In another time, the president might even have participated in such an anti-Israel crusade along with Wright -- before it got politically inconvenient, anyway.
The administration also "scrubbed" at least one photo caption (and possibly others as well) of Vice President Joe Biden. The Biden photo had previously stated he was dining in the "David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, Israel."
He also criticized the president at the time for not sending a U.S. delegation to the World Conference on Racism, an annual, anti-Semitic hate-fest that unfailingly singles out Israel for condemnation. ...

March on Jerusalem Fizzles

From IPT News • Mar 31, 2012:There was nothing "out of the ordinary" about Friday's annual Palestinian protest of Land Day, the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] spokesman said, despite predictions that 2 million Palestinians and activists would swamp Israel's security forces.
Many protests both in Israel and the territories were prevented or under attended, while international demonstrations drew few to the cause ...
The army was "satisfied" about its largely nonviolent reaction to the protests, as well as Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation in preventing the overwhelming spread of protests, said IDF Spokesman Yoav Mordechai. Only one violent protester was killed along the Gaza border, in comparison to 38 deaths that followed illegal infiltrations along the Syrian and Lebanese borders last year. The low turnout also thwarted attempts by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to draw more demonstrators to officially sponsored rallies.
The event was also a major failure internationally.
Jordanian protesters were stopped before they reached the border, and four American members of the anti-Zionist Jewish group Neturei Karta were beaten and verbally abused by some local participants. Lebanese protesters spoke out violently against Israel but did not provoke major reactions at the border, while the ongoing Syrian government crackdown prevented any serious actions there. A rally in Berlin drew around 50 protesters, and rallies in other European capitals and America failed to impress....

A Heartfelt Plea for Increased Light by Mrs. Chava Sandler of Toulouse

From Chabad, March 2012:

My heart is broken. I am unable to speak. There are no ways for me to be able to express the great and all-consuming pain resulting from the murder of my dear husband Rabbi Jonathan and our sons, Aryeh and Gavriel, and of Miriam Monsonego, daughter of the dedicated principal of Ozar Hatorah and his wife, Rabbi Yaakov and Mrs. Monsonego.

May no one ever have to endure such pain and suffering.

Because so many of you, my cherished brothers and sisters in France and around the world, are asking what you can do on my behalf, on behalf of my daughter Liora and on behalf of the souls of my dear husband and children, I feel that, difficult though it may be, it is incumbent upon me to answer your entreaties.

My husband’s life was dedicated to teaching Torah. We moved back to the country of his birth to help young people learn about the beauty of Torah. He was truly a good man, loving, giving, and selfless. He was sensitive to all of G-d’s creatures, always searching for ways to reveal the goodness in others.

He and I raised Aryeh and Gavriel to live the ways of Torah. Who would have known how short would be their time on this Earth, how short would be the time I would be with them as their mother?

I don’t know how I and my husband’s parents and sister will find the consolation and strength to carry on, but I know that the ways of G-d are good, and He will reveal the path and give us the strength to continue. I know that their holy souls will remain with us forever, and I know that very soon the time will come when we will be together again with the coming of Moshiach.

I wholeheartedly believe in the words of the verse: “The L-ord has given, and the L-ord has taken away; blessed be the Name of the L-ord.” I thank the Almighty for the privilege, short though it was, of raising my children together with my husband. Now the Almighty wants them back with Him.

To all those who wish to bring consolation to our family and contentment to the souls of the departed: Let’s continue their lives on this Earth.

Parents, please kiss your children. Tell them how much you love them, and how dear it is to your heart that they be living examples of our Torah, imbued with the fear of Heaven and with love of their fellow man.

Please increase your study of Torah, whether on your own or with your family and friends. Help others who may find study difficult to achieve alone.

Please bring more light into the world by kindling the Sabbath candles this and every Friday night. (Please do so a bit earlier than the published times as a way to add holiness to our world.)

The holiday of Passover is approaching. Please invite another person into your homes so that all have a place at a Seder to celebrate the holiday of our freedom.

Along with our tearful remembrance of our trials in Egypt so many years ago, we still tell over how “in each and every generation, they have stood against us to destroy us.” We all will announce in a loud and clear voice: “G-d saves us from their hands.”

The spirit of the Jewish people can never be extinguished; its connection with Torah and its commandments can never be destroyed.

May it be G-d’s will that from this moment on, we will all only know happiness.

I send my heartfelt condolences to the Monsonego family for the loss of their daughter Miriam, and I pray for the speedy recovery of Aharon ben Leah, who was injured in the attack.

Thank you for your support and love.

Chava (Eva) Sandler