Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bush briefed on Jewish refugees by local activists

At the White House presidential Hanucah party in December 2007, George Bush was for the first time made aware of the existence of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries. He said their issue should be raised in future negotiations. Update to the story which journalists covering the White House Hanucah party missed: (with thanks: JIMENA Voice)

While Maurice Shohet was giving George Bush the background to the plight of Jewish refugees of Arab countries, the mother of the slain journalist Daniel Pearl, Ruth Pearl - another Jewish refugee from Iraq - also had a word in the presidential ear:

Letter published in the San Francisco Jewish News on 21 December 2007:

"A critical piece of the story was absent from the coverage of Chanukah at the White House (Dec. 7). Judea and Ruth Pearl, parents of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, were guests at the celebration. Ruth Pearl is a Jewish refugee from Iraq, and she raised the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab lands with the president.

"Before this White House meeting, Ruth Pearl was briefed by Regina Waldman, chair of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, and Yitzhak Santis of San Francisco’s JCRC. Maurice Shohet, JIMENA’s representative in Washington, D.C., provided the president with background information on the nearly one million Jews forced to flee from 10 Arab countries. Ruth Pearl talked about how the Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim lands were successfully absorbed into the mainstream of American and Israeli life and this is the reason their story is known by so few.

"President Bush said he had also never heard about the tragedy of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries and that the issue should be raised in future negotiations. This is a shining example of local activists having an international impact on issues vital to the Jewish people."

Natalie Shamash
San Francisco

Article in the Jewish Press

No comments: