The Arab world has committed a terrible crime against its Jewish citizens, yet the international community has exacted no political price. "There have been no political consequences", as Gina Waldman puts it to the Canadian parliamentary committee investigating Jewish refugees this week. Instead, the tables are turned: Israel, which gave safe haven to the majority of these refugees - is in the dock: world-famous figures such as Professor Stephen Hawking have joined the Israel academic boycott - allowing themselves to be suckered by genocidal fascists and ethnic cleansers.
Gina Waldman, wearing her grandmother's bridal dress, gives testimony to the UN Human Rights Commission in 2008
VANCOUVER, Canada (JTA) -- Jewish refugees from Arab countries have
been ignored by the Western world, the Canadian Parliament was told in
its first-ever hearings on the issue.
"The expulsion of nearly 1 million Jews from nine Arab countries has
had no political consequences," Gina Waldman, president of JIMENA, a
nonprofit group dedicated to the preservation of Mizrahi and Sephardic
culture, told the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on
Foreign Affairs and International Development on Tuesday.
The hearings on Tuesday, as well as May 2, are part of a new push by
Jewish groups and the Israeli government to highlight the plight of the
refugees in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"The two refugee populations were created as a result of the
Arab-Israeli conflict," David Koschitzky, the chair of the Centre for
Israel and Jewish Affairs Chair, told the Jewish Voice. "Unfortunately,
the plight of Jewish refugees has been completely omitted from Canada's
Middle East policy, while that of the Palestinians features
According to JIMENA, the goal of the hearings is to urge the Canadian
Parliament to pass legislation stating that a comprehensive
Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement must deal with all issues relating
to refugees, including Jewish refugees. The U.S. Congress passed similar
legislation in 2008.
Last fall, Israel's then-deputy foreign minister, Daniel Ayalon,
launched the "I am a Refugee" campaign in a bid to create parity between
the struggle of Jewish and Palestinian refugees. Ayalon included
publicizing the issue through Israel’s diplomatic missions.
According to information presented at the hearings, 856,000 Jews from
Arab countries were displaced between 1948 and 1952, compared with
On Tuesday 7 May, the committee heard testimony from Libyan-born Gina Waldman herself and two Jewish refugees from Iraq. One goes by the name of 'Chantal.' Here are Gina's and Chantal's stories:
Read JTA article in full
Transcripts of hearings: 2 May; 7 May here and here
Gina Waldman's story
JJAC kicks of Canadian study into Jewish refugees
Canadian parliament investigates Jewish refugees