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CIJA Applauds Parliamentary Report on Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries

For Immediate Release, November 18, 2013

Ottawa, ON – Last Friday, a report by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on the subject of Jewish refugees from Arab countries was tabled in Parliament. The report concludes by recommending that the federal government “officially recognize the experience of Jewish refugees who were displaced from states in the Middle East and North Africa after 1948” and “encourage the direct negotiating parties to take into account all refugee populations as part of any just and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflict”.


In response to the report, which includes extensive testimony by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) as well as other Jewish community representatives, CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel issued the following statement:


“We applaud the committee for its ground-breaking and multi-partisan report, which calls on the government to formally recognize the experience of Jewish refugees from across the Middle East.


“Peace and reconciliation cannot be achieved without mutual understanding, including recognition of the historic suffering of Jewish and Arab refugees alike. While Canada’s current policy on the Middle East acknowledges the plight of Arab refugees, it makes no mention of nearly one million Jews forced to flee Arab countries in the years after Israel’s founding.


“For years, CIJA has raised this as a key shortcoming in Canada’s standing policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict. We are hopeful that the federal government will quickly enact the committee’s recommendations, and ensure that Canadian policy reflects a fair, accurate, and complete account of the history of Middle Eastern refugees.”


Fogel also commended Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), an organization devoted to raising this issue in various countries, for its contributions here in Canada. Sylvain Abitbol, Co-President of JJAC, joined CIJA in applauding the committee’s report:


“The effort to ensure that Canada recognizes Jewish refugees is the lead initiative in an international campaign, and we are gratified that Canadian parliamentarians have been receptive to this important cause. For those of us who were personally impacted by the Jewish exodus from Arab countries, it is a matter of justice that any future peace accord acknowledges this painful – and widely neglected – chapter of the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.