After reading Pankaj Mishra’s CiF piece, “In India and Israel, the burden of protest falls on the victims of injustice, CiF, June 6), which noted that some of the descendants of Palestinians displaced by Israel’s defensive war of Independence, now living in Syria, have been attempting to infiltrate Israel’s border, and posting, here, that, while the issue of Palestinian refugees and their descendants is frequently cited by the Guardian, and the MSM, the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab lands (those Jews ethnically cleansed following the 1948 War) is rarely if ever discussed.
I further began wondering why, in the context of the fact that the UNRWA recognizes 4.8 million Palestinians as the official number of “refugees” – which includes descendants (and further descendants) of the original displaced refugees – there has never been a count of total number of Jewish refugees (900,000) from Arab lands which similarly includes their descendants.
Well, of course, the reason why such a number has never been established is largely based on the fact that such refugees were absorbed into Israel or emigrated to the West, but the fact remains that there has not been recognition of the enormous suffering, and subsequent loss of property and assets, which resulted from Arab nations’ decisions to expel their Jewish citizens for no reason other than they happened to share religious background of the majority of citizens in Israel.
Of that 900,000 figure (depending on estimates) there are around 5,000 Jews left in Arab countries, representing an expulsion rate of well over 99% of the total who once lived there – Jewish communities which dated back hundreds and, in many cases, thousands of years.
Equal justice demands that, if Palestinian refugees from Israel, displaced as the result of the War of Indpendance (a war initiated by the Arabs), and their descendants continue to get special status as permanent refugees and will eventually receive some sort of compensation for their loss, Jewish refugees and their descendants should similarly get recognition and compensation.
So, I ask those more familiar with the Jewish refugee problem, academics, statisticians and demographers for assistance in calculating the number of Jewish refugees and subsequent descendants in a way statistically consistent with the manner by which the UN has calculated the numbers of Palestinian refugees:
JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa
Point of No Return (Blog about Jewish Refugees)