How tone deaf can he get? President Obama has decided to take on the cause of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. He wants to give them a 'right of return.' Does he really think there will be any takers?
Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security advisor for communications and President Barack Obama's chief speechwriter on foreign policy, talked about what's known as the "Jewish right of return" during an off-the-record conference call with Jewish community leaders on May 20, only one day after Obama's major speech on the Middle East. A recording of the call was provided to The Cable.The extent to which the Obami don't get it is truly appalling.
In response to a question asking why there is a great deal of focus on the Palestinian refugee issue but almost no focus on the Jews who departed Arab lands, Rhodes declared that the Israelis and Palestinians should negotiate on the Jewish right of return to Arab and Muslim countries and that the United States could play in role in mediating that issue.
Here's the full exchange:
"While Palestinian refugees have concerns that are understandable and need to be dealt with in the peace process, there was no reference in the president's speech to the approximately one million Jewish refugees that emerged from the same Middle East conflict. I'm talking about Jews from Arab and Muslim countries who were forced out of their homelands where they had lived for centuries," said B'nai B'rith International Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Fusfield.
"The international community has never acknowledged their rights and their grievances," Fusfield continued, "[C]an the U.S., as the peace process move forward, play a role in advancing the rights and concerns of these Jewish refugee groups and help ensure that as refugee issues are dealt with... that the focus will not just be on one refugee group but on all refugee groups emerging from the same conflict?"
Rhodes responded: "Certainly the U.S., in our role, is attuned to all the concerns on both sides to include interests among Israel and others in Jewish refugees, so it is something that would come up in the context of negotiations. And certainly, we believe that ultimately the parties themselves should negotiate this. We can introduce ideas, we can introduce parameters for potential negotiation."
"We believe those types of issues that you alluded to could certainly be a part of that discussion and put on the table and it's something that we would obviously be involved in."
The issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries is raised for two reasons: First, in the hope of getting the descendants some compensation for having fled with only the clothes on their backs. And second, to show that what took place in the late 1940's and early 1950's was an exchange of populations that ought to be left alone.
But you can't expect Obama to understand that. He just doesn't care. via israelmatzav.blogspot.com
...A key focus of negotiations will be reaching a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on Resolution 194, which the General Assembly passed in 1948... - Abu Mazen AKA Abbas
...here is the truth about Resolution 194
[Count Bernadotte's] report also considered the possibility of resettlement outside Palestine, with those who chose not to return being adequately compensated for their lost property. “It must not... be supposed that the establishment of the right of refugees to return to their former homes provides a solution to the problem” the report read.
The Drafting History of 242 Shows it Pertains to all Refugees – Jewish and ArabResolution 242 speaks of “a just settlement of the refugee problem,” not ‘the Palestinian or Arab refugee problem.’ The history of the resolution shows that it was intentional and reflected recognition that the Arab-Israeli conflict created two refugee populations, not one. Parallel to the estimated 600,000 Arabs who left Israel, more than 899,000(12) Jews fled from Arab countries in the aftermath of the 1948 war – 650,000 of them finding asylum in Israel.
A history of the behind-the-scenes work drafting the resolution shows that the former Soviet Union Ambassador Vasiliy Vasilyevich Kuznetsov sought to restrict the term ‘just settlement’ to Palestinian refugees only. But former U.S. Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, the American Ambassador to the UN who played a key role in the ultimate language adopted, pointed out:
“A notable omission in 242 is any reference to Palestinians, a Palestinian state on the West Bank or the PLO. The resolution addresses the objective of ‘achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem.’ This language presumably refers both to Arab and Jewish refugees, for about an equal number of each abandoned their homes as a result of the several wars.” via crethiplethi.com via Obama shows his ignorance of Resolution 194.
The point is not that Jews in the democratic state of Israel want to return to the repressive regimes inMuslim countries where they have the status of dhimmis. The point is that if the children and grandchildren of Arabs who left then-Palestine retain rights, then so too do the Jewish refugees as well. There are close to a million such refugees from Arab countries--and they deserve compensation for the land and property they lost.
In 2004, Jack Epstein wrote an article about what Jews forced out of their homes in Arab countries wanted:
Last year, House Resolution 311 called on the international community to recognize Jewish refugees who "fled Arab countries because they faced a campaign of ethnic cleansing and were forced to leave behind land, private homes, personal effects, businesses, community assets and thousands of years of their Jewish heritage and history. [full text of HR 311 here]"
Hat tip: JW via daledamos.blogspot.com
The World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries, a group affiliated with Urman's coalition, estimates the value of the confiscated property at more than $100 billion.If the descendants of those Arabs want to insist that they have rights, then the rights of the similar number of Jews, all of whom were repopulated in Israel if that was their wish, must be upheld as well.