Remembering the forgotten Jews from Arab countries

December 5, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The World Jewish Congress has co-sponsored an event at UN headquarters in New York to commemorate the rich history of the Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa.

Ambassador Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations           Photo: (c) Shahar Azran / World Jewish Congress

They were persecuted and forced to flee from their countries in which they had lived for millennia during the years from the 1940s to the 1970s.  In 2014, the Government of Israel designated November 30th as the official day to mark this tragic period in Jewish history.

The event was sponsored with other Jewish organizations and the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations,

Sarah Idan, human rights activist and former Miss. Iraq         Photo: (c) Shahar Azran / World Jewish Congress

Speakers at the event included Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Amb. Danny Danon, U.S. State Department Special Envoy to Combat and Monitor Anti-Semitism Elan Carr, and Human Rights Activist and former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan.

In his remarks, Ambassador Danon outlined his plans for placing the issue on the UN’s agenda, stating that, “denying the rights of Jewish refugees” is an attempt “to erase them from the narrative and an antisemitic historic injustice.” To correct this, the ambassador said that Israel will, “propose a resolution that will reaffirm the Jewish refugees’ place in history and assure that their rights are recognized.” Adding, “I can see no legitimate reason for any member state to oppose the resolution.”

Commenting following the event, Evelyn Sommer, Chair of World Jewish Congress North America, said, “For too long, the world has ignored the plight the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, who were persecuted and forcibly expelled from lands that had been their homes for hundreds and hundreds of years.  These Jewish refugees from countries such as Libya,  Iraq and Yemen, among others, had to flee their homes in distress during the 1940s to the 1970s, leaving everything behind. It is high time to right the record of history and to recognize the facts about the Jewish communities that once lived throughout the Middle East and North Africa and to educate others about their rich heritage and culture.  The World Jewish Congress has been deeply active in the efforts to call the attention of the United Nations and the  international community to this history in order to ensure that these Jewish communities will be remembered and their stories commemorated.”

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