Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries

JEWS IN GRAVE DANGER IN ALL MOSLEM LANDS

 May 16, 1948

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As the state of Israel came into being, its very creation imperiled Jews living in Arab and Muslim countries. This danger was recognized and reported in a New York Times article by Mallory Browne, dated May 16, 1948.

Browne reported:

Already in some Moslem states such as Syria and Lebanon there is a tendency to regard all Jews as Zionist agents and "fifth columnists." There have been violent incidents with feeling running high. There are indications that the stage is being set for a tragedy of incalculable proportions.

The draconic measures contemplated and actually applied to Jewish citizens at the time were part of the plan of ethnic cleansing and genocide that the Arab states had undertaken. They included:

a law drafted by the Political Committee of the Arab League ... was intended to govern the legal status of Jewish residents in all Arab League countries.

It provides that beginning on an unspecified date all Jews except citizens of non-Arab states, would be considered "members of the Jewish minority state of Pales-tine." Their bank accounts would he frozen and used to finance resistance to "Zionist ambitions in Palestine." Jews believed to be active Zionists would be interned and their assets confiscated.

...

In Syria a policy of economic discrimination is in effect against ;Jews. "Virtually all" Jewish civil servants in the employ of the Syrian Government have been discharged. Freedom of movement has been "practically abolished." Special frontier posts have been established to control movements of! Jews. .'

In Iraq no Jew is permitted to' leave the 'country unless he deposits f5,000 ($20,000) with the Government to guarantee his return. No foreign Jew is allowed to enter Iraq even in transit.

In Lebanon Jews have been, forced to contribute financially to the fight against the United Nations partition resolution on Palestine. Acts of violence against Jews are openly admitted by the press, which accuses Jews of "poisoning wells," etc.

Excerpts from the draft law mentioned above are at Draft Arab League Law Against Jews. Mallory notes:

On Jan. 19. 1948, the World Jewish Congress submitted a memorandum on the whole problem to the Economic and Social Council, asking for urgent action during the spring session of the Council.

This plea arose to some extent from statements, made by Arab spokesmen during the General Assembly session last autumn, to the effect that if the partition resolution was put into, effect, they would not be able to guarantee the safety of the Jews in any Arab land.

In other words, three years after the Holocaust had wiped out European Jews,  Arab countries seemed to be threatening to wipe out Asian Jews. Apparently, the report was "debated," but no no decisions were taken.

A table taken from the report by the World Jewish Congress gives the estimated number of Jews in Arab and Muslim countries, a population of about 900,000. Eventually, the fears voiced in this article were realized almost fully. Virtually entire population of Jews in Arab and Muslim countries fled to Israel, to Europe or the United States in the face of racist persecution, or when forced out by law. No compensation was ever offered these refugees, and their status was never recognized by the United Nations. Of a population of about 900,000, only tiny and scattered communities remain. In Egypt, there are a few hundred Jews at most. In Afghanistan there is one Jew. In Morocco, a few thousand.

The article notes that even then, the flight had already begun:

Conditions vary in the Moslem countries. They are worst in Yemen and Afghanistan, whence many Jews have fled in terror to India. Conditions in most of the ,countries have deteriorated in recent months, this being particularly true of Lebanon, Iran and Egypt. In the countries farther west along the Mediterranean coast conditions are not so bad. It is feared, however, that if a full-scale war breaks out, the repercussions will be grave for Jews all the way from Casablanca to Karachi.

The article was out of date by the time it was published, since the Israeli War of Independence had already begun. Arab States declared war on Israel as soon as it was established.

Ami Isseroff

Copyright

The introduction above is copyright 2007 by Ami Isseroff. The document below is provided under the fair use for educational purposes doctrine. It may be subject to copyright restrictions when published in a for-profit venture. Please cite the sources.


JEWS IN GRAVE DANGER IN ALL MOSLEM LANDS

By MALLORY BROWNE

New York Times, May 16 1948, page E4

LAKE SUCCESS, N. Y., May 15 -- For nearly four months, the United Nations has had before it: an appeal for "immediate and urgent" consideration of the case of the Jewish .populations in Arab and Muslim countries stretching front Morocco to India.

Even four months ago, it was the Zionist view that Jews residing in the Near and Middle East were in extreme and imminent danger. Now that the end of the ,mandate has precipitated civil war or even worse developments in Palestine, it is feared that the repercussions' of this in Moslem countries will put the Jewish populations in many of these states in mortal peril.

Reports from the Middle East: make it clear that there is serious tension in all Arab countries. The Jewish populations there are gravely worried at the prospect that an Arab-Jewish war may break out suddenly at any moment.

Feeling Runs High

Already in some Moslem states such as Syria and Lebanon there is a tendency to regard all Jews as Zionist agents and "fifth columnists." There have been violent incidents with feeling running high. There are indications that the stage is being set for a tragedy of incalculable proportions.

Nearly 900,000 Jews live in these Moslem and Arab countries 'stretching from the Atlantic along the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Zionist leaders today are convinced that their position is perilous in the extreme.

When the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations meets in Geneva next July, this matter will come before it.

On Jan. 19. 1948, the World Jewish Congress submitted a memorandum on the whole problem to the Economic and Social Council, asking for urgent action during the spring session of the Council.

This plea arose to some extent from statements, made by Arab spokesmen during the General Assembly session last autumn, to the effect that if the partition resolution was put into, effect, they would not be able to guarantee the safety of the Jews in any_ Arab land.

The memorandum of the World Jewish Congress went into considerable detail on this danger. It cited the text of a law .drafted by the Political Committee of the Arab League which was intended, to govern the legal status of Jewish residents in all Arab League countries.

It provides that beginning on an, unspecified date all Jews except citizens of non-Arab states, would be considered "members of the Jewish minority state of Pales-tine." Their bank accounts would he frozen and used to finance resistance to "Zionist ambitions in Palestine." Jews believed to be active Zionists would be interned and their assets confiscated.

The memorandum gave many details of instances of persecution' of Jewish individuals and whole communities. It listed the following tabulation of the Jewish residents in Arab countries:

French Morocco 190,000
Iraq   130,000
Algeria  120,000
Iran  90,000
Egypt 80,000
Tunisia  80,000
Turkey  75,000
Yemen 40,000
Libya 30,000
Spanish Morocco and Tangier  30,000
Syria  11,000
Lebanon 7,000 7,000
Aden (including refugees from Yemen) 8,000 8,000
Afghanistan (including refugees in India)  5,000
Other countries (Hadramuth, Sudan, Bahrein) 5,000
Total 899,000

Later information submitted to the Economic and Social Council was to the effect that:

In Syria a policy of economic discrimination is in effect against Jews. "Virtually all" Jewish civil servants in the employ of the Syrian Government have been discharged. Freedom of movement has been "practically abolished." Special frontier posts have been established to control movements of! Jews. .'

In Iraq no Jew is permitted to' leave the 'country unless he deposits f5,000 ($20,000) with the Government to ;guarantee his return. No foreign Jew is allowed to enter Iraq even in transit.

In Lebanon Jews have been, forced to contribute financially to the fight against the United Nations partition resolution on Palestine. Acts of violence against Jews are openly admitted by the press, which accuses Jews of "poisoning wells," etc.

Danger Emphasized

Giving many other details of persecution. this report declares that "the very survival of the Jewish communities in certain Arab and Moslem countries is in serious danger unless preventative action is taken without delay."

Today, with the Jewish State an established fact, Jewish spokesmen at Lake Success do not conceal their anxiety that this danger to the survival of the Jewish populations of the Arab countries is even more imminent, and that the only effective solution would be to facilitate their quick transfer, in so far as is possible and practicable, to the new Jewish State.

Conditions vary in the Moslem countries. They are worst in Yemen and Afghanistan, whence many Jews have fled in terror to India. Conditions in most of the countries have deteriorated in recent months, this being particularly true of Lebanon, Iran and Egypt. In the countries farther west along the Mediterranean coast, conditions are not so bad. It is feared, however, that if a full-scale war breaks out, the repercussions will be grave for Jews all the way from Casablanca to Karachi.

This document is at Zionism and Israel Information Center - Historical Documents and References

General History of Zionism - Zionism and the Creation of Israel


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