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On November 4 and 5, in New York, the JJAC organization (Justice for Jews from Arab Countries) has organized a two day conference of some 40 delegates from 10 different countries to focus on the Right of Redress campaign for Jews from Arab countries.

The efforts of the JJAC are aimed at creating a worldwide awareness of the plight of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and to ensure that the Jewish refugee problem is always considered whenever and wherever the Middle East refugee problem is discussed.

The conference agenda notes with dismay that published accounts of the proposals of various states in preparation for the Annapolis Middle East Peace meeting make no mention whatever of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

A recent article in the Jewish World Review, What about Jewish Refugees, by Stewart Ain, voices the organization's concern that Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, and his cabinet may not be taking up the cause of Jewish refugees, at a time when the issue of the Palestinian refugees will be discussed in Annapolis, during the upcoming peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Stewart Ain also refers to a May 16th 1948 article, in the New York Times Jews in grave danger in all Moslem lands, by Mallory Browne. That article discussed the imminent danger the Jews in Arab lands were facing and cited several laws drafted by different Arab countries aimed at stripping Jews of their citizenship rights, and of taking away their rights to own properties. Browne's article was based in large part on a report submitted to the United Nations Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC) in January of 1948, citing the peril to Jews in Arab countries.

The WJC memorandum included a draconic anti-Jewish law drafted by the Arab League, which would have turned Jews living in Arab countries into second class citizens, forcing them to register and depriving them of their property and other rights, reminiscent of the Nazi Nuremberg laws. The World Jewish Congress memorandum was debated by ECOSOC but no decision was taken. Measures similar to those suggested by the Arab League were enacted by Arab countries at different times. These, together with rising anti-Semitism, led to the eventual expulsion or forced flight of nearly all of the nearly 900,000 Jews residing in Arab countries, leaving behind valuable property as well as their native lands, and putting an end to communities and cultures that had existed, in some cases, for thousands of years.

The JJAC Conference will conclude on a high note, when the State of NY and the City of NY will be proclaiming that the week of November 5 - 12, 2007 as Sephardi-Mizrahi Heritage week. The official ceremony for this commemoration will take place at the Safra Synagogue in NY.

Israel Bonan

Original content is Copyright by the author 2007. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000440.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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It is only when those people step forward, and are willing to continue to push the peace process forward no matter what, that we will see any real progress. It is hard to know who those people may be, but Mr. Abbas, Mr. Olmert, Ms. Rice and Mr. Bush all have an opportunity this fall to become those people. To be sure it would be a challenging role to embrace, but perhaps if one or two of them are brave enough, Annapolis might actually produce something meaningful.

This is an excerpt from a longer piece I have written about the upcoming Annapolis peace conference. To read the entire thing, please visit my website: www.literarycomments.com

Daniel E. Levenson, Sunday, November 4th

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