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REPARATIONS JEWISH REFUGEES ISRAEL 1948

 

(BRUSSELS) July 3, 2008 - "We lost everything we had, we could not even take our family photos," declared Edwin Shuker, a displaced Jewish refugee from Iraq at a hearing in the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on July 1, 2008.

This first-ever hearing in the European Parliament was organized by Paulo Casaca, MEP (Member of the European Parliament), with the European Friends of Israel and B'nai B'rith in association with Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), the international coalition of organizations that are seeking justice for the up to one million Jews displaced from Arab countries since 1948. Among the other speakers were Moise Rahmani from Belgium (born in Cairo) and Prof. Carole Basri of the USA (family from Baghdad).

Casaca defended the cause of all ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East. He indicated that he deplored the fact that the rights of Jewish and Christian refugees today are virtually unrecognized by Europeans. Prof. Basri, an attorney who teaches law at the University of Pennsylvania, said that the criteria for ethnic cleansing is one that can honestly be used to describe the political measures that were put in place, to displace the Jewish population in Arab countries that never represented a military threat. Prof. Basri outlined the legal and historical arguments supporting the case to recognize the Jews of Arab countries as bona fide refugees under international law and called for Truth and Reconciliation hearings on the subject .

Moise Rahmani introduced the background to the displacement of Jews from their ancestral birthplace as detailed in his book L'exode Oublie.

Shuker, a UK resident and President of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, gave a detailed account of the "black period" that his family suffered through in Iraq under the nationalist Baathist regime. He said, "Two refugee populations emerged from the Arab-Israeli conflict, both suffered, both were victims and justice requires equal consideration and redress." "In passing Resolution 185 the US congress recognized this and we appeal to the European Parliament to deliver a similar message," he added.

The European Parliament is the only directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU). Together with the Council of the European Union, it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world.

Justice for Jews from Arab Countries is an international coalition of major Jewish communal organizations operating to ensure that justice for Jews from Arab countries assumes its rightful place on the international political agenda and that their rights be secured as a matter of law and equity.

Hearing room in the European Parliament
Mr. Shuker with original family documents

 

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