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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.

  Founding Chairman
  S. Daniel Abraham
   United States

  Honorary Chairs
  Shlomo Hillel

Richard Holbrooke
   United States

Leon Levy A"H
   United States

Lord George Weidenfeld
   Great Britain

James S. Tisch
   United States

Mortimer B. Zuckerman
   United States

Executive Director
  Stanley A. Urman

Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC) is a coalition of Jewish communal organizations operating under the auspices of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the American Sephardi Federation, and the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC), in partnership with the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League, Bnai Brith International, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the World Sephardic Congress.
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In a rare display of bi-partisanship, four Senators and four Congressmen, representing both political parties, have introduced landmark Resolutions on Middle East refugees...

At its meeting of February 25, 2007, the Israeli Cabinet again dealt with the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries...

The legacy of Mizrahi Jews - the history, plight and flight of Jews from Arab countries - has never been adequately documented. Now, it will be done...



On February 12, 2007, landmark Resolutions on Middle East refugees were introduced in both the US Senate (S.Res 85) and in the House of Representatives (H.Res 185).

These far-reaching Resolutions urge the President to affirm that in all international forums, when the issue of 'Middle East refugees is discussed, representatives of the United States should ensure that: "...any explicit reference to Palestinian refugees is matched by a similar explicit reference to Jewish and other refugees, as a matter of law and equity."

This bi-partisan effort is being spearheaded in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) along with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); Rep. Michael Ferguson (R-NJ); and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY). In the Senate, sponsors are Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ); Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS); Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN); and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL).

Once adopted, these Resolutions will be the strongest declarations ever adopted by the U.S. Congress, on the rights of Jewish and others refugees from Arab countries.

  • Communicate with President George Bush directly, urging his support for the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. The White House has a comment line where you will be connected to a live person (10am-4pm EST) at 1-202-456-1111. Letters can also be faxed to the office of the Public Liaison in the White House (fax - 202-456-6218).
  • Contact your Members of Congress (meet, call or write) urging them to support the bi-partisan resolutions on 'Middle East Refugees' now before the Congress that call for equal rights for Jewish refugees from Arab countries. (House Resolution #185 & Senate Resolution #85) Representatives and Senators names and numbers can be found at:

In March an Action Alert was issued to draw attention to the political effort on behalf of Jews from Arab countries. The Action Alert was emailed to over 10,000 people and covered the following topics: Background on the Issue; Copies of the House & Senate Resolutions on Refugees; What to Emphasize to Your Congressmen; Follow up Action Required!. You can read the Action Alert at: click to open the action alert

At its meeting of February 25, 2007, the Israeli Cabinet again dealt with the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. A Communiqué, issued by the Prime Minister's office, recorded the following in agenda item #9.

"The Cabinet discussed the issue of the restoration of Jewish property rights and noted Prime Minister Olmert's decision that Minister Rafi Eitan will be responsible for the issue and for the issue of the rights of those Jews who left Arab countries as refugees. The Cabinet also established a ministerial committee on the issues, to be chaired by Minister Eitan, and a steering committee."

The Israeli Government's position on the rights of Jews from Arab countries was first enunciated in a Cabinet resolution on September 28, 1969. Subsequently, on two other occasions - March 3, 2002 and December 28, 2003 - the Israeli Cabinet reiterated its commitment to advocate for the rights of Jews from Arab countries and instructed the Ministry of Justice to undertake renewed efforts to collect "data, material, requests and documents"..."of private and communal/public property claims as well as the different violations of the rights of Jews from Arab countries".

The newly appointed Justice Minister, Prof. Daniel Friedmann, assumed office on February 2, 2007. Prof. Friedmann was formerly the Dean of the Tel-Aviv University Law Faculty; and has been a visiting professor at, among others, Harvard University and the University of London.

During his first day in office, Justice Minister Friedmann agreed to meet with Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and Stanley Urman, Director of Justice for Jews in Arab Countries to review the Justice Ministry's mandate to pursue rights for Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Discussion ensued on avenues for legal redress for Jews displaced from Arab countries and on efforts in Israel and in Diaspora Jewish communities to register individual and communal losses.


The legacy of Mizrahi Jews - history, plight and flight of Jews from Arab countries - has never been adequately documented. It's now time to do so.

The historical lessons of World War II can never be understood without the archival collections stored at institutions like Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D. C., and the 50,000 testimonies collected by the Shoah Foundation.

Historians, educators and policy makers who seek to study the displacement of Jews from the Arab world must have access to primary source data and to the voices and testimonies of these refugees, documenting their stories of tragedy and triumph.

This project will: record the history and legacy of Sephardi-Mizrahi Jews, their subsequent displacement from Arab and Islamic countries; provide educational products; and support those advocating for human rights and social justice.

Two important questions must be answered:

  • "Why do we need to document the testimonies of Jews displaced from Arab countries?
  • "Why now?

The answers to these questions are compelling:

1) Over 70% of those who left Arab countries are no longer alive. Those that are still living are well on in years. With memories fading and people passing on each day, this will be our last chance to obtain this irretrievable history and legacy of Sephardi-Mizrahi Jewish life.

2) If we do not tell our story, who will? Our children and our grandchildren need to know what Sephardi-Mizrachi Jews lived through to secure their continuing legacy among the Jewish people.

3) Only primary source, evidence-based data can counter the revisionists, in the Arab world and elsewhere, who claim that there were never any large Jewish communities in the region; that there was no discrimination against Jews; and the Jews left Arab countries of their own free will.

4) The collected testimonies will reinforce a fundamental truth of law and equity: no peace in the region can be reached without recognition of, and redress for, the uprooting of centuries-old Jewish communities and their displacement from North Africa, the Gulf and the Middle East.

Anyone who is interested in being interviewed, or who would like to support this effort by becoming a volunteer interviewer; videographer, etc., please email us at info @


During the month of March, 300 people participated in a major event in Rio de Janeiro where the film The Forgotten Refugees was screened along with an exhibit on Jews living in Arab countries. In São Paulo, WIZO, the Women's International Zionist Organization held an event with some 50 people in attendance, and the Hebraica, a senior citizens group had 70 members attend their program. Registration cards were distributed at all events.

Future activities in Brazil call for showing The Forgotten Refugees at a registration event in São Paulo, as well as a potential direct mailing of registration cards to homes of members of the local Jewish community.

Nessim Hamoui, the JJAC coordinator in Brazil, published a book about his family's displacement from Egypt and resettlement in Brazil. Entitled Charles e Louly from Cairo to São Paulo, the book was released on March 11th, the day Mr. Hamoui's father would have turned 100 years old. Mr. Hamoui is the publisher and editor of Yad Vashem’s magazine in Portuguese.

A number of programs were recently held in Montreal including:

  • In March, Stanley Urman, executive director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, addressed over 200 people attended in program in Concordia University, organized by, among others, Centre Hillel. The film The Forgotten Refugees was screened and one of the speakers was Ariella Cotler, Canadian representative on the Steering Committee of the International Rights and Redress Campaign.
  • During Passover, Stanley Urman addressed over 200 people attending services at Congregation Dorshei Emmet in Montreal. On another evening, he participated in a panel discussion on "Middle East Refugees", organized by the Montreal Dialogue Group, which included an audience of both Jewish and Muslim participants.
  • The film The Forgotten Refugees was recently screened at a program organized at the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, the largest Sephardic Synagogue in Montreal.

Under the auspices of CRIF, a national campaign was launched in March to register Jews in France who originated from Arab countries. The campaign has been planned and launched by a Committee of CRIF, chaired by Jean Pierre Allali, who is one of France's representatives on the Steering Committee of the International Rights and Redress Campaign.

Since its inception, over 35 programs have taken place in some 12 cities across France. There have been numerous articles published and radio interviews in both the Jewish and non-Jewish press.

Recently, large audiences came out for programs in Marseille, Nice, Toulouse and Paris. The keynote speaker at these programs was Jean Claude Niddam, Head of the Legal Assistance Department for Israel's Ministry of Justice, whose appropriate theme, in advance of the oncoming holiday of Passover was ve-hee-ga-deta le- vinha- you should tell your children". The film "The Silent Exodus" produced by Pierre Rechov was screened and a registration effort took place.

Coincident with these programs, in each of those cities, working group meetings took place with local Jewish communal leadership to discuss ways to continue and expand the public education and registration campaign in France. Major programs are now being planned to focus on the Jews of Egypt; Morocco; Tunisia; Iraq; Algeria; Syria; Lebanon; Libya; and Yemen.

HARIF, the Association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa reported that several events took place recently in London on behalf of Jews from Arab countries. In March, there was a launch of a new book by Marina Benjamin, Last Days in Babylon: the History of a Family, the Story of a Nation. The book discusses a daring trip to Iraq in 2004, by Mrs. Benjamin, in search of her roots, and to track down the last remaining members of a once-vital 2,600 year-old Jewish community.

HARIF also held an open forum chaired by Linda Dangoor-Khalastchi, which included discussion between Naim Kattan, author of Farewell Babylon, and Marina Benjamin author of Last Days in Babylon.


Many events have been held throughout the United States as part of the International Rights and Redress Campaign that was launched in March 2007.

Over 20,000 e-mails have been sent out to Jewish leadership and membership organizations across the U.S. Additionally, over 3,000 CDroms containing extensive program materials on the rights of Jews from Arab countries have been distributed across the US. These CDs contain a Synagogue Guide, a Program and Registration Event Package, a Media Guide and a guide for making representations to government officials.

Synagogue guides and other materials went out to every rabbi and congregation of the various streams of the Jewish community, including:

  • All presidents and executive directors of the 52 member organizations of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations;
  • To the Orthodox community via the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU), and the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA);
  • To the Conservative movement via the Rabbinical Assembly (RA); the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; the Women's League for Conservative Judaism (WLCJ); and MERCAZ: the Zionist movement of Conservative Judaism;
  • To the Reform movement via the Union for Reform Judaism;
  • To the Reconstructionist movement via the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation.

If you or your organization wishes to receive a copy of these resource guides, please contact us at JJAC.


On Sunday, February 25, 2007, Stanley Urman participated in the Plenum of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the annual gathering of CRC professional and lay leadership from across the United States. The program was entitled "Bold New Initiative in Pro-Israel Advocacy: Effectively Refuting the Myths about Middle East Refugees." Also on the program were Yitzhak Santis, Middle East affairs director for the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco; Emily Blanck, Director of JIMENA, based in San Francisco, and Sabine Dazin, JIMENA's Mid-West Coordinator.


In March, in partnership with JIMENA and The David Project, JJAC conducted a special training session for Jews from Arab countries who would like to participate in a Speaker's Bureau. Born in Egypt and Iraq, each person had a compelling story to tell. There are 10 people who are now prepared and available to speak to schools, synagogues and organizations.

If you would like a speaker for your congregation, meeting or event, please contact Shelomo Alfassa, Director of the US Campaign, at 917-606-8262 (East Coast) or Emily Blanck 415-957-1566 (West Coast).


Joe Wahid, one of the founders of JIMENA, will undertake a Mid-West speaking tour, addressing synagogue congregations, Jewish organizations, and Jewish Community Relation Councils on Jews from Arab countries. In the first two weeks of May, Mr. Wahid will be visiting Detroit, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Chicago, Illinois; and Grand Rapids Michigan.


Magen David Yeshiva High School (MDY), the largest Sephardic school in the United States, has taken the lead among the New York City schools by hosting a major school event, on February 21, 2007. Rabbi Alouf, the Dean of the school and also the Egyptian Jewish community leader of New York, spoke at the program which included a screening of the film The Forgotten Refugees. Students were moved by Rabbi Alouf's story about how his father was imprisoned and tortured by the Iraqis in the infamous Abu Gharib prison, only because he was Jewish; and how his uncle's home, a multi-million dollar mansion was taken from him by the Arabs. His closing words to the students were: "remember your heritage."

Principal Richard Altabe with students and staff of Magen David Yeshiva

In April, the school conducted a direct mailing to the homes of its student body, sending hundreds of registration cards for parents and grandparents of the students to register with the International Rights and Redress Campaign.

The MDY students that are participating in the campaign are from the campus group AUDGE, which stands for, Awareness Unites Different Groups Everywhere. The yeshiva was the first Brooklyn location to place a 'drop off' box in the school to collect completed registration forms. Additional boxes were also placed in synagogues and other locations.


JIMENA has been providing speakers for programs in Los Angeles, San Diego and around the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento.

In Seattle, JIMENA will have representatives at the Jewish Film Festival in March to distribute registration cards at the screening of The Forgotten Refugees. A number of coffee meetings have also been arranged.

Regina Waldman, founder of JIMENA, recently met with Joseph Mimun who is the president of the Organization of Libyan Jews in Israel. They discussed the idea of developing a Museum of Jewish heritage in Libya. She reported there would be a conference of Libyan Jews in June of 2007, to be held in Israel.


In March, the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest invited representatives of all synagogues, schools, organizations, in the New Jersey-MetroWest area to discuss their participation in the International Rights and Redress Campaign.

Rabbis and lay leaders were shown a screening of The David Project's film, The Forgotten Refugees and Stanley Urman briefed attendees on how each group can run a program; contact their local media; politicians in Washington; etc. Many of those in attendance agreed to host an event for their constituencies and copies of the film The Forgotten Refugees were made available for later screenings.

A front page article and photo of this meeting ran in the local NJ Jewish newspaper under the headline: "Coalition Aims to Register Jews from Arab Lands."


Stanley Urman of JJAC was the keynote speaker at a program organized at Congregation Bene Naharayim, the Iraqi synagogue in Queens, New York. The synagogue recently screened The David Project's The Forgotten Refugees film, and was interested in learning more about Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Mr. Urman discussed the current status of the International Rights and Redress Campaign and some 30 registration forms were collected from attendees.

Welcome! - Bnai Zion is welcomed as the 66th participating Jewish organization in the International Rights and Redress Campaign. Bnai Zion is a charitable, non-partisan organization dedicated to the support of humanitarian projects both in Israel and in the United States. Bnai Zion has a membership of approximately 30,000 and have raised substantial funds for projects and causes focused on improving the human condition of Israeli citizens.

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