It's amazing to see the Arab world and Iran working themselves into a lather over a campaign that has not yet got properly underway - the Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC) Jewish refugees campaign for recognition and redress and Danny Ayalon's drive to take the issue to the UN.
Jordan’s “As-Sabil” newspaper dedicated an opinion piece on 3 September to the initiative to recognize Jews who fled Arab countries as refugees. It mentions that the campaign is being led by Yisrael Betenu’s Avigdor Liberman, and more specifically by Danny Ayalon. The first part of the article mainly surveys the initiative and the organisational efforts underway, including press conferences and international panels, scheduled to begin in September. The second part mainly includes information on the extent of the Jews’ lost property, referring to it as a bunch of lies and fabrications overseen by JJAC. The third part is mainly an attempt to refute these claims.
Ahl- Al-Bayit, an Iranian official news agency employs more extreme language to describe Ayalon's I am a Refugee Facebook campaign:
Rights committee warns of equalizing Palestinian refugees with Jewish colonizers(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A Palestinian committee specialized in Palestinian refugees' rights denounced "I am a Jewish refugee" campaign, which aims to give Jewish colonizers the same rights which Palestinian refugees may get in any future resolution.
The Palestinian Refugee Rights Committee confirmed in a press statement on Sunday that "the Jews who willingly left their places of residence in other countries and headed to Palestine within the colonial project designed to control Palestine and expel its people, cannot be considered equal to victims of Zionist heinous crimes."
It noted that the international community, represented in the General Assembly of the United Nations, did not declare cases of Jewish refugees, on the contrary, it issued, in the light of Palestinian Nakba in 1948, Resolution 194, paragraph (11) of which explicitly requires the return of Palestinian refugees to their hometowns from which they have been displaced.
The Committee emphasized on Palestinians determination to extract their rights to dignified return, to establish their Palestinian state and to confront "all Zionist crimes and all racist decisions issued by the Zionist gangs".
Meanwhile Jewish readers at the Jerusalem Post ridicule Hanan Ashrawi's efforts to deny that Jews from Arab countries were refugees:
Refugees or not... Sir, – For once I agree with Hanan Ashrawi (“PLO’s Ashrawi: Jews who came to Israel from Arab countries are not refugees,” September 2), There are no Jewish refugees.
That’s because they settled in Israel, which welcomed them with open arms, whereas the Muslim states closed their doors in the face of fellow Arabs, a fact she well knows.
Ashrawi is both mendacious and disingenuous to assert that the Jewish refugees all came voluntarily.
They were forced out of every Muslim country. I suppose she thinks that leaving with a gun to your head is voluntary.
It is also worth noting that there were as many, if not more, Jews who were displaced than there were Palestinians.
ALAN B. KATZ Meliville, New York Sir, – The Arabs did not live in the Land of Israel for “thousands of years,” as Hanan Ashrawi boasts.
From the Arabian peninsula they conquered and pillaged all the way to Spain in the 7th century.
They built over our Jewish heritage, like the Temple Mount and biblical Shechem, so that they could later claim them as their “ancestral” lands.
Collectively the Arab countries have an area about three times that of Europe, with half the population. Many of these lands are floating on oil. Instead of developing their abundant blessings they present themselves as poor and wronged by “outsiders” and “infidels.” And just look at what they do to each other.
ALFRED INSELBERG Ra’anana
Sir, – Hanan Ashrawi is right: Jews who came to Israel from Arab countries are simply people who, at the time of or after Israel’s War of Independence, decided to board ships and go on a holiday cruise, and then to step off in Israel. It was all a conspiracy!