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Will CMHR ignore how Jews were ethnically cleansed by Arab nations in retaliation for Israel being declared a state?

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“In just 50 years, almost a million Jews, whose communities stretch back up to 3,000 years, have been 'ethnically cleansed' from 10 Arab countries. These refugees outnumber the Palestinian refugees two to one, but their narrative has all but been ignored.” (Quote and photo: jewishrefugees.blogspot.com)

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In recent days, there has been a push by certain members of the anti-Israel community in Canada to have the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, a federally funded museum in Winnipeg, host a special exhibit on the Palestinian Nakba. 

The stated mandate of the CMHR is “to explore the subject of human rights, with special but not exclusive reference to Canada, in order to enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others and to encourage reflection and dialogue.”

Even though the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was originally created as a Holocaust Memorial and then became a museum that was supposed to focus on human rights in Canada, the CJPME noted, “Palestinian Canadians are disappointed that the CMHR does not substantively include information about Palestinians, and that it has refused to recognize the Nakba. For this reason, some Palestinian Canadians protested the CMHR’s opening in 2014.”

However, if the Canadian Museum for Human Rights proceeds to do this, then it is only fair and balanced that they also display an exhibit on the close to one million Mizrahi Jews who were also displaced from their homes around the same time, as these forgotten Jewish refugees were also victims of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 

These Jews were either expelled or compelled to leave their homes en masse merely because they were Jewish. They lived in the Arab world for thousands of years yet were ethnically cleansed in retaliation for Israel being declared a state.  

Prominent Middle East scholar Yaakov Meron wrote in The Forgotten Millions: The Modern Jewish Exodus from Arab Lands, “There was a deliberate policy on the part of the Arab League countries to drive out the Jews.” 

Heykel Pasha, an Egyptian delegate, declared on November 24, 1947, “If the UN decides to partition Palestine, it might be responsible for the massacre of a large number of Jews. If a Jewish state were established, no one can prevent the disorders. Riots would break out in Palestine, would spread throughout all of the Arab states and it might lead to a war between two races.”  

Immediately after the Partition Plan was adopted by the UN, anti-Jewish massacres soon became the norm across the Arab world, thus leading to their mass exodus from the region. 

Flora Cohen, a Moroccan Jewish refugee, stressed: “A terrorist came to the city of Wadzem (Oued Zem). They went into a number of Jewish homes and did a pogrom. They really tortured them. In Tadla, there was a murderer with an ax who went after Jewish people. It was written all over the news.” 

Flora recalled that she almost lost her brother as well during this period and that the “Jews were afraid to go out.”      

Alevin Peretz, who was born in Algeria, added: “Algeria belonged to France. One day in 1960, it was decided that Algeria would be a Muslim country. When the Muslims got citizenship, the Jews disappeared. There was a lot of antisemitism in Algeria after the French left.” 

Peretz would suffer greatly because of this: “They murdered my father on the way to synagogue. I was six and a half. It was a trauma. There was a great fear. Before that, they killed my uncle.” 

Mazal Elijah, a Jewish refugee from Iraq, proclaimed that around the time Israel became an independent state, the situation dramatically deteriorated in Baghdad as well:

“Jews went to synagogue and got beaten up. The Arabs went from home to home, trying to flood the homes. It was forbidden for girls to go out, lest they get raped. Children would get kidnapped. The Arabs behaved like terrorists.” 

“And after we moved to Israel, the Arabs stole everything from us, leaving us with nothing but the clothes on our backs,” Elijah recounted. “I grew up in a tent as a refugee, for everything was stolen from us.  In the ma’aborot, we played with rags as a substitute for dolls.” 

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Former MK Dr. Shimon Ohayan, who presently serves as the head of the Moroccan Immigrants Organization in Israel, provided an overview.

“Close to one million Jews left the Arab countries due to the political situation.  Close to one million disappeared in 25 years only because of the political situation surrounding the establishment of the State of Israel,” he said. “The Jews in Arab countries paid a price. We left behind $400 billion in the Arab countries. In Iraq, people could only leave with only 50 dinars. Most left in one year and lost their property. In Algeria, one of the synagogues was taken over by the government and converted into a mosque. That was in 1975.”

Ohayan declared, “It was the political situation and the Arab propaganda that caused these problems.”

In contrast, most of the 700,000 Palestinians who fled Israel did so in the context of a war of aggression started by the Arab countries, who rejected the UN Partition Plan and started a war to obliterate Israel. 

However, when the Arabs lost this war, they refused to absorb the 700,000 Palestinians who lost their homes in that war – thus choosing to exasperate their Nakba – and then proceeded to displace close to a million Jews, who unlike the Arabs of Palestine posed zero strategic threat to the Arab countries. 

Considering this, it would be a miscarriage of justice to display an exhibit on the Nakba without also mentioning the Jewish Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish communities indigenous to the Middle East. 

If the Canadian Museum for Human Rights truly cares about human rights for all people, then they should rectify this situation by including an exhibit on the Mizrahi Jewish communities that were just as much victims of this conflict as the Palestinians were. 

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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