The Centre Applauds Parliamentary Study on Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries

OTTAWA, ON, May 2, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development commenced a study on the experience of Jewish refugees from Arab countries who were displaced as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict. More than 850,000 Jewish refugees fled persecution and violence in Arab countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, resulting in the extinction of vibrant communities that had thrived for thousands of years. Currently, Canada's official Middle East policy neglects this fact, only accounting for Palestinian refugees.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs has been at the forefront of advocacy efforts to change Canadian foreign policy so that it correctly reflects the historic plight of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, will be appearing as a witness to provide expert testimony alongside refugees and representatives from Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, a prominent international organization advocating for refugee rights.

In response to the commencement of the study, David Koschitzky, Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, issued the following statement:

"We applaud the Foreign Affairs committee for examining the situation of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. We encourage Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum to carefully consider the testimonies of experts and refugees, and to join together in recognizing the persecution and displacement of nearly one million Jews throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

"Two refugee populations were created as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict - one Palestinian and the other Jewish. Unfortunately, the plight of Jewish refugees has been completely omitted from Canada's Middle East policy while that of the Palestinians features prominently. It is essential that policymakers correct this inherent imbalance in Canadian policy. Equitable consideration of Jewish refugees from Arab countries is a necessary component for any just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement."

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is a non-partisan organization that serves as the advocacy arm of the Jewish Federations of Canada.

SOURCE: Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

For further information:

or to arrange an interview with Shimon Koffler Fogel, please contact:

Jordan Kerbel
Deputy Director, Communications and Advocacy Training
jkerbel@cija.ca
(416) 317-9517

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