What Is a "Refugee"? The Jews from Morocco versus the Palestinians from Israel

(Gatestone Institute) Alan M. Dershowitz - Jews lived in Morocco for centuries before Islam came to Casablanca, Fez and Marrakesh. The Jews, along with the Berbers, were the backbone of the economy and culture. Now their historic presence can be seen primarily in the hundreds of Jewish cemeteries and abandoned synagogues throughout North Africa. Maimonides, the great Jewish philosopher and medical doctor, taught at a university in Fez. Other Jewish intellectuals helped shape the culture from Morocco to Algeria to Tunisia to Egypt. Now they are a remnant in Morocco and gone from the other counties. Many were forced to flee by threats, pogroms and legal decrees, leaving behind billions of dollars in property and the graves of their ancestors. The Arab exodus from Israel in 1948 was the direct result of a genocidal war declared against the newly established Jewish state by all of its Arab neighbors, including the Arabs of Israel. If they had accepted the UN peace plan - two states for two peoples - there would be no Palestinian refugees. Nearly all of the Jews displaced from their Arab homelands could trace their heritage back thousands of years, well before the Muslims and Arabs became the dominant population. It has now been 70 years since this exchange of Jewish and Arab populations occurred. It is time to end the charade of calling the displaced Palestinians "refugees." Almost none of the five million Arabs who claim the mantle of "Palestinian refugee" was ever actually in Israel. The time is long overdue for the world to stop treating these Palestinians as refugees. The writer is professor of law emeritus at Harvard Law School.

2018-03-13 00:00:00

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