Canadian Parliamentary Hearings on Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries
May 2nd and 7th, 2013, former Jewish refugees and expert witnesses
appeared before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and
International Development Committee. The Committee sought historical
and legal testimony on the uprooting of centuries-old Jewish communities
in North Africa , the Middle East and the Gulf region.
the issue of 'refugees' is raised within the context of the Middle
East, people invariably refer only to 'Palestinian refugees'.
Neither the mass violations of human rights, nor the displacement
of Jews from Arab countries, have ever been adequately addressed
by the international community. The Canadian Institute for Jewish
Advocacy (CIJA) had been working with Canadian Government
officials in convening the Hearings and Justice for Jews from
Arab Countries (JJAC) was asked to provide expert
before the Committee were four officers of Justice for Jews
from Arab Countries, including Sylvain Abitbol, Co-President;
David Matas, Honorary Legal Counsel; Regina Waldman, Vice President;
and Stanley A. Urman, Executive Vice President.
vice-president of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries,
was called as a witness
his testimony before the Committee, Sylvain Abitbol, JJAC
Co-President declared: "We must underscore, at every opportunity,
that for over 2,500 years, Jews in substantial numbers resided
in the Middle East and North Africa. We, Sephardi-Mizrahi Jews,
are the indigenous people of the Middle East and we must not allow
the rich vibrant heritage and patrimony of Jews in the region
to be expunged from the history books".
the Hearings, the Committee has been deliberating on the specific
language of the recommendations and Report that it will be submitting
imminently to the Parliament of Canada.