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Britain Will Not Grant Political Asylum to Iraqi Jews

The British Government will not accept as permanent residents Iraqi Jews in this country who fear to return home because of anti-Jewish discrimination, the Board of Deputies of British Jews has been told by Home Secretary Sir David Maxwell Fyffe in reply to its request for political asylum for all the Iraqi Jews here.

Sir David informed the Board that he would arrange for further study of individual cases to see whether extensions of stay should be granted. Special reasons for not returning to Iraq and the inability to settle elsewhere would constitute grounds for extension, he said. However, he insisted that Britain could not undertake to accept as permanent residents men and women who would find no difficulty in establishing themselves in Israel if they chose not to return to Iraq.

In an earlier communication to the Board, the Home Secretary granted that there had been some discrimination against Jews in Iraq and that it had forced large numbers of them of flee the country, but stated that political asylum could only be granted if there was “real evidence” of danger to life or liberty if such asylum were withheld. The evidence had not convinced him that such was the case, he added.

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