NEW YORK (Jun. 7)
The World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC) urged President Carter today to assure compensation for Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Norma Balass, executive director of the world-wide organization, who was born in Iraq, said that while the President recently advocated compensation for Arab refugees, he failed to mention the approximately one million Jews who had been displaced by the Arabs.
“President Carter is by no means unique in overlooking the rights of Jews from Arab countries, said Balass. “Yet these rights are an integral part of the Arab-Israel dispute.” She disclosed that the World Executive of WOJAC has dispatched the following cable to Carter: “WOJAC, the world organization representing Jews from Arab countries, has followed with grave concern the recent statements made by the United States government on the subject of the Palestinians. We are shocked by the one-sidedness of these statements and the inequality they reflect in assessing the refugee problem in the Middle East. We feel that the President’s reference to the Palestinian refugees blatantly ignores the inalienable and inextinguishable rights of 1,750,000 Jews and their offspring from Arab countries of origin as refugees due to unbearable humiliation, discrimination and persecutions.”
The cable noted that UN Security Council Resolution 242, endorsed by the U.S., recommend “a just settlement of the refugee problem” placing Jews and Arabs on equal footing. “Justice and equality require that in this connection the question of the Palestinians cannot be raised without at the same time dealing with the rights and claims of Jews from Arab countries. Any other approach contradicts the elementary principles of equality, justice and fairness which are symbolic of the American nation and the biblical spirit upon which it was founded,” the cable said. It added that “WOJAC expects the U.S. government to take public stand on the collective and individual rights of Jews from Arab countries without which no peace negotiations can take place.” The cable was signed by Mordechai Ben Porat, co-chairman, Israel; Leon Tamman, co-chairman, England, and Dr. M. Roumani, secretary general of WOJAC.