House recognizes Jews from Arab lands

The U.S. House of Representatives recognized the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab lands in any final peace deal.

The nonbinding resolution, backed by a bipartisan slate of lawmakers, passed in a voice vote Tuesday. It urges any U.S. government to ensure that the rights of such refugees – believed to number approximately 850,000 – are part of a final peace deal between Israel and the Arabs.

Pro-Palestinian groups criticized the legislation as undermining the claims of Palestinian refugees, but U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, (D-N.Y.), the legislation’s lead sponsor, rejected such claims.

“This should not be an impediment to the peace process in any way,” Nadler said in a conference call Wednesday. “It is important to raise the question of Jewish refugees and the property left behind in Arab countries. It does not in any way say that the rights of Palestinian refugees should not be handled.”

Stanley Urman, the executive director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, the Jewish group that led the lobbying effort for the resolution, said it “restored truth to the Middle East narrative.”

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