TORONTO (JTA) — Canadian lawmaker Irwin Cotler proposed a motion in Parliament calling for government recognition of some 850,000 Jews forcibly displaced from Arab lands since Israel’s creation in 1948.
In his Nov. 8 motion, Cotler, a former Canadian justice minister, noted that by rejecting the U.N.’s Partition Resolution of 1947-1948, Arab states "launched their double aggression of a war against the nascent Jewish state and assaults on their own Jewish nationals, resulting in two refugee populations, Palestinian refugees and Jewish refugees from Arab countries."
The time has come, said Cotler, "to restore the pain and plight of Jewish refugees from Arab countries to the international peace and justice narrative from which it has been eclipsed these past 60 years."
The motion calls on Canada to recognize that since 1948, there have been more than 170 U.N. resolutions on Palestinian refugees, "yet not one resolution that makes any reference to, nor is there any expression of concern for, the plight of the 850,000 Jews displaced from Arab countries."
It also asks that the annual Nov. 29 commemoration by the United Nations of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People "should be transformed into an International Day of Solidarity for a Two-People, Two-State Solution — as the initial 1947 Partition Resolution intended."
Cotler, of the Liberal Party, wants Ottawa to recognize "that any comprehensive Middle East peace agreement must address and resolve all outstanding issues relating to the legitimate rights of all refugees, including Jews, Christians and other populations, displaced from countries in the Middle East."
He expressed hope that the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold hearings on the matter similar to ones in the U.S. Congress, the Italian parliament and the British Parliament, before which Cotler testified as an expert witness.