The Untold Story of the Middle East - World Jewish Congress

The Untold Story of the Middle East

The Untold Story of the Middle East
Calendar 21 September 2012

On 21 September 2012, the WJC, together with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hosted a conference at United Nations headquarters entitled ‘The Untold Story of the Middle East’. Keynote speakers included World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder, Deputy Minister Daniel Ayalon, the Israeli envoy to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, and former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler. Personal testimonies were given by Rabbi Elie Abadie and Edwin Shuker.

In his speech, Ronald Lauder (pictured left with Deputy Minister Ayalon and Israel's UN envoy Ron Prosor) said: "Israel’s detractors have spent decades infusing the courts of international public opinion with a one-sided history of the Middle East refugee problem. This will not bring justice or closure to this painful conflict. It is now time to set the historical, diplomatic, and legal record straight. Lasting peace can only be built on historical facts - both the issues of the Jewish refugees and the Palestinian refugees must be addressed.” The WJC president added: “It is time for the international community to recognize that with the birth of the Jewish state in 1948, Jews in Arab countries were persecuted, assaulted and forcibly exiled from their homes, personal and communal property confiscated and stolen.

"The world has long recognized the Palestinian refugee problem. After 60 years, the United Nations should finally recognize the 850,000 Jewish refugees who suffered during those times. The World Jewish Congress calls upon the secretary general of the United Nations and all world leaders to acknowledge the truth, and place the plight of the Jewish refugees of Arab countries on the agenda together with the rights of all the refugees. Only addressing the historical facts can help bring about peace," Lauder emphasized.

Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said that "between the walls of the UN, we are starting to bring justice to the Jewish refugees who were tortured, persecuted and driven away, and whose rights were revoked.