Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On The Jewish 'Right of Return'

In an odd and even esoteric comment, a White House official seemed to have spoken in favor of assisting Jews to leave Israel and once again, go into exile (k/t = Jim Wald). Did one Ben Rhodes declare that the Israelis and Palestinians should negotiate on the Jewish right of return to Arab and Muslim countries? Here's the source:

White House: Jewish “refugees” right of return should be “on the table”

which informs us that

Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security advisor for communications and President Barack Obama's chief speechwriter on foreign policy, talked about what's known as the "Jewish right of return" during an off-the-record conference call with Jewish community leaders on May 20...

In response to a question asking why there is a great deal of focus on the Palestinian refugee issue but almost no focus on the Jews who departed Arab lands, Rhodes declared that the Israelis and Palestinians should negotiate on the Jewish right of return to Arab and Muslim countries and that the United States could play in role in mediating that issue.

Here's the full exchange:

(the questioner was B'nai B'rith International Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Fusfield) "[C]an the U.S., as the peace process move forward, play a role in advancing the rights and concerns of these Jewish refugee groups and help ensure that as refugee issues are dealt with... that the focus will not just be on one refugee group but on all refugee groups emerging from the same conflict?"

Rhodes responded: "Certainly the U.S., in our role, is attuned to all the concerns on both sides to include interests among Israel and others in Jewish refugees, so it is something that would come up in the context of negotiations. And certainly, we believe that ultimately the parties themselves should negotiate this. We can introduce ideas, we can introduce parameters for potential negotiation."

"We believe those types of issues that you alluded to could certainly be a part of that discussion and put on the table and it's something that we would obviously be involved in."

Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, responded and said

the Jewish right of return is actually not an issue that's part of the peace negotiations, largely due to the fact that a) there are no Jewish refugees, and b) they don't have any desire to claim lands in Arab states.

I am astounded. For anyone, either a Bnai Brith official or a senior White House advisor, to fail to make clear that the issue of "Jewish refugees" is only a reference to their financial demands for compensation for having been kicked out of many Arab countries and that they are not seeking to "go home" as part of a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Isael conflict is to err to a high degree.

Sending Jews once more into Exile is ridiculous and that is what should be emphasized.

Reviewing the exchange, though, I am more inclined to think that the editor of that post was either sick, tired and just plain anti-Zionist and hyped what wasn't really there but was not strictly not there.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's the Pals. inflating figures and lying:

The right to return is a core goal of the Palestinian liberation struggle. Since 1947-1948, when over 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes – and more than 700,000 were ethnically cleansed from their country altogether - they and their descendants have organized to demand the rectification of this historic injustice. The refugees of the Six-Day War in
1967 (after which Israeli forces drove 300,000 Palestinians out of the occupied Gaza Strip and West
Bank ), the 1967-1994 Israeli administration of the occupied territories (during which Israel
stripped 140,000 Palestinians of
their residency rights), and the ongoing colonization of Palestine and displacement of its indigenous
inhabitants, have added their voices to the growing global movement for return.