” the dispossession of 500,000 Jewish refugees from their homes and property. ”
No matter how much you might like to rewrite History Jack, the movement of Jews from Arab states to Israel bear not the slightest resemblance to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. I do not believe there is even one recorded instance of eviction at gunpoint, massacre or rape such as is well documented in Palestine.
In fact it was Yishuv policy to create conditions forcing Jews to migrate to Israel:
“At a meeting in July 1943 of the Central Committee of Mapai, the dominant party in the Yishuv (and forerunner of the Labor Party), one speaker put it this way: “we can define our role with regard to this Jewry in one sentence: Zionist conquest of these diaspora communities in order to liquidate them and transfer them to the Land of Israel…
…Following the freeze of the Jews’ assets in Iraq, the government of Israel turned that private capital into national capital. Invoking that property, the government put forward arguments and ideas for trade-offs and jurudical claims.109 The Jews of Iraq became hostages-and a fig leaf-of the Israeli government in its efforts to divest itself of responsibility for compensating the Palestinian refugees. Indeed, declarations voiced by Israel, combined with the registration of property carried out by various committees and the activity of the emissaries, created the impression that it intended to compensate the Iraqi Jews. The warnings against the consequences likely to ensue from such compensation are contained in internal documents of Israeli government ministries.”
I recommend close reading of Shenhav’s essay:
A simplified version here:
Others were more direct:
“I write this article for the same reason I wrote my book:
to tell the American people, and especially American Jews, that Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate willingly to Israel; that, to force them to leave, Jews killed Jews; and that, to buy time to confiscate ever more Arab lands, Jews on numerous occasions rejected genuine peace initiatives from their Arab neighbors.
I write about what the first prime minister of Israel called “cruel Zionism.”
I write about it because I was part of it.”
– Naeim Giladi, a Jew from Iraq
” The WOJAC figure who came up with the idea of “Jewish refugees” was Yaakov Meron, head of the Justice Ministry’s Arab legal affairs department. Meron propounded the most radical thesis ever devised concerning the history of Jews in Arab lands. He claimed Jews were expelled from Arab countries under policies enacted in concert with Palestinian leaders – and he termed these policies “ethnic cleansing.” Vehemently opposing the dramatic Zionist narrative, Meron claimed that Zionism had relied on romantic, borrowed phrases (“Magic Carpet,” “Operation Ezra and Nehemiah”) in the description of Mizrahi immigration waves to conceal the “fact” that Jewish migration was the result of “Arab expulsion policy.” In a bid to complete the analogy drawn between Palestinians and Mizrahi Jews, WOJAC publicists claimed that the Mizrahi immigrants lived in refugee camps in Israel during the 1950s (i.e., ma’abarot or transit camps), just like the Palestinian refugees.
The organization’s claims infuriated many Mizrahi Israelis who defined themselves as Zionists. As early as 1975, at the time of WOJAC’s formation, Knesset speaker Yisrael Yeshayahu declared: “We are not refugees. [Some of us] came to this country before the state was born. We had messianic aspirations.”
Shlomo Hillel, a government minister and an active Zionist in Iraq, adamantly opposed the analogy: “I don’t regard the departure of Jews from Arab lands as that of refugees. They came here because they wanted to, as Zionists.”
In a Knesset hearing, Ran Cohen stated emphatically: “I have this to say: I am not a refugee.” He added: “I came at the behest of Zionism, due to the pull that this land exerts, and due to the idea of redemption. Nobody is going to define me as a refugee.”
The opposition was so vociferous that Ora Schweitzer, chair of WOJAC’s political department, asked the organization’s secretariat to end its campaign. She reported that members of Strasburg’s Jewish community were so offended that they threatened to boycott organization meetings should the topic of “Sephardi Jews as refugees” ever come up again. Such remonstration precisely predicted the failure of the current organization, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries to inspire enthusiasm for its efforts. ”
I was five years old in 1950 when my family reluctantly moved from Baghdad to Ramat Gan. We were Arab Jews, we spoke Arabic, our roots went back to the Babylonian exile two and a half millennia ago and my parents did not have the slightest sympathy with Zionism. We were not persecuted but opted to leave because we felt insecure. So, unlike the Palestinians who were driven out of their homes, we were not refugees in the proper sense of the word. But we were truly victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
– Avi Shlaim