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Jews in Palestine Must Be Returned to Their Countries of Origin

Jordanian Writers: The Jews in Palestine Must Be Returned to Their Countries of Origin

In a recent interview published in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Ghad, prominent Jordanian economist and businessman Talal Abu Ghazaleh, who is of Palestinian origin, outlined a plan for resolving the Palestinian problem. The basics of the plan were to continue the resistance until the occupation ends, and to return the Jewish Israelis to their countries of origin "based on legitimate [principles] of human rights and on all the international conventions and treaties on refugee rights."

A somewhat similar idea was promoted by Jordanian journalist Hazem Mubaidhin, a columnist for the Jordanian daily Al-Rai. He focused on the issue of Jews who immigrated to Israel from Muslim countries. In two articles that were published in the Iraqi media – one in the daily Al-Mada and the other on the website Sumariyoun – he called to encourage these Jews to return to their countries of origin, and to grant them equal rights. He argued that this would benefit not only the Palestinian cause but also the Arab and Muslim states themselves, because it would promote democratic and pluralistic awareness in these states and generate favorable public opinion around the world.

Below are excerpts from Abu Ghazaleh's interview and from Mubaidhin's two articles

Talal Abu Ghazaleh's Interview: About Talal Abu GhazalehIsrael

Born in Jaffa in 1938, Talal Abu Ghazaleh grew up in Lebanon and attended the American University in Beirut. He specializes in the fields of accounting and intellectual property rights, and is the founder of several organizations and firms, the chief of them being the Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization – a large group of Arab professional service firms in diverse fields including accounting, audits, corporate governance, and taxation. In 2010, he was appointed to serve in the Jordanian Senate, but was forced to resign in 2011 following the passage of a constitutional amendment prohibiting public officials from holding dual citizenship (Al-Ghazaleh has Bahraini citizenship as well as Jordanian).

Abu Ghazaleh currently serves as deputy chair of the UN Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development, and he formerly served as the chair of this organization and as deputy chair of the UN Global Compact. He also holds senior positions in a number of other organizations in the Middle East and around the world, including chair of the Evian Group in Geneva, and president of the Arab Intellectual Property Meditation Society in Amman and of the Arab Knowledge and Management Society in New York.

He is the recipient of various honors and awards, including the IP (Intellectual Property) Hall of Fame award in 2007, an honorary doctorate from Canisius College in New York in 1988, and France's Legion of Honor in 1985. [1]

In the past, Abu Ghazaleh has claimed that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by the Taliban as a result of a scheme by "Global Zionism," which controls the U.S. and the world. In a July 14, 2010 interview with Decision Makers TV he said: "[9/11] was not an Islamic operation, or Islamic terrorism. It was carried out by the Taliban. In this day and age, Zionist power controls the decision-making centers. I always say that just like us Arabs, the U.S. is a victim of Zionist influence, which often – if not always – steers U.S. decisions against American interests, and in keeping with Zionist interests at all times...Hence, global Zionism created the notion of an enemy called 'the terrorist Islam'... Zionism, which has been plotting all this time, came across an historic opportunity, and convinced the U.S. administration that this was an opportunity for it as well... The research centers – albeit quietly and in secret – realize that the U.S. sank into this quagmire, as a result of the Jewish hatred for Americans. Whoever thinks otherwise – believing that the Zionist enemy loves America, and acts in its best interests – is wrong."[2]

The following are excerpts from his recent interview, published February 25, 2012 on the London-based Arabic daily Al-Ghad.

Resistance – The Key to Ending the Occupation

"The peace process, from its beginnings in the 1991Madrid Conference, has failed. Negotiations, whether direct or indirect, will not serve to achieve the Palestinians' legitimate rights. The occupation will not end through negotiations – only through resistance. The victory of the resistance in the Palestinian territories and the great victory of the resistance in Lebanon [prove this]...

"The two-state solution is unfeasible... The solutions currently being proposed [merely] enable the enemy to continue carrying out what it thinks will achieve its objectives; but [these] objectives are at odds with history and geography, and are unachievable...

"What is needed is Arab support for the idea of resistance to end the occupation. I will not oppose negotiations with the occupying entity [i.e., Israel], so long as they pertain to a single clause regarding the end of the occupation rather than what is discussed today, namely the issues of the permanent arrangement, which are likely to result in an illegal situation. The Palestinian negotiators do not know what to negotiate over. The enemy's agenda is entirely different from the Palestinian one. The occupation creates facts on the ground [while] the Palestinians hold talks...

"The initiative [I am proposing] is to be implemented in stages: the resistance will continue, and [then] the Jewish refugees in Palestine, who have become [our] enemies and isolated themselves, will come to the realization that the land is not theirs..."

The Palestinians Have the Right to Return to Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River

"I am not a politician or a historian, nor do I claim to be an expert on [various] issues pertaining to ending the occupation in Palestine. I speak as an Arab resident who was born in Jaffa, Palestine, and who has experienced the bitter life of the refugee at first hand. I believe that the most salient and important right among human rights is the right to return to [one's] homeland.

"Based on my belief that I and all other Palestinians have the right to return to [our] homeland, Palestine – which is to say all of Palestine, from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River – and based on the moral viewpoint, which is distant from the moral approach taken by the powers that control the world, [I feel that] the same yardstick should be applied to the Jewish refugees currently in Palestine, that is to say, to all the Jews living on the soil of Palestine, who immigrated there under duress and out of need. [They immigrated there] as a result of the torment, oppression, and racial discrimination inflicted upon them in the West – [i.e.,] in all the countries of Europe and also in America  – as well as in the Arab countries. It is a mistake to think that the torment [of the Jews] was confined to Germany. The torment began in other countries... even before (Nazi leader Adolf) Hitler...

"The Palestinian refugees in the Arab countries are unwanted guests. The host countries say day and night that they are committed to returning the refugees to their homes, and that they are unwilling to absorb them. I support this, because every Palestinian has the legal, fundamental, and moral right to return, and we must aid him in this rather than hinder him from realizing his right..."

The International Community Must Establish a Fund to Send the Jews back to Their Countries of Origin

"The problem is twofold. [There are] Jews who immigrated to Palestine and Palestinians who emigrated from it. The solution lies in returning every immigrant to his homeland. Examining the members of the occupation's rightwing government, we find that they were born outside of Palestine. The most prominent of these, (Foreign Minister Avigdor) Lieberman, was a bouncer at a nightclub in Russia before he was forced to immigrate to Palestine, after [the Israelis] enticed and pressured him...

The international community must establish a fund... that will pay for the Jewish refugees to return to their places and countries of origin...

"Without a resolution, the Palestinian problem constitutes a time bomb that can explode at any moment. It is a source of trouble and instability throughout the world. If a solution is not found to the Middle East problem, it will also threaten the American and foreign [military] bases and forces located in the region, as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed out..."

"The Jews Became Known for Manufacturing Lies and Carrying Out Crimes and Terror"

Abu Ghazaleh cites numerous examples of persecution of Jews, including their expulsion from various countries between the 14th and 18th centuries, and examples of leaders and public figures who spoke out against them: "Henry Ford saw the Jews as an international problem, and wasted much money on media and other means to wage a campaign against them. He also presented his ideas in a book called The International Jew: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, The World's Foremost Problem [sic]. American president Franklin Roosevelt saw the Jews as an American problem, and claimed that the day would come when the Americans would regret that there were Jews in their midst...

He concludes: "The Jews became known for manufacturing lies and carrying out crimes and terror. [They] created a negative model for establishing a state when the occupation authorities began bringing the 'Haganah' gang into Palestine, and later enlisted all the armed Jewish movements, after calling on all the Jewish residents of all the countries in the world to immigrate to Palestine and establish a state [there]..."[3]

Hazem Mubaidhin's Articles

In arguing that Jews should be encouraged to return to the Muslim countries, and should enjoy equal rights there, Hazem Mubaidhin focused on the stories of two individuals: Gilles Jacob Lellouche, a Jewish citizen of Tunisia who recently ran for the country's new parliament (but did not get in), and David Jerbi, a Jew from Libya who currently resides in Italy. Jerbi fled from Libya with his family in 1967, one of tens of thousands of Jews who were expelled from this country in the late 1960s. After the fall of Qadhafi he returned to Libya with the blessing of its new authorities, with the aim of restoring the Jewish community there and renovating the abandoned synagogue in Tripoli. His activity was met with objection and even death threats from various elements in the country.[4] The following are excerpts from Mubaidhin's two articles:

About David Jerbi, Mubaidhin wrote: "It is hard to understand why a citizen in any country in the world would object to the return of a fellow citizen who was forced to leave the country due to circumstances beyond his control. It is reprehensible that some Libyans objected to the return of Jewish [Libyan] citizen David Jerbi to his homeland after the fall of Qadhafi, even if the purpose of his return was to reopen Tripoli's only synagogue, which was shut down over 40 years ago. It is [also] reprehensible that some people think that his return is a provocation to Libya's new leaders. [These leaders] must prove their commitment to the values of democracy and pluralism, [for Jerbi's case] this is a test case, [which will indicate] whether they [plan] to pursue a policy of discrimination, or [let] the new Libya become a real democracy.

"When he began to fix up the abandoned synagogue, David Jerbi received death threats. Though the president of [Libya's National] Transitional Council shook his hand, [recognizing his status] as a Libyan citizen, the Libyan authorities [still] ignore his efforts to reopen the synagogue and restore the Jewish community to prominence [in the country]. Yet 56-year-old [Jerbi] persists [in pursuing] his plan, saying: 'They can threaten me and [even] kill me, but I will not give up. I will clean the place of garbage, and pay some of the neighbors to help me clear the walls of graffiti...' And he indeed received [the neighbors'] help."[5]

About Gilles Jacob Lellouche, Mubaidhin wrote: "After the Libyan Jew David Jerbi, who returned to his homeland following the fall of Qadhafi, came the turn of Gilles Jacob [Lellouche], a Tunisian Jew, who, for the first time in the history of modern Tunisia, ran for the Constitutional Council on behalf of a small new party... This, even though he knew that no Jew had ever been elected to a political post [in Tunisia], and that every [Jew] who had ever held such a post had been appointed to it... This man, who is in his 60s and has a PhD, dreams of a pluralistic and multicultural Tunisia, in which Muslims, Jews and Berbers take part in the development of the country and none of them are marginalized. He does not want to play a symbolic role, but is trying to take [a real] part in realizing the platform of his party..."

Referring to the notion of repatriating Jews who immigrated to Israel from Muslim countries, Mubaidhin stated: "This idea will by necessity serve the Palestinian cause, so long as it is successfully and sincerely implemented. The Jews from the Arab states have the same right to return [to their countries of origin] as we demand for the Palestinians."[6] He also denounced the hypocrisy of some Libyans who say that Israeli Jews should return to their countries of origin, yet object to the return of Libyan Jews to their erstwhile homeland:  "How can we explain the [position] of Arab nationalists and Islamists who [want] Libyan Jews to continue living in Palestine, and forbid them to return to their country of origin, yet at the same time tell the Jews who came to Palestine from other countries to leave it [and go back to their countries of origin]... We should encourage the [Libyan] Jews to return, and grant them privileges that will lead them to turn their backs on the Hebrew state and the Zionist plan..."[7]

In support of his argument, the Mubaidhin mentioned PA President Mahmoud 'Abbas's proposed program "to repatriate the Jews who emigrated to Palestine from Eastern countries," saying: "This program was theoretically approved by the relevant Arab leaders, but no practical steps were taken to implement it... Additionally, some of the Arab states to which Jews returned under this program treated the latter as Zionist spies and agents. These Jews narrowly escaped, and went back to Palestine."[8]

Mubaidhin questioned Libya's commitment to the notion of equal rights for all citizens, including Jews: "If the Libyans indeed believe in pluralism, democracy, justice, equality, and honoring human rights, they must consent to all rights, including the right of Jews to be equal citizens, like [members of] all other sectors of society... [If] the country's new leadership deals with this issue [properly], it is likely to promote [favorable] Western public opinion vis-à-vis post-Qadhafi Libya – [and Libya] needs all the support it can get during its rebuilding."[9]

© 1998-2012, The Middle East Media Research Institute All Rights Reserved. Endnotes:

[1] Tagorg.com, accessed February 26, 2012.

[2] See MEMRI TV Clip No. 2553, "Jordanian Businessman Talal Abu Ghazaleh: 9/11 Was Carried Out by the Taliban, Part of a Zionist Scheme; US Sank in Quagmire as a Result of 'Jewish Hatred of Americans,'" July 14, 2010," http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2553.htm.

[3] Al-Ghad (London), February 25, 2012.

[4] News.walla.co.il, October 2, 2011.

[5] Al-Mada (Iraq), October 5, 2011.

[6] Summereon.net, October 8, 2011.

[7] Al-Mada (Iraq), October 5, 2011.

[8] Summereon.net, October 8, 2011.

[9] Al-Mada (Iraq), October 5, 2011.

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