Jewish Property Claims Against Arab Countries

Jewish Property Claims Against Arab Countries

Michael R. Fischbach
Copyright Date: 2008
DOI: 10.7312/fisc13538
Pages: 376
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/fisc13538
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  • Book Info
    Jewish Property Claims Against Arab Countries
    Book Description:

    In the twenty years that followed the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, 800,000 Jews left their homes in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Morocco, and several other Arab countries. Although the causes of this exodus varied, restrictive governmental measures and an outburst of anti-Semitic feeling during and after the war were major factors. Some of these "Mizrahi" Jews, most of whom were not active Zionists, were forced to leave behind property of great financial and ancestral value-property that was sometimes seized by the governments of the countries they fled.

    In this book, Michael R. Fischbach, who has dedicated years to studying land and property ownership in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, reconstructs the circumstances in which Jewish communities left the Arab world. Conducting meticulous and exhaustive research in the archives of Washington D.C., Jerusalem, London, New York, and elsewhere, Fischbach offers the most authoritative estimates to date of the value of the property left behind. He also describes the process by which various actors, most importantly the State of Israel, linked the resolution of Jewish property claims to the fate of Palestinian refugee property claims following the 1948 war.

    Fischbach considers the implications of contemporary developments, such as America's invasion of Iraq, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and Libya's attempt to shed its international pariah status, which have impacted pending claims and will affect claims in the future. Overall, he finds that many international Jewish organizations have supported the link between the claims of Mizrahi Jews and those of Palestinian refugees, hindering serious efforts to obtain restitution or compensation.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51781-2
    Subjects: History, Religion, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. NOTE ON TRANSLITERATION
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    Consider the following four vignettes involving Jewish property claims in the Arab world. First, by May 2003 U.S. military forces had succeeded in overthrowing the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and occupation authorities were beginning the process of creating a new system of government. Back in New York, the World Jewish Congress (WJC) began receiving many communications from former Iraqi Jews inquiring about the possibility of seeking compensation for property of theirs that had been sequestered by the Iraqi government decades earlier. Virtually no one from Iraq’s once-thriving Jewish population still lived in the country, but the aging exiles...

  8. CHAPTER 1 The Loss of Jewish Property in the Arab World
    (pp. 9-98)

    The year 1948 was a turning point in Jewish history. Just over three years to the day after the Second World War ended in Europe—a war that included the systematic murder of one-third of the world’s Jews during the Nazi Holocaust—Jews in Palestine declared the independence of a Jewish state, Israel. The new state was born in the midst of a war that already had raged between forces from the Jewish minority and those of the majority Palestinian Arab population (as well as some foreign Arab volunteers) since the final weeks of 1947. The war would last through...

  9. CHAPTER 2 Jewish Claims in the Context of the Arab-Israeli Conflict and the Peace Process, 1948–2001
    (pp. 99-190)

    The ten years after the end of the Second World War in 1945 saw a massive demographic shift in the world’s Jewish population. During the Holocaust in Europe, the Nazis murdered one-third of all the world’s Jews. Holocaust survivors began leaving war-ravaged Europe, formerly home to two-thirds of the globe’s Jewish population, destined for Israel, the New World, and elsewhere. Additionally, as noted in chapter 1, tens of thousands of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa began immigrating to Israel as well. The several-year period beginning in 1948 saw Israel’s population double as over half a million immigrants...

  10. CHAPTER 3 The Status of Jewish Property Claims Today
    (pp. 191-260)

    Much has changed in the Israeli-Palestinian arena since January 2001, from the violence of the al-Aqsa Intifada and the Israeli reinvasion of the West Bank and Gaza, to the Israeli withdrawal of Jewish settlements from Gaza, to the rise of new leadership for Israel and the Palestinians, to the Israeli war with Hizbullah in the summer of 2006 and the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, and the resumption of peace talks in November 2007. One particularly important development was the rise of Israeli and international Jewish efforts to use the history of Middle Eastern and North African Jewish suffering...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 261-272)

    In 1955 a former Iraqi Jew named Elias Isaac Joseph Isaac wrote a letter to the United Nations in New York, inquiring whether the world body possessed any information about Jewish property that had been sequestered in Iraq. He wrote again in 1961. While no UN agency dealt specifically with the question of Iraqi Jewish property, officials at the world body’s headquarters felt that the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine was the best office to which to forward Isaac’s letters. The UNCCP was in the final stages of its massive project collecting data on Palestinian refugee property losses from...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 273-318)
  13. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 319-328)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 329-356)