Last modified on 14 October 2014, at 22:00

Jewish refugees

In the course of history, Jewish populations have been expelled or ostracised by various local authorities and have sought asylum from antisemitism numerous times. The articles History of antisemitism and Timeline of antisemitism contain more detailed chronology of anti-Jewish hostilities, while Jewish history and Timeline of Jewish history outline the broader picture.

The status of refugee is defined by the 1951 UN convention, except for Palestinian refugees defined by the 1949 UNRWA convention and which includes all "people whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict."

After its establishment in 1948, the State of Israel adopted the 1950 Law of Return making Israel a home not only for the inhabitants of the State, but also for all members of the Jewish people everywhere. This law was intended to encourage Jewish immigration to Israel. After 1970 the Jackson–Vanik amendment accorded those Jewish emigrants from the Soviet block countries who desired to enter the United States the refugee status combined with federal assistance in the initial stages of their resettlement.

Timeline of events that prompted major streams of Jewish refugeesEdit

722 BCE
The Assyrians led by Shalmaneser conquered the (Northern) Kingdom of Israel and sent the Israelites into captivity at Khorasan. Ten of twelve Tribes of Israel are considered lost; but these tribes are not considered Jewish, rather than Samaritan. These tribes have been living since then near the city of Nablus in what is today the West Bank.
597 BCE
The Babylonian captivity. In 537 BCE the Persians, who conquered Babylon two years earlier, allowed Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple.
70
The defeat of the Great Jewish Revolt. Masses of Jews were sold to slavery across the Roman Empire, many fled.
119
Large Jewish communities of Cyprus, Cyrene and Alexandria become extinct after the Jewish defeat in Kitos War against Rome. This event caused a major demographic shift in the Levant and North Africa. According to Eusebius of Caesarea the outbreak of violence left Libya depopulated to such an extent that a few years later new colonies had to be established there by the emperor Hadrian just to maintain the viability of continued settlement.
135
The Romans defeated Bar Kokhba's revolt. Emperor Hadrian expelled hundreds of thousands Jews from Judea, wiped the name off the maps, replaced it with Syria Palaestina, forbade Jews to set foot in Jerusalem.
629
The entire Jewish population of Galilee is massacred or expelled, following the Jewish rebellion against Byzantium.
7th century
Muhammad expelled Jewish tribes Banu Qaynuqa and Banu Nadir from Medina, which was founded as a Jewish city. The Banu Qurayza tribe was slaughtered and the Jewish settlement of Khaybar was ransacked. All three tribes previously had a peace treaty with Muhammad, but they broke the treaty and sided with the opposition. The Banu Qurayza, not only sided with the opposing leaders (The Quraish) but they also waged war against Muhammad.
1095 - mid-13th century
The waves of Crusades destroyed hundreds of Jewish communities in Europe and in the Middle East, including Jerusalem.
Mid-12th century
The invasion of Almohades brought to end the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. Among other refugees was Maimonides, who fled to Morocco, then Egypt, then Eretz Israel.
12th-14th centuries
France. The practice of expelling the Jews accompanied by confiscation of their property, followed by temporary readmissions for ransom, was used to enrich the crown: expulsions from Paris by Philip Augustus in 1182, from France by Louis IX in 1254, by Charles IV in 1322, by Charles V in 1359, by Charles VI in 1394.
13th century
The influential philosopher and logician Ramon Llull (1232-1315) called for expulsion of all Jews who would refuse conversion to Christianity. Some scholars regard Llull's as the first comprehensive articulation, in the Christian West, of an expulsionist policy regarding Jews.
1290
King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion for all Jews from England. The policy was reversed after 365 years in 1655 by Oliver Cromwell.
1348
European Jews were blamed for poisoning wells during the Black Death. Many of those who survived the epidemic and pogroms were either expelled or fled.
1492
Ferdinand II and Isabella I issued the Alhambra decree, General Edict on the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (approx. 200,000), from Sicily (1493, approx. 37,000), from Portugal (1496) from Calabria Italy 1554. It is important to note that this event happened on Tisha B'Av, as with many other events in Jewish history.
1654
The fall of the Dutch colony of Recife in Brazil to the Portuguese prompted the first group of Jews to flee to North America.
1648-1654
Ukrainian Cossacks and peasants led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky destroyed hundreds of Jewish communities and committed mass atrocities. Ukraine was annexed by the Russian Empire, where officially no Jews were allowed.
1744-1790s
The reforms of Frederick II, Joseph II and Maria Theresa sent masses of impoverished German and Austrian Jews east. See also: Schutzjude.
1881–1884, 1903–1906, 1914–1921
Repeated waves of pogroms swept Russia, propelling mass Jewish emigration (more than 2 million Russian Jews emigrated in the period 1881-1920). During World War I, some 250,000 Jews were transferred from western Russia. See also Pale of Settlement, May Laws, Russian Civil War.
1933-1945
The German Nazi persecution started with the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in 1933, reached a first climax during the Kristallnacht in 1938 and culminated in the Holocaust of the European Jewry. The British Mandate of Palestine prohibited Jewish emigration to Palestine Mandatory Palestine. The 1938 Evian Conference, the 1943 Bermuda Conference and other attempts failed to resolve the problem of Jewish refugees, a fact widely used in Nazi propaganda (see also MS St. Louis). Many German and Austrian Jewish refugees from Nazism emigrated to Britain and many fought for Britain in the second World War.
1947-1972
The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, in which the combined population of Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa (excluding Israel) was reduced from about 900,000 in 1948 to less than 8,000 today. The history of the exodus is politicized, given its proposed relevance to a final settlement Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] When presenting the history, those who view the Jewish exodus as equivalent to the 1948 Palestinian exodus, such as the Israeli government and NGOs such as JJAC and JIMENA, emphasize "push factors", such as cases of anti-Jewish violence and forced expulsions,[1] and refer to those affected as "refugees".[1] Those who argue that the exodus does not equate to the Palestinian exodus emphasize "pull factors", such as the actions of local Zionist agents aiming to fulfil the One Million Plan,[3] highlight good relations between the Jewish communities and their country's governments,[5] emphasize the impact of other push factors such as the decolonization in the Maghreb and the Suez War and Lavon Affair in Egypt,[5] and argue that many or all of those who left were not refugees.[1][3] Israel absorbed approximately 600,000 of these refugees, many of whom were temporarily settled in tent cities called Ma'abarot. They were eventually absorbed into Israeli society, and the last Maabarah was dismantled in 1958.
1960s-1989
Due to the 1968 Polish political crisis thousands of Jews were forced by the communist authorities to leave Poland. See also rootless cosmopolitan, Doctors' plot, Jackson-Vanik amendment, refusenik, Zionology, Pamyat.
1970s
State-sponsored persecution in the Soviet Union prompted tens of thousands of Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel, and some also to the United States with "refugee" status.
1979-1980s
Iranian Jews were persecuted by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Changing tack, Foreign Ministry to bring 'Jewish refugees' to fore ""To define them as refugees is exaggerated,” said Alon Liel, a former director-general of the Foreign Ministry"
  2. ^ Changing the refugee paradigm
  3. ^ a b c Israel scrambles Palestinian 'right of return' with Jewish refugee talk "Palestinian and Israeli critics have two main arguments: that these Jews were not refugees but eager participants in a new Zionist state, and that Israel cannot and should not attempt to settle its account with the Palestinians by deducting the lost assets of its own citizens, thereby preventing individuals on both sides from seeking compensation."
  4. ^ Philip Mendes The causes of the post-1948 Jewish Exodus from Arab Countries
  5. ^ a b c Yehouda Shenhav The Arab Jews: A Postcolonial Reading of Nationalism, Religion, and Ethnicity
  6. ^ Avi Shlaim No peaceful solution
  7. ^ A new hasbara campaign: Countering the 'Arab Narrative'

External linksEdit