Hamas on Wednesday lambasted an Israeli initiative that seeks to raise awareness for Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and urged the Arab world to repatriate Israeli Jews who emigrated from countries of origin in the Middle East.
In a letter to Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, Hamas called on member states to combat a new campaign titled “I am a refugee,” which was launched recently by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The online campaign encourages Jews who left Arab countries to upload testimonials to a specially created Facebook page.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who is spearheading the campaign, says that 856,000 Jews were driven from their homes in the Arab world following the declaration of the State of Israel, “as a result of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish riots.”
But Hamas presented a different narrative in its letter to the Arab League. According to the Islamic movement, an Arab League decision defining Jewish immigration to Israel as “illegal” proves that “Arab states are not involved in expelling their Jews but, on the contrary, are calling on Jews to return.”
“[We call on member states] to exert more effective effort to prevent in all possible ways Jewish emigration from their territory to Israel,” the letter read, according to Hamas-affiliated media.
Hamas claimed that Jews had never suffered discrimination or persecution in Arab countries, where they resided for centuries. It was the Zionist movement, the letter argued, which caused Jews to leave — a fact well-documented by “Jewish researchers and officials.”
Hamas also appealed to the Arab League to withdraw the Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for “a just and agreed-upon” solution to the Palestinian refugee issue, rather than an unequivocal demand for their settlement in Israel.