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June 21, 1968 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-06-21

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Purely Commentary

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Boris Smolar's

'The Legend of the Refugees' Exposes Misrepresentations

TEL AVIV, Israel—When the complete story of
the occurrences in the Middle East from 1948
through the succeeding decades will have been
written, the chapter related to the United Nations
and to its UNRWA agency—the United Nations
Relief and Works, Agency for Palestine Refugees
—will surely expose one of the most atrocious
frauds ever perpetrated upon an unsuspecting gen-
eration that honestly believed the democratic nations
were supporting a great philanthropic cause.
Upon his return from his 11th trip to Israel,
last November, this commentator charged that
much that is unsavory was in evidence in UNRWA
ranks. He pointed out that the administrative staffs
were packed with Arabs, that a Jew could not get
an assignment in this UN agency, that the purpose
of the UNRWA staffs was mainly political and
primarily to assist in undermining Israel's status.
The United Nations must be fully aware of what
has happened, how the refugees' numbers were
padded, the schemes that were engineered to give
the impression that there are a million and a half
refugees, when in reality that number is very
small; whereas the number of Arab refugees is
even smaller than the number of Jews who were
driven out of their homes in Moslem countries
after being deprived of all their possessions, having
been forced to migrate to Israel penniless, literally
with their shirts on their backs as the only articles
they were able to retain from all their means.
In 1959, Dr. Walter Pinner wrote a book in
which he presented the facts about the great lie
called the Palestine refugee problem. He presented
the facts to the UN secretary general, Dag Ham-
marskjold. Perhaps some good results might have
come from that revelation. The first UNRWA di-
rector, Henry R. Labouisse, could have been
counted upon to set the record straight and to
resort to pragmatic programinc in behalf of the
former Palestinians who could b have been restored
fully to honorable existence instead of being used
as pawns in the Arabs' aims to Destroy Israel. But
Hammarskjold died soon thereafter, Labouisse was
succeeded first by John H. Davis and now by
Lawrence Michelmore, both of whom are antagon-
istic to Israel and serve as media in continuing the
lies related to the refugees' conditions.
For 17 years, Dr. Pinner continued his studies
of the refugee issues, and he has just published a
supplementary study which he has entitled "The
Legend of the Arab Refugees."
Emerging from this study, which has been
published in Tel Aviv by the Economic and Social
Research Institute, is exactly this revealing fact:
that the Arab refugee matter is a legend!
This revealing 70-page brochure should have
worldwide distribution, and it is especially vital that
Jews themselves should be aware of the actualities
in a situation that has caused so many people to
point accusing fingers at Israel as if the "rahamanin
bnai rahamanim"—the merciful sons of a merciful
people"—suddenly have resorted to brutalities and
have practiced against Arabs what they have them-
selves suffered from many antagonists, mainly
Christians, and certainly also Mohammedans, as
history will prove.
"The Legend of the Arab Refugees" has the
added merit of containing a foreword by another
distinguished student of Israeli affairs, Itzhak Kanev
(MA), chairman of the social research institute
and director of the health insurance institution of
the Labor Federation. Kanev's article is a summary.
Let us view the facts with him:
When UNRWA first was set up in 194g. an Arab
refugee was defined as "a person who in May
1948 had been living in Palestine for at least two
years, who, in consequence of the 1948 conflict,
had lost his home and means of livelihood and who
still is in need."
But this has been thoroughly abused because
in the course of the years of padding the refugee
records, practically all of the inhabitants of the
Gaza Strip and of West Jordan areas were included
in the relief rolls of UNRWA and became eligible
for UN support.
In the early years of UNRWA activities the
negative aspects of UNRWA activities were stated
frankly. In the 1956 57 report there is this indica-
tion: "Few deaths are recorded and few ration
cards amended to account for death and other
causes of ineligibility." In the 1954-55 report there
is this admission: "The lack of cooperation from
the government in the past and the active opposition
of the refugees for several years made it impossible
to operate in Jordan any system for several years
to determine the bona fides of ration recipients and.
to delete from the ration rolls the names of persons
not entitled to relief." In the same report, there is
this comment: "Entry into Syria has been arbi-
trarily refused to certain officials of the Agency,
and others have been ordered to leave virtually
without notice."
The earlier UNRWA staffs may be absolved
from blame on the basis of this comment by Dr.
Pinner: "One of the most fantastic features of
the work of UNRWA from the very beginning
has been that it had to work not only on the
figures provided by the countries which received
the refugees, but that it had little or no control



over the appointment of local staff to carry out
its work."
Major in importance in Dr. Pinner's revealing
presentation of the actual facts is his expose of the
way in which the refugee figures were padded,
multiplied, given credence as if a vast army of
(Copyright 1968, JTA Inc.)
Arabs actually was expelled from Israel by the
reborn Jewish State.
STORM SIGNALS: Leaders of Jewish organizations are perturbed
The number of figures for refugees given by over the growing number of Arab students in this country who are be-
UNRWA in 1966 was 1,317,749, and Dr. Pinner coming more and more active in professional propaganda against Israel
charges that this number "is based on a mis- in hostile talks against American Jewry.
representation of the number of genuine refugees
The propaganda—which is often directed against the United States
by three of the host countries—Syria, Jordan and
Government as well for helping Israel—is now on the increase. There
Egypt in the Gaza Strip."
He shows that the actual number of refugees is more of it than in any previous year. Many of the young Arabs en-
tered the United States as exchange students on American scholarships
in 1966 was 367,000—Gaza Strip 155,000, Jordan and fellowships. They make it a major objective to try to infect the
15,000, Lebanon 75,000, Syria 22,000 and that campuses with hatred against Israel and against all those in this coun-
the UNRWA figure therefore is higher than the try who support Israel. Their number is sufficiently large to reach uni-
true figure by 950,000.
versities even in small towns, where there are no Jewish students to
The difference is accounted for, in Dr. Pinner/ take issue with their views and where they meet with no opposition.
study, which neither the UN officials nor the
Admitted to this country for the purpose of studying various sub-
UNRWA staffs have been able to disprove, as jects,
they address students and faculty audiences in an effort to in-
follows: There were 117,000 unrecorded deaths, doctrinate
them with anti-Jewish hostility for which they are trained
109,000 ex-refugees were resettled in 1948, 225,000
ex-refugees became self-supporting between 1948 in their native lands. Their line of propaganda is being emulated now
and 1956 (85,000 in Syria, 65,000 in Lebanon, 80,000 by Arab students in Latin American countries and is provoking a fee'
ing of restlessness among the Jews there.
in Jordan); 15,000 really are frontier villagers in
All this points to the fact that penetration of the American coi.
Jordan and 484,000 are self-appointed refugees—
they are the pre-1948 residents of West Jordan and tinent by well-trained Arab agitators has become an integral part ot -
in the Gaza Strip who were registered as refugees. the Arab propaganda machine directed from Egypt, Syria and Iraq.
Is it any wonder that Dr. Pinner, in his im- The American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League of
portant book which has thus far fallen on deaf Bnai Brith are following the provocative activities of the Arab stu-
dents and have come to the conclusion that effective action must be
ears, charges:
"It is the greatest misrepresentation ever per- taken to check the infiltration of Arab propaganda into American uni-
petrated under the banner of the United Nations."
Itzhak Kanev, in his excellent commentary on
these facts, makes his own observation in which he
ACTION IN U.S.: The Anti-Defamation League estimates that
calls attention anew to the injustices that were per-
are more than 7,000 Arab students in American educational in-
petrated in Moslem countries. He states:
stitutions. They are organized in a central body with more than 100
"The most surprising thing is that whenever
chapters functioning on college campuses. Their annual budget is over
the question of refugees is discussed, only Arab
$100,000, most of which goes for publication of propaganda literature.
refugees are considered, with complete disregard of They publish a magazine, The Arab Journal, which can be found
Jewish refugees from Arab countries whose num- every library and institute of higher learning.
ber is far from negligible: From Algiers, 12,387
Their central body—known as the Organization of Arab Students
Tunisia, 42,630; Lebanon and Syria, 8,400; Libya,
31,671; Morocco, 234,942; Egypt, 36,680; Iraq, —makes no secret of its cooperation with the Palestine Liberation Or-
123,925; Yemen, 46,439; for a total of 537,074. ganization, which directed terrorist activities aganst Israel. They are
And what must be taken into account is that the instructed to cooperate with "natural" anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist
greater majority of these people 'escaped from groups in this country and to report regularly to headquarters of their
the sword,' from persecutions and mortal danger organization on the activities of Jewish groups.
in the Arab countries, and who arrived in Israel
Their plans this year are to intensify their activities on the cam-
robbed of all their possessions. But the difference
lies in the fact that Israel considered it her duty puses, to seek speaking assignments at meetings of various organiza-
to care for the refugees, to absorb them into the tions, to appear as guests on radio and television programs, to organize
productive life of the country, while the Arab new chapters in colleges and universities, and to influence the Amer-
countries have turned their genuine refugees into ican press through press conferences and letters to the editor. Their
tools of propaganda, keeping them in dire poverty outstanding chapter in 1967—"Chapter of the Year"—was the one in
Pittsburgh. It was honored by the Organization of Arab Students for
and want like beggars dependent on charity and
including in its activities seven public lectures, three movies, four
sentenced to a life of forced idleness."
press conferences and three television interviews for Arab spokesmen.
A point made by Kanev in his prefatory essay
is vital. He states:
The Arab League Information Center in the United States, a propa-
"Those who strive wholeheartedly towards a ganda agency, assured a recent convention of Arab students, held at
solution of the Arab refugee problem are bound University of Colorado, of funds for their activities "wherever pos-
to recognize that in reality no major refugee prob- sible" for the purpose of "enlightening American public opinion about
lem exists. Instead, an exchange of population has the threats and dangers of Zionist policies and about the evil role some
taken place, and this phenomenon is not limited to Jewish organizations in the United States play in this regard."
the Israeli-Arab war but has happened in many
The American Arab Society is now planning to raise $3,000,000
parts of the world, where major flights of refugees
have occurred in our time and where constructive to establish a center for Arabic studies at Houston Baptist College,
ways of absorbing them have been found in far which was established five years ago and has 900 students. American
"interested companies" will finance the college by contributions, the
less time.
secretary of the Society announced. Dr. William Hinton, president of
Finland was forced to absorb 400,000 refugees the college, said that the center "will exert great influence and could
from Carelia; West Germany has rehabilitated be a turning point in reshaping American foreign policy toward
within her borders 6,250,000 refugees from Poland, Arab states."
Hungary, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. Mil-
lions of citizens were exchanged between India and
Pakistan, and lastly, has not Sudan expelled 250,000 statistics." lie revealed the truth regarding the refugee myths and
Christians to the neighboring African countries?
charged: "UNRWA's statistics do not originate from its small
"If the situation will be seen in this light, the International Staff of less than 120 members. The registration of
persons as refugees rests with the Local Staff, about 10,000 strong,
whole problem will have found a natural solution.
Against the 367,000 remaining genuine Arab which is composed of genuine or 'appointed' refugees whose loyalties
are to their Host—or Home Countries."
refugees who left Israel (of their own free will)
in 1948, Israel has absorbed more than half a mil-
It is clear from the facts presented by Dr. Pinner that there has
lion Jewish refugees from Arab countries who were been built up—deliberately—a case against Israel based on falsified
expelled by force.
refugee statistics, and UNRWA, and therefore the UN itself, are
"What is more, for humanitarian reasons Israel responsible for the lie perpetrated and imposed as a fact upon
is prepared to assist in the matter with her knowl- mankind.
edge and experience acquired in this sphere, for
Dr. Pinner does not state it, because that's not part of his thesis,
the absorption of the uprooted and their return
to productive work. In this region there are seven- but the major responsibility for the upkeep of the so-called million
or more refugees rests upon the United States. Most of the money
teen countries under Arab rule, some of them huge came
from our tax dollars, and American taxpayers have good
in size and rich in natural resources, but only
the misappropriations that are adding to a problem for the
sparsely populated. Had the Arab rulers a spark
of human relationship towards their own brethren, Middle East, Israel and also the United States. If it were not for the
they could easily have settled people uprooted as exaggerated refugee problem, perhaps even the Russian influence in
the Middle East, which has become a major challenge to the U.S
far back in 1948."
would be delimited.
Dr. Pinner incorporated in his text two letters
Dr. Pinner's valuable document thoroughly dissects all the
he had written to the late Dr. Hammarskjold and
in them he told bluntly of the misrepresentations UNRWA reports, it exposes the biased attitude of the last two
by UNRWA officials and the failure of the Arab UNRWA commissioner generals (first known as UNRWA directors),
potentates to provide adequate means of solving and his direct accusations must receive a more adequate reply from
the refugee problem they had themselves created. the responsible authorities.
Dr. Pinner wrote to the UN secretary-
There is little, of course, to be expected from an Arab-USSR
general, who died shortly thereafter in a tragic bloc in the UN—as was indicated by the resolution demanding Israel's
plane accident: "In your own report in 1958, withdrawal from the unified city of Jerusalem. Only the
you expressed the view that resettlement of the States and Canada had the courage to abstain from voting on that
refugees should greatly assist the development unanimously adopted resolution (13-0) in the UN Security
of the Arab countries. You wrote this when Therefore the challenge to an international lie must come from the
you had no reason to disbelieve in UNRWA's American taxpayers.

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