From our Archives
10 June 1975
Dear Mr Ben Porat,
I have been reading
with great interest (in The Times and other papers)
reports of the convention which you recently held to launch
the campaign for the rights and claims of Jewish refugees
from Arab countries. I have also read in the Tel Aviv publication
BRIEF a report of your article in MAARIV of
May 25 in which you outline the demands, both political and
economic, of Jewish refugees.
While I congratulate
you on this timely and historic move I can assure you that
I and other members of the community heartily endorse and
support your demands.
I have always
stressed that Jewish rights in the Middle East are not confined
to Israel or to Palestine and that we have vested rights and
interests in most of the so-called Arab countries.
I enclose a copy of my telegram to Dr Kissinger in December
1973 (which I also sent to Mrs Meir and Mr Dayan while he
was in Washington) on the subject.
PLO must not be
equated with Israel but only with Jewish refugees from Arab
countries and even then perhaps not on an equal footing. For
while Jewish refugees are genuine, Palestinian Arab refugees
were largely created and kept in artificial ways. They also
have the freedom of the big wide Middle East which is denied
to the Jews. It has been said that you are a quarter of a
century late in launching this campaign but I believe that
your initiative is very timely in relation to the Geneva conference.
One must remember that Palestinian Arabs also took a long
time to organise themselves. And while we stand to challenge
the Arab claims we must not be intimidated by the terror and
blackmail which Arabs throughout their history used to further
It would perhaps
be preferable that the leadership or the figurehead of the
campaign be in the Galut. There is a ready-made historical
office, the Exilarch, which can be revived and built up for
this purpose. If Israel so wishes I am willing to play the
part. In this I have the support of many of my colleagues.
My doctrine would go beyond Zionism and PLO and would ask
for equal rights (of whom the Arabs are the latecomers) as
the only means to ensure lasting peace and prevent the wars
that have characterised the history of the Middle East and
ruined its lands and peoples. Any American or U.N. aid to
the Middle East must be channelled through a regional board
representing all the communities of the region and whose funds
must be supplemented by payments from oil and other natural
With best wishes.
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