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November 23, 2018 1:06 pm

Top Historian Simon Schama: Remember the Expulsion of Jews From Arab Countries

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

A New York Times front page story from May 16, 1948, on the imminent expulsion of Jews from Arab countries. Image:

Prominent historian Simon Schama on Friday called for commemorating the expulsion of over 800,000 Jews from Arab countries that followed the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

“This is so important — 800,000 Jewish refugees — When exactly next week is the day of commemoration of THEIR naqba?” Schama asked, using the Arabic word for “catastrophe” commonly used to describe the experience of Arab refugees during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.

Schama’s acclaimed recent book and TV series, “A History of the Jews,” includes a detailed account of the uprooting of Jewish communities from North Africa to Yemen, in which he contrasts the silence around this question with the attention given to the Palestinian issue.

November 30 — a week from today — is marked in Israel as an official commemoration of the expulsion of the Jews from the Arab countries and, later, from Iran. It falls, symbolically, one day after the anniversary of the UN resolution in favor of partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, which is officially commemorated by the UN as an “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”

The November 30 commemoration in Israel has been held since 2014, when it was formally established in legislation passed by the Knesset.

Many Jewish organizations in the US and around the world also remember the expulsions on the same day.

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