June 20, 2011


What If Jews Had Followed the Palestinian Path?: Postwar Jewish refugees left everything they had in Europe—no 'right of return' requested. (WARREN KOZAK, 6/20/11, WSJ)

[T]he Jewish refugees returned to their ancestral homeland. They left everything they had in Europe and turned their backs on the Continent—no "right of return" requested. They were welcomed by the 650,000 Jewish residents of Israel.

An additional 700,000 Jewish refugees flooded into the new state from Arab lands after they were summarily kicked out. Again losing everything after generations in one place; again welcomed in their new home.

In Israel, they did it all the hard way. They built a new country from scratch with roads, housing and schools. They created agricultural collectives to feed their people. They created a successful economy without domestic oil, and they built one of the world's most vibrant democracies in a region sadly devoid of free thought.

Yes, the Israelis did all this with the financial assistance of Jews around the world and others who helped get them on their feet so they could take care of themselves. These outsiders did not ignore them, or demean them, or use them as pawns in their own political schemes—as the Arab nations have done with the Palestinians.

I imagine the argument will be made that while the Jews may have achieved all this, they did not have their land stolen from them. This is, of course, a canard, another convenient lie. They did lose property all over Europe and the Mideast.

Holocaust reparations: Putting a price on the Holocaust: The latest effort to secure Holocaust reparations is foundering over money. Is that what this appalling historical episode has been reduced to? (The Economist, Nov 25th 1999)
HOW do you put a price tag on the atrocities of the past? That is the dilemma at the heart of the latest unresolved wrangling over Holocaust reparations, this time claimed by the survivors of Nazi labour camps. Efforts to secure compensation from German firms and the German government collapsed last week over the size of a compensation fund that would absolve German companies from existing and future legal claims over forced labour. With talks due to resume again in Washington on December 8th, and over $1 billion still separating the two sides, the question raised once again is this: does the effort to put a monetary value on unspeakable human wrongs of the past not help ultimately to diminish them?

The forced-labour case is only one of a battery of outstanding claims by Holocaust survivors, or the families of those who were killed, for reparations for Nazi-era crimes. The chief targets are European companies—notably German, Austrian, Swiss, Italian and French—which, it is claimed, harbour dormant bank accounts, unpaid insurance policies or other assets lost or seized at the time of the Third Reich. While these claims are being pursued through various different courts, most of them in the United States, the common theme is an attempt to seek monetary compensation.

Well, what do you expect, reply the claimants, when so many of these cases refer to stolen assets? “We are not talking about putting a price on those who died, but on what was stolen from them,” declares Elan Steinberg, the executive director of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in New York.

Israel seeks fresh Holocaust reparations deal with Germany (Anshel Pfeffer , 9/11/07, Ha'aretz)

Minister for Pensioner Affairs Rafi Eitan is seeking to reopen the 1952 reparations agreement between Israel and Germany.

Eitan, the minister in charge of the talks with Germany on reparations for Holocaust survivors and retrieving Jewish property, intends to discuss the matter with the German finance minister when he comes to Israel in two weeks' time.

Eitan told Haaretz that the original reparations agreement, the Luxembourg Agreement, did not take into account many issues relating to Holocaust survivors and should therefore be reopened. That agreement stipulated that Germany would give Israel $833 million in money and merchandise, and Israel would look after the survivors, who would not be permitted to sue Germany directly.

A state comptroller's report on the treatment of Holocaust survivors, released this past August, said that in the 50 years between 1954 and 2004, the government had spent some $3.5 billion on the survivors, more than four times the sum transferred by Germany.

"We see Germany as responsible for the Holocaust survivors," Eitan told Haaretz.

Germany to Raise Sums of Holocaust Reparations (Elad Benari, Israel news)
The German government has announced its decision to raise the aid it gives to Holocaust survivors. The reparation amounts for 2011 will stand at 110 million Euros per year, up from 55 million Euros in 2010.

The announcement on the increase in aid was made by Claims Conference VP Shlomo Gur on Tuesday during a meeting of the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee.

We can be pretty sure that Mr. Kozak doesn't seriously want to apply the same standard to Palestinians as regards reparations as was applied for Jewish refugees.

Posted by at June 20, 2011 5:45 PM

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