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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 their greed.

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 resources.

With best wishes.

Yours sincerely

Naim Dangoor


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