Richard Falk, the special rapporteur of the United Nations on the Palestinians, told the U.N. Human Rights Council that Israel is committing ethnic cleansing in eastern Jerusalem. Falk's statements Monday to the Human Rights Council came as the council prepared a resolution condemning settlement building in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
Throughout Jewish history, it has been necessary, time and again, to fight prejudice and false accusations. To mention just one notorious example, there is the blood libel of Pesach, which accuses the Jews of using the blood of Christian children for the baking of matzot -- a blood libel that is again being disseminated, in our days, in Arab countries and even in Russia.
The conference, "Forgotten Refugees: Jews Expelled From Arab Countries," was sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council, JIMENA and the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Federation. Support came from the World Jewish Congress and other local and national Jewish organizations.
About 300 people attended the four-hour event, hearing and sharing testimonials detailing imprisonment at internment camps, mass deportations, rape and ethnic cleansing. The stories were interspersed throughout the conference, which also featured panels on community activism, the role of the United Nations in the Middle East and a keynote address by Algerian-born Jew Eric Benhamou, the chair of 3Com Corp.
It was March 31, the first night of Passover, and his native Yugoslavia was again convulsed by war.