Dec. 1, 2017
By Tevy Pilc
B’nai Brith Canada
In honour of Jewish Refugee Day, Canadian MPs David Sweet (Flamborough—Glanbrook, CPC) and Anthony Housefather (Mount Royal, Lib.) delivered statements yesterday in the House of Commons.
Included below are videos and transcripts of each member’s statements.
Mr. Speaker, today is Jewish Refugee Day, a day that is set aside to commemorate the 850,000 Jews across the Middle East who were displaced from their homes as a result of religious persecution during the 1940s to the 1970s,. This year, B’nai Brith has once again put together a campaign to commemorate these refugees in a bid to promote awareness of this great injustice. I am proud to share with the House that this year, B’nai Brith Canada has teamed up with Judy Feld Carr, a Canadian activist who single-handedly and secretly helped 3,228 Jewish Syrians leave Syria over a period of 28 years. B’nai Brith is doing truly outstanding work in honouring and educating people on the horrors that Jewish families and individuals have faced. Mindful of the stories and memories of Jewish refugees on this day of commemoration, please allow me to assure the Canadian Jewish community, on behalf of my colleagues, that we will always fight against anti-Semitism and racism in any form and in any place around the world.
Mr. Speaker, today we commemorate Jewish Refugee Day. I specifically want to call everyone’s attention to some forgotten refugees, the approximately 850,000 Jews who had to leave Arab countries and Iran due to religious persecution. Their families lived in these countries for many centuries, but in the years leading up to and following the establishment of Israel, anti-Jewish sentiment and violence dramatically increased.*(Spoken in French) In some of these countries, Jewish communities faced organized killings and systemic violence. Many countries stripped them of their property and revoked their citizenship.Countries that had Jewish communities in the hundreds of thousands today only have a handful of Jewish residents, and willingly or unwillingly, their Jewish communities found refuge in Israel and in western countries like Canada. I ask all my fellow members to join with me and those Jewish Canadians who found refuge from Arab lands and Iran in commemorating the experiences they lived.