“Cotler charged that the United Nations bears ‘express responsibility for the distorted narrative.'” Yes.
“Cotler urges recognition of Jewish refugees,” by Steven Edwards for the CanWest News Service:
NEW YORK — Former justice minister Irwin Cotler and other Canadian scholars presented the U.S. Congress on Thursday with its first testimony on Jews driven from Arab lands following Israel’s creation in 1948.
“The time has come to rectify this historical injustice,” Cotler told members of the congressional human rights caucus in Washington in a written statement.
The witnesses were among experts helping U.S. lawmakers decide on a pair of bills that would oblige the Bush administration to actively oppose the Arab-led practice in Middle East peace efforts to speak only of Palestinian refugees.
While key Arab voices continue to push for a “right of return” for descendants of some 600,000 Palestinians whose pre-1948 homes are now inside Israel, the general discourse for decades has all but ignored the tens of thousands of Jews, Christians and other minorities who were similarly turned into refugees.
Cotler charged that the United Nations bears “express responsibility for the distorted narrative.” Arab countries have mustered majority backing from Muslim and developing states to pass 101 UN resolutions that refer only to Palestinian refugees.
Jews in Arab lands totalled almost 900,000 in 1948, but there are fewer than 8,000 in 10 Arab countries today, Cotler said. Arab countries counter that 3.7 million Palestinians remain in refugee camps in the region, whereas Jewish refugees moved on to new lives in Israel and elsewhere.