Book Review: The Case Of The Jews From Arab Countries: A Neglected Issue

The Case Of The Jews From Arab Countries:  A Neglected Issue, by Maurice M. Roumani

Although this book was published in 1983, it does not suffer at all for having been written comparatively long ago regarding the state of Arab-Israeli relations.  Indeed, much of this book strikes the reader as being especially prophetic concerning the vulnerable state of religious and ethnic minorities within Arab states and the danger to those minorities in the face of a widespread devotion to Sharia law among the masses of such countries.  This book’s sober and clear-eyed and somewhat pessimistic view is remarkable and astute, and something that should have been a corrective to the more rose-colored optimism of many Westerners concerning the hopes of the Arab Spring and any number of similar occasions throughout the last thirty-plus years since this book was published.  The fact that it remains true and remains of value in framing the discussion about Palestinian ethnogenesis in the different treatment of a certain group of Arabs from the rest of Arabs for political reasons.  For those readers who from time to time look at books concerning the Arab-Israeli dispute [1], this book comes as a gauntlet thrown to many of the anti-Israeli rhetoric, and while the book makes no pretensions about lacking a certain bias and perspective, it does provide some rigorous facts by which the issue of Israeli admission of refugees from Arab countries and the different fate of Palestinian refugees can be profitably understood.

This book is a short one, at around seventy pages or so, and its contents are direct and to the point.  There is no padding or wasting of paper here.  Despite its brief size it manages to say quite a bit.  This volume, the fourth printing of the book, contains two prefaces and an introduction that take up about ten pages and discuss the lack of understanding of the issue of Arab discrimination and abuse against resident Jewish populations.  Then the main section of the book, about 66 pages, is divided into two parts, each of which is divided into four chapters.  The first part of the book has chapters discussing the displacement of Jews from Arab countries, the hardships of displacement in the aliyah to Israel, the lengthy historical presence of Jews in the Middle East and North Africa, and the persecution of Jews in Arab lands under conditions of unjust and oppressive dhimmitude.  The second part of the book contains chapters on the movement of populations in the Mandate of Palestine in the aftermath of the Israeli War of Independence as being a population exchange, the origins of the refugee problem, the reasons for the problem in the behavior of Arab states, and the myth of a Palestinian democratic secular state which remains a myth even to this day, after which the authors include a select bibliography.

It is not exaggeration to say that this book is a must read if anyone wants to seriously and justly tackle the problem of the Palestinian refugee crisis, as the book’s author gives a rigorous case against the Arab world on a variety of grounds–historical abuses of religious and ethnic minorities, which continues to this day, a refusal to seek the best interests of refugees, rampant corruption that exaggerates the size of the Palestinian refugee population and refuses to place it in the context of larger population exchanges during the course of the twentieth century, and the belated nature of the origins of the Palestinian people in their shabby treatment by Arab states looking for a permanent causus belli against Israel by refusing citizenship to fellow Arabs.  The book’s case was and remains unassailable, and represents a serious challenge to those who are biased against the nation of Israel or who have neglected the plight of those small Jewish minorities who remain hostages of often despotic and tyrannical regimes in the Arab world.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, History, International Relations, Middle East, Military History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Book Review: The Case Of The Jews From Arab Countries: A Neglected Issue

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