Miss Iraq to lead Israeli event at UN on Jewish refugees from Arab States

In 2017, after being photographed with Miss Israel, former miss Iraq Sarah Idan was forced to flee her country and emigrated to the United States

Contestants Miss Iraq, Sarah Eedan (R) and Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman (L) pose together for a selfie, during preparations for the Miss Universe 2017 beauty pageant in Las Vegas, United States November 13, 2017 (photo credit: SARAH IDAN/SOCIAL MEDIA/VIA REUTERS)
Contestants Miss Iraq, Sarah Eedan (R) and Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman (L) pose together for a selfie, during preparations for the Miss Universe 2017 beauty pageant in Las Vegas, United States November 13, 2017
(photo credit: SARAH IDAN/SOCIAL MEDIA/VIA REUTERS)
In early December, Israel's Mission to the United Nations is scheduled to hold a unique event at the UN headquarters in New York.
This event will host UN officials and ambassadors from around the world. It is being organized along with Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA) as part of a diplomatic campaign to recognize Jewish refugees, who were expelled from Arab countries after the establishment of the State of Israel, with the aim of putting the issue onto the international community's agenda. 

Among the keynote speakers at the mission's event will be Sarah Idan, who was elected Miss Iraq in 2017. After being photographed with Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman, Idan was forced to flee Iraq and emigrated to the United States. She has since then become an avid spokeswoman in favor of Israel, sparing no criticism of her homeland. In recent speeches, she has condemned Hamas's terrorist activities and systematic human rights violations in Iraq. In light of her statements, her Iraqi citizenship was revoked.

Joining Idan in speaking at the event will be Elan Carr, the Trump administration's Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating antisemitism. Carr, the son of a Jewish refugee from Iraq, is expected to share his father's story during his speech in order to highlight the importance of the event, along with the story of his mother, who was forced to flee Iraq.

The event will take place the day after the UN General Assembly marks the anniversary of November 29, 1947, the date on which the United Nations voted for UN Resolution 181, which sought to partition Mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. (This year's commemoration will be on December 3 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.) 

Each year, on the anniversary of the UN decision, the Palestinian delegation attempts to focus the world body's attention on the Palestinian refugee issue and calls for support for the right of return. In an effort to oppose this, the Israeli delegation is working to focus on the Jewish dimension of the refugee issue.

Ahead of the event, Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon said that "the story of nearly a million Jews who were brutally expelled from their homes has so far received no UN attention, and has even been deliberately downplayed to focus solely on the Palestinian narrative. The State of Israel must voice support for Jewish refugees and correct this historical injustice."

Sarah Levin, Executive Director of JIMENA said that, "As we enter the fifth year of Jewish Refugee Commemoration Day, there is a growing urgency to center and elevate the voices of Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews, whose collective experiences and perspectives provide an important lens to approach contemporary issues of antisemitism, minority rights in the Middle East and efforts to delegitimize Israel."