Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), the third highest-ranking Senate Republican, has agreed to be the point man for the Jewish community on the emerging issue of seeking justice for hundreds of thousands of Jews displaced from Arab lands following the creation of the State of Israel.
This follows meetings with a coalition of Jewish organizational leaders engaged in a campaign contending that along with Palestinian refugees, the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab lands must also be addressed by the international community.
"This is an historical injustice that must be redressed," Santorum, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, which helps set GOP policy, said in a statement.
Santorum is expected to initiate briefings for fellow lawmakers and State Department officials, issue statements on the Senate floor and organize congressional hearings.
"With the weight of his senatorial office and the considerable influence he wields … we are confident that this cause will receive the attention that it deserves," said Stanley Urman, executive director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, a coalition of major Jewish groups.
JJAC contends that more Jewish residents of Arab countries were uprooted from their homes and made refugees (upwards of 850,000) than Arab residents (the United Nations estimates 726,000) who left their homes when several Arab countries invaded the newly declared state of Israel in 1948.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) has been pushing the issue in the House.