Landmark case

An egyptian jewish man whose family fled Egypt in 1962 to Canada after the egyptian government confiscated their property is suing Coca Cola for buying said property now, and the courts just gave him the green light to do so!

Bigio, a 63-year-old grandfather, said his family's land and
factories were confiscated by the Egyptian government in 1962 and the
lawsuit, one of the first of its kind, could set a precedent, leading
to other court battles brought by Jews seeking to recover assets seized
in the Arab world.

The Socialist revolutionary government of Egypt in the 60's has confiscated many properties of both egyptians and foreigners, especially the jews who ended up getting kicked out or fleeing Egypt thanks to the policies of the egyptian government. A lot of the property confisctaed from Egyptians was given back thanks to policy change sin the days of Sadat and Mubarak, but the same can not be said of the property seized from foreigners and given to army officers and their croneys. One wonders if Bigio wins this lawsuit if it will open the door to more lawsuits by ex-members of the egyptian expat communty who got their money and property stolen back in the day. Should be interesting either way!

16 Comments on Landmark case

  1. Andrew Brehm
    March 21, 2007 at 9:43 am

    What is the official Arab League view regarding the compensation of refugees?

    Reply
  2. Anonymous
    March 21, 2007 at 11:52 am

    And what are the repercussions vis-a-vis the Cuban community (and now the Venezuelan community as well) living in Miami?

    Reply
  3. leo
    March 21, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Andrew Brehm @ 1

    Which refugee group do you mean?
    I believe, AL’s view on this subject is relative to that.

    If this man wins it will probably be the very case of this kind, which had been won since 1917 if at all.

    Reply
  4. Nomad
    March 21, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    may-be our “black feet” people could apply for the same request in Algeria

    Reply
  5. Andrew Brehm
    March 21, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    “Which refugee group do you mean?”

    I mean refugees that did not conspire against their country of birth and did not participate in an attack on their fellow citizens.

    “I believe, AL’s view on this subject is relative to that.”

    I assume the Arab League has a different standard of differentiation, yes. :-)

    Reply
  6. Ron Larson
    March 21, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Perhaps the Palestinians will get a clue. Instead of suicide bombers, send in lawyers to sue for confiscated land! Since the sponsors of the Palestinian “liberators” don’t mind spending money on weapons, I’m sure they would not mind spending money on lawyers instead.

    Reply
  7. Andrew Brehm
    March 21, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    “Perhaps the Palestinians will get a clue. Instead of suicide bombers, send in lawyers to sue for confiscated land!”

    That would mean looking at what actually happened. The world would learn about the betrayal and how the Arab citizens of the new country conspired with the invading Arab armies to kill the Jewish citizens.

    The last thing they want would be a close look at what happened. The current “fact” (The Arabs attacked Israel because Israel expelled Arabs) is much more convenient.

    “Since the sponsors of the Palestinian “liberators” don’t mind spending money on weapons, I’m sure they would not mind spending money on lawyers instead.”

    Perhaps they have their limits? :-)

    Reply
  8. Liborale
    March 21, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    Many Armenians had their businesses and property forcibly “nationalized” in Egypt at that time.

    Reply
  9. dick
    March 21, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    And I probably owe some red indians a whole bunch of money.

    Reparations for confiscated property sound great in principle, and certainly feel like justice, but – after a span of years – become pretty impractical.

    Reply
  10. BrooklynJon
    March 21, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Ron Larson,

    Personally, I think the Palestinians who had property in Israel proper, and who had the property taken from them against their will, should be compensated for it. I think the so-called “right” of return is a nonstarter, but fair is fair. It doesn’t really matter why the Palestinians in question left, or what their motives were. Property rights do not depend on purity of spirit.

    Similarly, those forced out of Arab countries should be fairly compensated as well. A question to be answered, for both sides, is how to value the property, and whether to take into consideration unusual changes in the value since the time the property was seized. E.g. An olive grove that has been developed into a shopping mall, or one where oil was subsequently discovered. I don’t know how to answer that. But fair is fair. Both sides deserve compensation.

    Reply
  11. Charles
    March 22, 2007 at 2:26 am

    I guess it’s now okay to drink Coca Cola in Egypt. If only Mecca Cola can get sued by two Jews.

    Reply
  12. Andrew Brehm
    March 22, 2007 at 9:24 am

    “Similarly, those forced out of Arab countries should be fairly compensated as well. A question to be answered, for both sides, is how to value the property, and whether to take into consideration unusual changes in the value since the time the property was seized.”

    We are talking about the same number of refugees here from both sides. Let’s assume that they were about similarly rich.

    Let the Arab League decide how much Israel owes to the Arab refugees. Israel must then pay that amount to a democratic state of Palestine (or, should they refuse to found one, to the Arab League as caretakers).

    The Arab League will then have to pay the same amount of money to Israel for the Jewish refugees.

    I am assuming here that although the Jews were richer than the Arabs, we can forget about such differences; and I am assuming that both sides can agree that Arab and Jewish refugees have the same value as people.

    Reply
  13. BrooklynJon
    March 22, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Andrew,

    Fair enough. The key is that compensation has to be in lieu of restoration of the property rights. In other words, we took your house. Here’s some fair compensation. Go away. On both sides. I think that until these past property seizures are compensated, the dispossessed have – in principle at least – a justifiable claim for restoration of their property rights.

    bj

    P.S. Nomad, I was thinking of you when I threw in the phrase “in lieu of”. C’est bon, no?

    Reply
  14. Nomad
    March 22, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    c’est juste : “au lieu de”
    but I find oddy the “thinking of you”, we say “thinking AT you” :

    je pensais à vous

    Reply
  15. Leauki
    March 22, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    “The key is that compensation has to be in lieu of restoration of the property rights. In other words, we took your house. Here’s some fair compensation”

    How much is a house worth in a country that is being over-run by an alliance of Arab countries?

    I figure that at the point the Arab refugees lost their property, the property was worth almost nothing.

    What was the property of the Jews worth when the Arabs countries confiscated it? Must have been much more.

    I suggest ignoring the property values and just to compensate the respective countries for the approximate number of refugees involved.

    Reply
  16. lynne
    March 23, 2007 at 12:45 am

    Hi, BJ! I totally agree with you. I believe that the Palestinians who left Israel should be compensated. As you say, it’s only fair. I also believe that Jews who left Arab lands either because they were forced out or fled persecution, should be compensated. I would not wish anyone to lose their rightfully owned property or wish hardship on anyone.

    Reply

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