Monday, December 21, 2015

Syrian refugees are not like Jewish refugees

Comparisons between today's Syrian refugees and yesteryear's Jewish refugees are commonly being made nowadays: the West should take in refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war, President Obama and liberal politicians are urging.  But New York City Mayor Bill di Blasio's pleas to a congregation in Brooklyn composed of  Syrian Jews had them shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

Refugees disembarking in Greece after a hazardous escape.

The New York Post reports:

"Some worshippers disputed the mayor’s historical interpretation.
“I don’t think it’s a fair comparison . . . The Jews never had a history of being destructive,” said Brooklyn resident Judy Zarug.
“I was sitting next to a woman who is a Syrian refugee and she really reacted and it was uncomfortable.”
Another congregant, whose family fled Syria, also disagreed, explaining:
“The difference between me coming here in 1991 with my family is that we were kicked out for being Jewish.”

Rav Zev Shandalov in the Jewish Press: 

"Jews were refugees because they committed the offense of being Jewish. They fled because they needed to save their lives. Not one of the Jewish refugees who left Poland, Hungary, Germany or any other country, had committed any atrocities before fleeing. None of them had sworn to destroy the United States, Great Britain or Canada. None of them were KNOWN terrorists. They fled to save their lives and only to save their lives. There was no hidden agenda; nor were they trying to infiltrate (what to them was) an enemy country."

Joseph Puder in Front Page Magazine argues  that Jews escaping the Nazis and Arab lands had no choice: they were targeted for being Jews. More controversially, he argues that Syrian citizens do have a choice. Clearly,  they are leaving a war zone where their lives are at risk. But it is the neighbouring Arab countries, especially the rich Gulf states, who are choosing not to give them refuge, leaving the West to carry the burden.

"President Obama is wrong to compare Syrian refugees who have choices, and Jewish refugees who had none. Syrian citizens are choosing to leave their homes. True, Assad’s barrel-bombs have killed indiscriminately, and Islamic State (IS) brutality has impacted on many. Yet should the U.S. and its allies impose “no fly zone” safe havens in civilian areas, Syrians (unless they are Christians, Kurds, or Yazidis) wouldn’t have to abandon their homes. Yesteryear, Jews from Arab lands had no choice. They were thrown out of their homes were they lived for millenniums, with literally the “shirts on their back.” Jewish properties were confiscated by the Arab authorities or taken by street mobs.

Similarly, survivors of the Holocaust could not return to their homes, and all their properties and belongings were taken by the native non-Jewish population or the Nazis.

Nazi Germany aimed to eradicate all Jews from Europe and elsewhere, while no such danger has faced Syrian refugees. In fact, there are 57 Islamic nations that are able to receive their fellow co-religionists. The Jews of Palestine during WWII would have done their utmost to absorb Jewish refugees had the British Mandatory regime in Palestine not closed the gates to the Jews of Europe."

A small proportion of  refugees from Syria include Yazidis and Christians. Yet, for reasons of political correctness,  the US State Department will not recognise Christians as genocide victims, writes Nina Shea  in the National Review.

"Yazidis, according to the story by investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, are going to be officially recognized as genocide victims, and rightly so. Yet Christians, who are also among the most vulnerable religious minority groups that have been deliberately and mercilessly targeted for eradication by ISIS, are not. This is not an academic matter. A genocide designation would have significant policy implications for American efforts to restore property and lands taken from the minority groups and for offers of aid, asylum, and other protections to such victims. Worse, it would mean that, under the Genocide Convention, the United States and other governments would not be bound to act to suppress or even prevent the genocide of these Christians."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aside from the Yazidis and Syrian Christians who are not Arabs, you gotta say this about the Arabs at least - they're consistent. They refuse to resettle and absorb their Palestinian Arab brothers and now they refuse to resettle and absorb their Syrian Arab brothers.