Friday, November 20, 2015

The Differences are Significant

Abdelhamid Abaaoud 
I guess my article opposing Syrian refugees entry into this country at this point in time - resonated with both supporters and opponents of that view. I was interviewed by’s Cody Derespina yesterday after he read my article in the Times of Israel. He has published my off the cuff responses in his own Fox News article. Which is sympathetic to my point of view. Which I truly appreciate.

But  Ha’aretz columnist, Chemi Shalev had a different take. Quoting from my Jewish Press article he argued against my primary reasons for severely restricting Syrian refugees entry into the United States. Here is the excerpt he published from my blog: 
“There is a big difference between Jews seeking refuge then and the Syrian Muslims seeking it now,” blogger Harry Maryles wrote in an article published in the right wing Jewish Press, in an effort to explain how a Jew whose parents survived the Holocaust could join the restrictionists. “Not a single subset of the Jewish people threatened the world with take-over under a caliphate. They were not threatening to destroy democracies like Israel or rattling their sabers shouting, ‘Death to America’. Or burning American flags. No segment of Jewry was beheading infidels. No Jew ever blew himself up in a suicide attack. There was not a single Jew that wanted anything more than refuge in a safe country.” 
To me that makes all the difference in the world.

As I said ISIS has caused so many Syrians to uproot themselves from the only home they ever knew and make a dangerous trek into foreign countries unsure of what their fate would be. Those images broadcast all over the world is one of the hardest things that I have ever witnessed. The obvious identification I have with them as a child of the Holocaust is palpable. That’s because (as many supporters of allowing Syrian refugees into this country have noted) we Jews know what it means to seek refuge and be denied it. And we know the carnage against us that ensued because of that. But as I said there are major differences militating for extra caution in our day.

But Shalev tries to undermine those reasons. Here in part was his response: 
But that’s easy to say now; it’s not what most Americans believed at the time… For many Americans, the Jews were not refugees running for their lives or simple people looking for save haven. They were Communist agents if they came from Russia, Nazi saboteurs if they hailed from Germany and Austria, criminals, lowlifes, swindlers and scavengers if they arrived from anywhere else. 
These as well as some additional comments along these lines is what negates my arguments according to Shalev. But I would argue that they might actually reinforce them. For example to say that Jews were ‘Nazi saboteurs if they hailed from Germany and Austria’ is such nonsense that only an antisemite would make them.  Can anyone imagine a Jewish Nazi in Hitler’s Germany? 

That Jews were kept out of this country during Hitler’s era for reasons similar to those made today about Syrian refugees is so ridiculous that it hardly deserves a response. But I’ll give one anyway. It is the same response I gave in the first place. 

ISIS Muslims in Syria have proven just how much they desire to sabotage every western democracy in the world, and have clearly indicated that the US is their primary target. Not only with words. But with deeds like those of last Friday in Paris, And again this morning in Mali

It has also been established thaAbdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the Paris attack immigrated to Belgium through Syria. The likihood of someone like this entering our country as a Syrian refugee is exponentially higher than it was for a German Jew to be a Nazi saboteur in Hitler’s era. If anything Chalev makes my argument for me. There is a major difference between Jews fleeing Nazi Germany seeking refuge here then – and Syrian refugees now that have been shown to have ISIS terrorists embedded with them disguised as refugees. 

In the first instance antisemitism played a major role. In the second instance anti Islamism has nothing to to do with it. How do I know that anti Semitism was the real reason for barring Jews –and not because people really thought they were Nazi Saboteurs? Aside from that being obvious, Chalev answers that question himself: 
Decades of nativist, anti-Semitic incitement that had started with the arrival of waves of Jewish immigrants at the end of the 19th century had left Americans fearful of the hordes of Jews that were coming to take over their livelihood and their lives. 
So I stand by my original opposition. Not because of any innate prejudice against Muslims or Syrians. I do not have an ounce of prejudice against them. And if it were possible to call 411 in Syria and properly vet them, I would welcome them all with open arms. But since that is currently a virtual impossibility, better to be safe them sorry. 

As I have also said, if any Syrian could be properly vetted, I would have no objection. I just don’t think it is really possible. But the humane nature of this country being what it is, security personnel may unknowingly allow ISIS terrorists into this country by giving some of them the benefit of the doubt. We will then have an increased ISIS presence. An ISIS that promises to do to America what they did to Paris last Friday.

What about the fate of these poor refugees and their families? I feel truly sad about the conditions they may be forced to live in. Refugee camps are not Disneyland. But they will live. Literally. Until Syria can be liberated – when they can return to their homeland. Which was not the option Jews had when they were refused refuge.