Writing in Politico on Sunday, Josh Zeitz claims that yes, “opposition to welcoming Syrian refugees is morally or situationally equivalent to American indifference in the 1930s toward Jewish victims of the Nazi state.”
“Contrary to what conservatives are saying these days, language commonly invoked in opposition to admitting Syrian refugees bears striking similarity to arguments against providing safe harbor to Jewish refugees in the late 1930s. Then as now, skepticism of religious and ethnic minorities and concerns that refugees might pose a threat to national security deeply influenced the debate over American immigration policy. For conservatives, this likeness is an inconvenient truth.”
Actually the two are very different, during WWII the U. S refused to admit Jewish refugees into the country because FDR was an anti-Semite, today conservatives (and the majority of Americans) are concerned about bringing in Syrian refugees because there is no way to guarantee that one or more of them isn’t an ISIS terrorist.
FDR refused to accept Jews fleeing Hitler into the U.S. and his reason was the country already had too many Jews. In his book, “FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith.” historian Rafael Medoff says Franklin Delano Roosevelt failed to take relatively simple measures that would have saved significant numbers of Jews during the Holocaust, because his vision for America only encompassed having a small number of Jews.
“In his private, unguarded moments, FDR repeatedly made unfriendly remarks about Jews, especially his belief that Jews were overrepresented in many professions and exercised too much influence and control on society. This prejudice helped shape his overall vision of what America should look like — and it was a vision with room for only a small number of Jews who, he said, should be ‘spread out thin.’ This helps explain why his administration went out of its way discourage and disqualify would-be immigrants, instead of just quietly allowing the immigration quotas to be filled to their legal limit.”
FDR wasn’t alone, polls taken at the time reported that Americans didn’t want more Jews in the country either. This was supported by Jew-hating American “heroes” such as Charles Lindbergh, and Henry Ford.
In 1938 there was a conference where 39 nations got together to figure out how to help the Jews (The Evian Conference July 6–15, 1938) but not one country including the U.S. who’s president, FDR called the conference wanted to allow Jews in their country, even though Hitler offered to transport them:
“I can only hope and expect that the other world, which has such deep sympathy for these criminals [Jews], will at least be generous enough to convert this sympathy into practical aid. We, on our part, are ready to put all these criminals at the disposal of these countries, for all I care, even on luxury ships”
Churchill was even worse than FDR, not only did he think Great Britain had enough Jews and refused to allow them into England, but he also refused to allow them to escape into what was then called Palestine. From early 1939 the British barred Jews from entering Palestine or buying land there. So the Jews had no where to go.
By the way, Saudi Arabia has an empty city of air conditioned tents that can house over 100,000 refugees but they are refusing to allow any of the Syrian into their country. The tents are used during Haj for people visiting Mecca. What do the Saudis know that we don’t?
The bigotry of FDR and Churchill may have cost hundreds of thousands of Jews their lives (but it wouldn’t have prevented the Holocaust totally).
Even though I am Jewish and particularly aware of the horrors of the Shoah (Holocaust), and very knowledgeable about how the allies abandoned the Jews, I can still say with a clear conscience that we should keep Syrian refugees out of the country.
Actually despite Politico’s claims, it’s a totally different case. When Jews were trying to escape the Nazis, Hitler did not embed SS soldiers in with the refugees–it was not even a concern. On the other hand, there is a big fear that ISIS is embedding terrorists in with the Syrian refugees:
- At least three people labeled as refugees contributed to the attacks in Paris.
- At a House Homeland Security committee hearing in February the Assistant FBI Director said the US does not have a way to properly vet incoming Syrian refugees “We don’t have it under control, Absolutely, we’re doing the best we can. If I were to say that we had it under control, then I would say I know of every single individual traveling. I don’t. And I don’t know every person there and I don’t know everyone coming back. So it’s not even close to being under control.”
- A senate hearing during the first week of October saw Matthew Emrich, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) associate director for the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate confirm that the U.S. has no method of vetting the new refugees because the Syrian government doesn’t have an intelligence database to run checks against.
- This past week, FBI director James Comey told the House Committee on Homeland Security hearing the federal government does not have the ability to conduct thorough background checks on all of the 10,000 Syrian refugees that the Obama administration says will be allowed to come to the U.S. “We can only query against that which we have collected. And so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them.”
The vast majority of Syrian refugees are probably good people legitimately looking to flee the horror happening in their home country. But at the same time we know that ISIS is trying to embed terrorists within the Syrian refuges to do harm to Americans. The heads of the FBI, CIA and others have said there is no way to determine who is a legitimate refugee, and who is a terrorist. It only takes one or two terrorists getting through to kill dozens of Americans.
Here’s the bottom line. Jews were denied entry into the U.S. because of bigotry. The Nazis did not embed terrorists within their ranks, nor was it remotely suspected. FDR and his administration simply did not want more Jews into the country. On the other hand, ISIS does embed terrorists in with the Syrian refugees. That is why Josh Zeitz’s claim in Politico is so very wrong.
The number one responsibility of any President of the United States is to protect its citizens. Until he can reasonably guarantee that no ISIS member (or any other terrorist) can come into the U.S. with the Muslim or Christian Syrian refugees (and key members of his administration say its not possible), it is incumbent on America’s leaders to protect our families by keeping them all out.