Can we get some French Jews as refugees?

A Washington, D.C., rabbi says The U.S. should open its doors to imperiled European Jews.  In a post at the Washington Post today, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld writes:

As the world rightly focuses on the recent terror attacks in Paris on Charlie Hedbo and a kosher grocery store, it should be noted that the second attack is part of a larger problem: the ongoing vitriol toward the French Jewish community.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders invited French Jews to move to Israel. That’s a nice gesture, but it’s not enough. The United States should join Israel and offer to also open up its shores as a refuge to the endangered Jews of France.

He tells about his visits to France and the danger Jews are in if they wish to live openly as Jews.

When I speak with Jews in France today, I feel the return of a grave danger to Jews that has arisen too often in Europe. My father ran from the Nazis and, as a toddler, hid in the ditches of the French countryside to escape deportation and almost certain death. More recently, we remember the brutal killing of Ilan Halimi, the son of Jewish Moroccan immigrants, in January 2006…. during my recent visit to France, people mentioned Ilan Halimi’s name as a turning point for the Jews of France and as a harbinger of the tension that followed.

We must work toward saving France’s Jews before it is too late. Many French Jews are moving to Israel; more than 7,000 Jews from France have moved there this past year. Yet Israel’s existence as a refuge does not absolve the rest of the world from doing whatever is possible to save the Jews of France.

So how about it?  Can French Jews seek asylum here?  Or do refugees to the U.S. have to be destitute, low-skill, and a burden to the taxpayer?  Let’s invite refugees who are educated, skilled, self-supporting, and an all-around benefit to our country — the Jews of France and any other European country where they are in danger.

 

 

14 million refugees in the Middle East: utter disaster

The brilliant and knowledgeable David P. Goldman writes in PJ Media:

There are always lunatics lurking in the crevices of Muslim politics prepared to proclaim a new Caliphate; there isn’t always a recruiting pool in the form of nearly 14 million displaced people (11 million Syrians, or half the country’s population, and 2.8 million Iraqis, or a tenth of the country’s population)….Many of them will have nothing to go back to. When people have nothing to lose, they fight to the death and inflict horrors on others. That is what civilizational decline looks like in real time.

Goldman has been predicting this kind of disaster in the Middle East for years.  He also writes under the pen name of Spengler after Oswald Spengler, a German historian who is best known for his book, Decline of the West.  Goldman continues:

The Arab states are failed states, except for the few with enough hydrocarbons to subsidize every facet of economic life. Egypt lives on a$15 billion annual subsidy from the Gulf states, and if that persists, will remain stable if not quite prosperous. Syria is a ruin, along with large parts of Iraq. The lives of tens of millions of people were fragile before the fighting broke out (30% of Syrians lived on less than $1.60 a day), and now they are utterly ruined. The hordes of combatants displace more people, and these join the hordes, in a snowball effect. That’s what drove the 30 Years War of 1618-1648, and that’s what’s driving the war in the Levant.

There’s a lot to be said about what we should do about ISIS and the other terrorist groups militarily, and it is being said. Here at RRW I’m wondering whether the State Department thinks 14 million refugees with nothing to go back to, rootless and dispossessed and many filled with a destructive rage beyond our comprehension, are our responsibility, a great pool of potential United States citizens.  I’m wondering if the resettlement agencies see a potential windfall and meat packers see cheap labor without end.  God help us if so. Ann has written extensively about Syrian refugees and the pressures on other countries to take them. I’m sorry, but you can’t place 11 million Syrians and 3 million Iraquis in western countries.

If there were anyone in the government looking after America’s interests, we would recognize that this catastrophe is not something we can fix.  If we’re going to help, we should be looking only to Christians and other selected religious minorities.  I wish we had the will and the strength to find them a piece of land of their own over there, but that’s a fantasy.  Goldman writes:

When I wrote in 2011 that Islam was dying, this was precisely what I forecast. You can’t unscramble this egg. The international organizations, Bill Clinton, George Soros and other people of that ilk will draw up plans, propose funding, hold conferences and publish studies, to no avail. The raw despair of millions of people ripped out of the cocoon of traditional society, bereft of ties of kinship and custom, will feed the meatgrinder. Terrorist organizations that were hitherto less flamboyant (“moderate” is a misdesignation), e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood (and its Palestine branch Hamas) will compete with the Caliphate for the loyalties of enraged young people. The delusion about Muslim democracy that afflicted utopians of both parties is now inoperative. War will end when the pool of prospective fighters has been exhausted.

My favorite refugees, German homeschoolers, get asylum

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their children left their native Germany in 2008, fleeing persecution by the government because they wanted to homeschool their children.   Lynda Altman reports in the Examiner

The family applied for asylum based on religious persecution. Asylum was granted. However, the Obama administration overturned that decision and the Romeike family faced deportation.

HSLDA stepped in and fought the deportation. They lost the battle at every turn. Even when Glenn Beck stepped in with a sizable donation, the family still could not catch a break in court. Then, a petition was filed with thousands of signatures requesting that the U.S. Government answer a final request. On that, the family won.

The Romeike family. Six and counting.

The U.S. Supreme Court was supposed to hear the case on Monday, March 3, 2014. Instead of hearing the case, the court decided against it. That left the Romeike family with no more options. They were out of time and legal recourse. It looked like deportation was inevitable.

After public outcry, the Department of Homeland Security gave the Romeike family permission to remain in the United States. This happened on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

Blogger Ben Swann has these further details (as well as some details about what happened to them in Germany):

The Romeike’s received help from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). The HSLDA requested a rehearing with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The request was denied. The case caught the attention of the homeschooling community, as well as a number of Christian groups. An online petition asking President Obama to grant the family asylum was signed by more than 127,000 people. Eventually the Romeike’s and the HSLDA decided to request a hearing with the Supreme Court.

Michael Farris, founder of the HSLDA, commented, “The Attorney General and Sixth Circuit are ignoring critical evidence and are trying to send back this family who is trying to stay in our country legally. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will go the other way and see what the original immigration judge saw: that this family and other religious homeschoolers in Germany are being persecuted for what they believe is the right way to raise their children.”

Both writers give the petition and public outcry credit for the outcome.  I wonder; I’ve never heard of a petition to the federal government having any effect.  It’s great if that’s true.  I do remember that more than 20 years ago Rep. George Miller of California introduced a bill in Congress that homeschoolers interpreted as threatening to their right to educate their children.  (I should say “we homeschoolers” as I was one at the time.)  They jammed the Capitol switchboard — it was reported to be the most calls ever — and the bill was withdrawn.  Today there are many more homeschoolers.

I posted on the case here in 2010 and Ann posted here in 2013 when the Romeikes were denied asylum.  Note that they were initially granted asylum and then that was overturned at the federal level.  We can imagine how much the Obama administration would love a Christian family educating its children outside the state’s control. (Not!)  I’d love to know the inside story of the judicial and government actions in this case.

As Ann commented in her post when the Romeikes lost their asylum case: We will take Chechens, Somalis and Rohingya Muslims, but not persecuted Christians from Germany who pose no threat to America.  Go figure!

Addendum: Here a great piece by Michael Farris, Dangerous Policy Lurks behind Romeike Triumph.  I don’t have time to write about it, but if you are interested in homeschooling, parental rights, religious freedom, or oppressive government, there’s a lot here for you.

Palestinians vs. other refugees

Michael Curtis in American Thinker shows how the Palestinian “refugees” are treated completely different from all other refugees in The Right of Return to Manhattan and Other Places and how absurd it is.   I don’t have time to write anything at length, but here are a few excerpts:

On why there were Palestinian refugees:

The problem started with Arab opposition to Jewish settlement in the area of Palestine even before the establishment of the State of Israel. As a result of the violent Arab Revolt of 1936-39, mainly led and orchestrated by the Arab High Command under Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, over ten per cent of the adult Palestinian population was killed, injured, or imprisoned. This Arab wave of terror directed against British personnel, Jews, and other Arabs opposed to the Mufti and his followers resulted in the first wave of refugees, perhaps as many as 40,000 Arabs who fled the area.

But the main refugee problem was caused by the militant Arab activity in the mid 1940s and then by the 1948-49 War that was initiated by the Arabs. The “catastrophe,” as the war is named by the Palestinians, was brought on by the invasion of Israel immediately after its establishment on May 14, 1948, by troops from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and other Arab countries. As a result of the fighting, and for reasons that are still disputed, Palestinians fled their home in large numbers.

On the origin of the Palestinian refugee organization:

Oppressed Palestinians in Gaza. For more, see http://www.idfblog.com/2013/08/12/what-happened-to-the-humanitarian-crisis-in-gaza/

Before the end of the war, the United Nations General Assembly on November 19, 1948 passed Resolution 212 (III) to create the UN Relief for Palestinian Refugees (UNRPR). This body was replaced by decision of UNGA Resolution 302 (IV) on December 8, 1949, by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

About this UN concern for Palestinian refugees, two aspects are worth noting. One is the fact the UN ignored, and indeed still ignores, the reality that 700,000 Jews, probably a larger number than the actual number of Palestinian refugees, made exodus from the Arab lands in which their families had lived for centuries. The second is that this instance is the only time that the UN has set up an agency only for one group of people and that this unique agency has remained in existence for 64 years.

 Putting this in context:

The initiation of a Palestinian refugee relief agency was a remarkable and inexplicable departure from established relief activity. On December 14, 1950 the UNGA set up the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHRC), originally with a three-year mandate. Its function remains to coordinate international action to protect refugees and to resolve refugee problems worldwide. Since then it has helped more than 50 million people restart their lives. Among the various refugee populations it has assisted are the 4 million from Afghanistan, the 12 million ethnic Germans after World War II, the 5.5 million from Sudan, and the 15 million Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs after the 1947 Indian-Pakistani war.

Then contrasting the staff and budgets for the two agencies:

With a budget in 2012 of $3.59 billion the UNHRC has a staff of 7,600 in more than 125 countries. Currently, it is concerned with 33 million people. About 14.7 million are internally displaced; 10.5 million are refugees; 3.1 million are returnees; 3.5 million are stateless; 800,000 are asylum seekers; and 1.3 million considered to be in danger. To these figures must be added the millions now fleeing countries like Syria, Iraq, Mali, South Sudan, and Libya.

These figures make an extraordinary contrast with the existence and activity of UNRWA involved with much smaller numbers but with a much larger staff at its disposal. It employees 29,000 people, mostly Palestinians, and has 2 headquarters, 5 field offices, and representatives abroad, including in Washington, DC. A member of the latter group was Chris McGrath, former aide to Senator Harry Reid.

He concludes that UNRWA keeps up a welfare state for Palestinians, something which does them a great disservice.  The cause of the whole thing was an order to Arab states long ago not to take in any of the refugees so they could be used as an ongoing weapon against Israel.

Eric Hoffer on the Jews and refugees

I just came across this 1968 quote by Eric Hoffer, a formerly leading social thinker known as the Longshoreman Philosopher:

Eric Hoffer

The Jews are a peculiar people.  Things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchman.

Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese and no one says a word about refugees. But in the case of Israel , the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single one.

Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis. Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace.

Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world. We Since Hoffer wrote this millions more people have been driven out of their homelands.  And Israel is still the world’s favorite villain.  

I don’t know why Eric Hoffer has fallen off the public radar.  When I was in college 50 years ago everybody read him and his insights are still pertinent today.  He had little formal education but had a thirst for knowledge.  He was a wide reader and a profound thinker — a rare kind of self-made man in his time, a type even rarer today.  Wikipedia says of him:

He was the author of ten books and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February 1983. His first book, The True Believer, published in 1951, was widely recognized as a classic, receiving critical acclaim from both scholars and laymen, although Hoffer believed that his book The Ordeal of Change was his finest work.

I think I’ll improve myself by rereading a couple of his books.  As I recall, he’s an enjoyable read.  He wrote so that ordinary people would understand him — that is, clearly.  In fact, many of his statements turn up as short quotes here and there.  Here’s a website full of them for your entertainment and enlightenment.

UNRWA: Maybe the worst organization in the world

In case you doubt that Israel is singled out by the United Nations, read this paragraph from Jordan Schachtel at American Thinker:

Since World War II, over 50 million people worldwide have been displaced as a result of armed conflict, yet the only group of refugees anointed by the United Nations for specific attention is the one composed of Palestinians.  On their behalf, the U.N. created an exclusive agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Most of the world believes the Palestinians are uniquely oppressed above all peoples.  In actual fact, it is their eternal refugee status and their own behavior that have doomed them to such sorry lives.  The article points out:

The Jewish population forced out of Arab countries was nearly double that of the number of Arabs who left after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War of Independence.

Most of these Jews went to Israel and were never classified as refugees by the UN.  They were simply absorbed into the population.  At the same time, Arab countries refused to take in the Palestinians who were called refugees.  They didn’t want them.  And strategic thinkers like the KGB realized that a continuing population of pathetic refugees would be a terrific weapon against Israel.  And they were right.

So the UN created UNRWA.  Here’s what Schachtel says about that:

UNRWA is currently the largest agency-subdivision of the United Nations, employing a staff of 30,000, most of whom are Palestinians.  From its creation in 1949 to the present day, the number of refugees recognized by the UNRWA has grown from roughly 750,000 to 5,000,000.

The agency now considers “refugees” to include not only the first generation of Palestinians who were displaced in the 1948 Israeli-Arab War, but also their progeny, the children and grandchildren of the initially displaced population.  Given the U.N.’s liberality in designating refugees, it would not defy expectations if the next generation of Palestinians were similarly designated as such, or even if the policy continued in perpetuity.

Despite its purported mission, UNRWA has drawn attention for its ties to radical Islam, rather than its humanitarian relief efforts.  Credible information has surfaced linking UNRWA-funded sites to keeping suspected terrorists on payroll and unreported surrendering of ambulances and supplies to Hamas.

In addition to the refugee agency, the UN has created a number of committees and other entities to promote the Palestinian cause.  And the flow of money to UNRWA has funded all kinds of things of no benefit to the Palestinians, like Yasser Arafat’ Swiss bank account and the terrorist group Hamas.  All of this effort has certainly borne fruit.  Israel is hated more than ever before and more people are openly admitting that it’s not just Israel, it’s “the Jews” that they would like to get rid of.

What is this Jewish Ethiopian refugee doing in America?

The story in the Connecticut Jewish Ledger begins:

With a limited English vocabulary, Fitsum Anafu Tsema Molla has few ways of describing events of the first 38 years of his life. Oftentimes, “not good” serves as the perfect catchall.

Today, Fitsum sits in the quiet lobby of a West Hartford synagogue – where he is now a “regular ” – thousands of miles from anything resembling home, and communicates his harrowing life story, one “not good” at a time.

Headlined An Ethiopian refugee living in Hartford struggles to live a Jewish life, the piece recounts a tale of woe.  The 38-year-old Fitsum was born just before a Marxist government took over Ethiopia and the Jews were targeted — 2,500 killed and 7,000 made homeless.  Fitsum’s father was shot in 1978 and remained paralyzed and in a hospital until he died in 1993.

During the 1980s thousands of Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel in a covert operation.  But Fitsum stayed with his father, as conditions for Jews got worse and worse.  In 1997 he snuck into Kenya, where Jews are not liked.  He was brutally attacked a number of times and carries scars all over his body from knife wounds.

Finally, Fitsum’s cries were heard and an alphabet soup of acronyms, representing a multi-course meal of refugee organizations, entered his life. The Refugee Consortium of Kenya learned of Fitsum’s plight and on Oct. 9, 2010, referred him to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), a Jewish organization dedicated to rescuing and resettling imperiled refugees. At some point – when exactly is unclear – the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) officially designated Fitsum a refugee according to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and labeled him an assault victim in need of medical service….

With the UN’s blessing in hand, HIAS passed the case on to the U.S. Refugees Admission Program, which interviewed Fitsum in October 2010. Several months later, he was interviewed again, this time by U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, and approved as an immigrant. The State Department placed him with the Hartford branch of Catholic Charities, ­­an organization that provides resettlement services for refugees from around the world.

There’s more to the story, but at this point my head began to spin.  Fitsum was referred to HIAS and he ended up in the U.S.?  He could have gone to Israel at any time in his life and be given entry as a Jew.  Not only that, but his father was Israeli!  Father was described as an engineer so he wasn’t an uneducated guy.  He must have known his son stayed with him although he could have gone to Israel during the airlift.  So why didn’t he say, “Son, when I’m gone, get yourself to Israel”?  But since apparently the father didn’t think ahead for his son, why didn’t HIAS get him resettled in Israel?

Instead, Fitsum ended up with Catholic Charities in Hartford, Connecticut, which settled him in an apartment with a Muslim roommate who “objects to his Judaism.”  He avoids being at home and sometimes rides a bus all night to avoid the situation.  He couldn’t hold the jobs he got and believes he has medical problems that hamper his functioning.  With all those beatings, he could be brain damaged, and from the description of him in the article it seems quite possible.  If he were in Israel, he would be getting top-notch medical care, but here he is just one more pathetic refugee.

Fortunately, all is not hopeless.

Fitsum and Rabbi Pincus [from the Jewish Ledger, Connecticut edition, 9/11/13]

Fitsum finds respite from strife at Congregation Beth Israel, in West Hartford. When he asked Catholic Charities about access to a synagogue, they contacted Rabbi Michael Pincus, who spread open arms to a new congregant. …  Beth Israel has been an almost-literal savior for Fitsum. He attends minyan there Monday through Thursday and visits for weekly Friday night services as well. As he tells it, Beth Israel is the only good thing he has going.

…. word of Fitsum’s plight has spread, and the Jewish community is rallying to action. Soon after meeting Fitsum, Pincus spoke to Bob Fishman, executive director of the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT). Fishman spoke with Gough at Catholic Charities, whom he says was very receptive to his concerns about Fitsum’s circumstances and happy to work with JFACT on solving Fitsum’s issues.

According to Fishman, Catholic Charities, which cannot comment publicly on the specifics of Fitsum’s case, will organize mediation between Fitsum and his roommates. They will also explore options for moving him from his current home and finding him a more suitable job, Fishman says.

Mediation?  Are they nuts?  What are they going to do, tell the roommate (or roommates; it’s unclear) that Jews aren’t really apes and pigs and they should be nice to Fitsum?

Then, in light of what I’ve said before, this takes the cake:

As Pincus, JFACT and Catholic Charities scurry to make his life more pleasant – or at least more bearable – Fitsum remains motivated by the most ingrained allegiance his father passed down: love for Israel.

“My father’s country is my country,” he says. “If I sacrifice, I sacrifice for Israel. I’m working for Israel.”

Three days before Anafu’s death, he passed on to his son an Israeli flag, and Fitsum has clung to it throughout the ensuing 20 years. Fitsum says Anafu spoke every day about Israel and dreamed every night about Jerusalem. He says, if possible, he would happily relocate one more time. The holy land would be a presumptive ultimate destination in his constant search for a place where his Judaism is accepted and celebrated. Fishman says he and Pincus are already working to make aliyah possible.

Somehow Fitsum kept an Israeli flag, and now talks of going there, but never thought of trying to get to Israel before, either from Ethiopia or from Kenya.  Maybe he was too ignorant to know he could have gone there and been accepted, but why didn’t any of the agencies and bureaucrats whose hands he passed through think of that?  Perhaps it’s ingrained dislike of Israel.  Perhaps … I was trying to think of another reason, but I can’t.  Nobody in the refugee business could be unaware that any Jew can settle in Israel.  Let’s hope his Jewish helpers can get him to Israel, where he can have some kind of a life.