Should The U.S. Take In Syrian Refugees?

Can Jewish wisdom help us better understand how to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis?

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Allison Josephs About Allison Josephs

Allison is the Founder and Director of Jew in the City. Please find her full bio here.

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  1. It seems to me there are two questions raised by Lisa Greenspan (above.) Leaving aside the questions of authorship, one is the basic matter of whether those making decisions or judgments in life should consult or would profit from consulting their forbears. It seems to me that for most adults, the answer is yes. Can one consult a grandmother re childrearing techniques, the Joy of Cooking re how to roast a turkey, etc. etc. While following one’s own conscience is a good thing, there is something to be said for “forming one’s conscience” by consulting prior opinion/wisdom. This is a thoughtful and considered practice far from “blind faith.” The world is filled with people who thought only of their own perspective in moral decisions and it didn’t work out that well.
    The second issue raised for me by the post in question relates to the very personal, ad hominem tone of the comment. The question could have been asked more courteously. While I suppose the site’s orientation to outreach gives the perspective that any conversation shows that at least the person is responding in some way to outreach, it does not seem necessary to me for you to publish personal attacks on Allison. I am sure you would be careful not to allow needlessly personal attacks on others to be posted on the site– I don’t think you need to absorb them yourself. Just saying…. Thank you for your site.

  2. Tanya, London says:

    A refugee is a refugee. And that is that. There really is no conversation to be had, unless you wish to have dialogue with the likes of Donald Trump, or Adolf Hitler.

  3. Tanya, London says:

    ‘We’ as in European and North American countries, have absolutely no right to complain that millions of people are trying to move out of the way of things we have willingly caused and supported. When ‘we’ allowed Saddam Hussein to be hanged live on YouTube, and when ‘we’ have representatives who watched the lynching of Gaddafi, and actually laughed at it while saying ‘we came, we saw, he died’ then ‘we’ have no moral high ground to stand on.

    What the United States chooses to do with its borders is none of my business as a European, but when Europe and the Middle East is bearing the brunt, then yes – you should be taking your share of refugees. Germany continues to take many, having been nowhere near the Middle East – which isn’t something you can say for the UK, the USA, or France – all three of which bear absolute responsibility.

    Syria was home to several million refugees from Iraq, a situation directly caused by the UK and the USA – and now they have Nowhere Else To Go. Had we left the place alone a decade ago, the population of Syria now would be several million less to begin with. When Turkey, and Lebanon, and Jordan are taking multiple millions of refugees, there absolutely no reason that the USA and those European countries who are happily up to their necks in middle eastern affairs (chiefly the UK and France) have any right to draw back from reaping what they sowed.

    • Tanya, London says:

      When I say reaping what they sowed, I mean strictly in terms of this sad tide of humanity trying to cling on to life. Not in terms of any terrorist attacks – those are as unacceptable from Syrian refugees as they were from the American funded IRA who spent decades shooting and bombing the British civilians – including as I recall, a children’s play park, and a remembrance ceremony for the dead of WWII – done with American money and support – which you were literally begged to cease – and didn’t. There is very little difference between what happened in Paris and in California, than what was done in the Cave of the Patriarchs. No religion has any monopoly on goodness – as soon as something who wants to commits a crime and thinks they are backed up by a deity, there is absolutely no reasoning with that individual.

      • Tanya, London says:

        Or rather, there is no difference between Americans funding IRA atrocities despite being begged not to, recent Islamic extremists in Paris and California, or Jewish extremists in the cave of the patriarchs or letter bombing American offices (I do believe that organisation is now banned as an outright terrorist organisation).

        Had anyone said that their many attempts and successes (and their supporters on the West Bank who we see just yesterday stabbing photographs of murdered babies at a wedding party!) were proof that Jews as a group harboured terrorists and should therefore not be allowed into western countries/were responsible as a whole, I’d stand by you in calling it out as the anti semitism it would undoubtedly be.

        I do not think any religion can tell us anything about how to behave compassionately as individuals. Every time it is invoked, it poisons whatever it touches. And every single branch of what has been called the desert trilogy (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) is as blood soaked as the other, and all have been invoked too many times by too many insane people and groups.

        If some kind of movement other than those three religions was responsible for what those religions and zealous followers of them have done, and pinned on their chosen belief system, repeatedly, from the get go – it would be banned outright as a generator of dangerous hatred.

  4. Tanya, London says:

    I wanted to say to you Allison, I’m not having a go at you as a religious person. I respect anyone who has a belief system that they are true to, and use to make life better. But I do stand by what I said – organized religion has been the best excuse for continual examples of utterly psychotic behaviour. Other ideologies wax and wane, but organized religion (and especially the desert trilogy) has remained, and has inflicted unbearable pain on those not following this or that interpretation.

    They’ve all three been persecuted, but equally – and never forget – all three have persecuted, and wiped out, and burned their way across every society they’ve taken hold in, and celebrate doing so. And I do not recognize any difference between Islamic extremism, Jewish extremism, or Christian extremism There is no whataboutery. What critiques can be leveled at one, can be leveled at them all.

    A comment above makes an excellent point that nobody of Jewish heritage can possibly defend border closures, and particularly not with all due respect, in a country that has firearm access and gun death rates that the United States has. For the rest of the world, that is a truly shocking state of affairs. And on the day of the shooting in California, more Americans were killed by guns in other states than in that location. It’s barely a few months since young television presenters were shot dead live on air, within striking distance of your own capital city. That is horrifying.

    And the ‘bad apple’ metaphor used by another of your commenters works just as well outside Islam as inside it. If Americans had been banned from travel for funding the IRA (and a whole lot more than that), you’d have been outraged. When Jews were met with closed borders in 1939, that is an example of what fate awaits anyone who isn’t assisted in just letting their children have a chance of life…

    And the kinder transport from continental Europe to the UK – can you imagine for a second, how you’d look historically, on that process, if the UK had said no, we won’t even take the children, because we are tasked with the Palestinian mandate, and these kids may well use this country as a springboard to join terrorist groups in the Middle East/blow our troops up/murder civilians/set up their own state (and some did). That would be the most cynical reason to have instead allowed those children and teenagers to die in situ.

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