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A Jewish "Underground Railroad" For Muslim Refugees In Europe. By Roger Algase

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Israel's hard line right wing government clearly does not speak for all of the world's Jews in its refusal to accept Syrian refugees, despite the tendency of many members of the general public to assume that Jews everywhere share all of Israel's specific political and national policy objectives.

Jewish religious leaders and organizations in Europe are taking the lead in welcoming and assisting Muslim refugees in their countries, in memory of their own persecution during the Holocaust and in their belief that kindness to people in desperate need is the very essence of Judaism itself.

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Executive Editor of Global Spirituality and Religion for the Huffington Post, provides details in his October 2 (edited October 6) article: Hearing Echoes Of The Past, Jews Are On The Front Line Of The European Refugee Crisis.

Raushenbush gives some moving examples of assistance which Jewish groups in Europe are providing to the mainly Muslim Syrian refugees.

First, Milan:

"In Milan, the Jewish commitment is made plain in the ongoing work of the Milan Holocaust Memorial where thousands of migrants and refugees have found a safe, free, place to spend the night. The memorial, which opened just two years ago, is located under Milan's central railway station and was where Jews were warehoused and ultimately sent to concentration camps...

Since that day, [earlier this summer] over 3,500 migrants and refugees have spent the night in the memorial where 40 makeshift beds have been placed and where food is brought over by other Jewish and Christian groups. The memorial serves as a much needed sanctuary for those who have just arrived from the south and who are moving on to their ultimate destination, wherever that may be."

It would not be inappropriate to refer to the the Holocaust Memorial underneath Milan's central train station as a Jewish "Underground Railroad" for Muslim refugees in Europe.

To be continued.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 30 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas, green cards and US citizenship.

His practice is focused primarily on H-1B and O-1 work visas, J-1 training visas, and green cards through Labor Certification, extraordinary ability and opposite sex or same sex marriage.

Roger's email address is

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Updated 10-08-2015 at 12:15 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    Roger says, "Israel's hard line right wing government clearly does not speak for all of the world's Jews in its refusal to accept Syrian refugees, ...."

    Roger, the implication of your comment is that Israel doesn't have a legitimate reason for deciding not to accept Syrian refugees. In any case, you haven't said what their reason was. You have just label the Israeli government as "hard line right wingers." That may satisfy some people, but I would like to know more. Put aside name calling and share your reasons for thinking that Israel's decision was wrong.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    With regard to Nolan's comment, I am not going to get into internal Israeli politics or to comment on whether I think their government's decision not to let in any Syrian refugees is right or wrong.

    The only reason that I mentioned Israel is to make the point that Israel does not represent or speak for all Jews around the world on refugee issues, or on any other matters.

    The topic now under discussion is whether Syrian migrants or refugees should be let into Europe and America, not into other Middle Eastern countries, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and some other countries in that area that are refusing to accept them.

    This is not to say that nothing could be written about that issue. There is a great deal that could be said about it, but not by me.

    Nolan seems to have a problem with my referring to Israel's government as a hard right wing one. Is the current party in power a left wing one? If Nolan can show that it is, I stand corrected on that question. Either way, arguing over Israel's policies re: Syrian refugees is off the topic and beside the point. I will not be drawn into such an argument.

    If Nolan wishes to write an article on that subject, I would certainly look forward to reading it with a great deal of interest and respect for his always high level of scholarship.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-09-2015 at 04:13 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. Harry DeMell's Avatar
    How can anyone take you seriously after this?
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I am honored and gratified to be able to attract a response from a distinguished legal scholar such as Mr. DeMell.

    Some people may not like the idea of Jewish leaders who seek to carry out the profound humanitarian teachings of their religion by assisting Muslim (and Christian) refugees from one of most horrible conflicts since WW2, but I will continue to let this magnificent and important Huffington Post article speak for itself, regardless of any name-calling that anyone might choose to engage in over it.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-08-2015 at 08:43 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  5. Unregistered222's Avatar
    Me says - these "refugees" no good for Israel means they are not good for the US. End of the story. Meanwhile, USCIS , FBI and whoever screens these "refugees" are totally unprepared to the tsunami of terrorist infiltrations and fraud that is coming with them.
  6. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I promised not to comment on Israel's refusal to admit Syrian refugees, but I will make two exceptions to this:

    First, Israel is still at war with Syria. There has never been a peace treaty. Israel has plenty of problems of its own without letting in people who may not believe in Israel's right to exist. Israel is in a unique situation and is not a template for the rest of the world.

    Second, having said the above, Israel itself owes its existence to its role as a refuge for persecuted people, namely the Holocaust victims. The reason that there is a State of Israel at all is because of its status as a refuge, not because the rest of the world suddenly decided to adopt a particular interpretation of the Bible holding that the Land of Israel belongs exclusively to the Jewish people. There could be an argument that Israel needs to pay more attention to its own origins as an independent country. Are the Syrian refugees not the "Jews" of today?

    I am not qualified to judge which of these two conflicting views should prevail, or if there might possibly be a middle ground between them which could lead to a more compassionate and humanitarian solution on Israel's part, and I will not make any further comment on this issue.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-09-2015 at 10:02 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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