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UN Official: Anti-Syrian Refugee Rhetoric Reminiscent of Holocaust. By Roger Algase

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The Guardian writes on October 14 that Ze'id Raad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is warning that the anti-refugee rhetoric used by UK and other European politicians to describe Syrian refugees today is similar to that which politicians were using about Jewish refugees trying to escape Hitler before the Holocaust. The British paper reports:

"In July, the UK prime minister, David Cameron, referred to migrants in Calais as a 'swarm of people'. At this month's Conservative party conference, the home secretary, Theresa May, was widely criticised for suggesting that mass migration made it 'impossible to build a cohesive society'.

In an interview, the high commissioner said the language surrounding the issue reminded him of the 1938 Evian conference, when countries including the US, UK and Australia refused to take in substantial numbers of Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler's annexation of Austria on the grounds that they would destabilize their societies and strain their economies. Their reluctance, Zeid added, helped Hitler to conclude that extermination could be an alternative to deportation."

The Guardian's article continues by quoting Zeid as follows:

"Indeed at that time [of the 1938 Evian conference], the Australian delegate said that if Australia accepted large numbers of European Jews they'd be importing Europe's racial problem into Australia...If we cannot forecast the future, at least we should use the past as a guide that should wisen us, alert us to the dangers of using that rhetoric."

Ze'id also said:

"One wonders what has happened to Europe. Why is there so much amnesia? Why don't they properly distill from their experience that they've been down this road before and that it's a very unhappy road if you continue to follow it?"


Ze'id also criticized a Sun newspaper columnist, Katie Hopkins, for describing migrants as "cockroaches", a world which, as he pointed out, was used by the Nazis against Jews and also by the perpetrators of the Rwanda genocide in 1994.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/oct/14/refugee-rhetoric-echoes-1938-summit-before-holocaust-un-official-warns

While"swarms of people" is offensive enough (not to mention "cockroaches"), it may seem mild compared to some of the anti-immigrant rhetoric which some US politicians are using against Syrian refugees now, such as "terrorists" "welfare takers" and potential "job stealers". It is also worth remembering that not only Europe, but America as well, closed its doors to all but a few Jews fleeing Hitler's extermination in Europe.

How many of them died in Nazi concentration camps as a result? The full number may never be known. Does America really want to replay a similar history by barring all but a tiny number of refugees fleeing the horrors of Assad's torture prisons, barrel bombs and chemical weapons, Russian aggression and ISIS brutality from our shores?
________________________
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. He regards immigration as not only a legal, social and economic issue, but one also involving human beings and human rights.

Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com


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Updated 10-15-2015 at 12:17 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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Comments

  1. Unregistered222's Avatar
    Who cares what some kind of a second-hand useless bureaucrat says. Our moral leader Israel has already made a decision. No Syrian "refugees" means no ! End of the story. I have just called my representatives and senators and encouraged them to oppose any Syrian "refugees". Later in the week I will make a personal visit to make my point more clear

    By the way, how's Siskinds lawsuit and TRO are doing?
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I hope that you will enjoy your Congressional visit. Obviously, you are not old enough to have been visiting Senators or Representatives in 1938 to lobby against admission of Jewish refugees, but there were no doubt plenty of people at that time who were doing so, for the same motives that are sending you to Washington now.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
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