Stop Equating Every Immigration Situation with the Holocaust!

During the past two years when liberal groups disagreed with President Trump on a particular immigration situation, they tried justifying their position by comparing the plight of the refugee or immigrant to that of victims of the Holocaust. Just recently, Representative-elect from the Bronx Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez equated the plight of the Caravan people to that of the Jews in the 1940s trying to escape the Holocaust and attempting to sail to America. It was similarly brought up two years ago when tens of thousands of Muslims leaving Syria toward the United States were met by a President who wanted to place a ceiling on how many could enter and who rightfully demanded they be vetted comprehensively, as opposed to what had previously been rather perfunctory and easy questioning. 

And, of course, a few months ago, when children were placed in clean and pleasant housing away from their parents during their parents’ appearances before immigration judges, we heard the refrain about Concentration Camp guards separating parents from children. However, none of the Jewish children forcibly seized from their mothers and fathers at Auschwitz saw their parents again. They were murdered in the gas chambers. Well, at least that’s what I heard in the early 1950s back in Cleveland from the mouths of mothers who survived the War.

In contrast, the immigrant children from Mexico last year were quickly reunited with their parents, and during their away-time found nurses and doctors, playmates and games, a gym, wholesome food and clean bedding, and probably more personal medical care than they had ever received before. Comparisons to the Holocaust are fundamentally wrong and a dishonor to the six million Jews who were rounded up from their homes and put on trains to be tortured or murdered.

Not remotely comparable

Emaciated bodies piled in a shed at Ohrdruf concentration camp (National Archives)

Even for those on the Left who have made it their mission to destroy President Trump, it seems vile to do it on the backs of the Six Million. The question needs to be asked: Who has brainwashed and poisoned the minds of so many against their fellow Americans, the President, Republicans, as well as employees of ICE? How is it that so many Americans on the Left believe their own countrymen would act like guards at Concentration Camps? How can so many (including Jews on the radical Left) knowingly lie and demean the Holocaust-martyred just to score political points against President Trump? Well, political leftism, like communism, often takes hold of its adherents in a fervor that invariably ignores reality, propriety, and even decency.

As before, some on the political left will once again in the future compare the immigrants from Syria to the Jews who faced the Holocaust. But, Jews were targeted as Jews for concentration camps and actual physical extinction. The Syrians are not being targeted because they are Muslims, nor is there a Final Solution planned for them as was the case for European Jewry. In Syria, Muslims are fighting Muslims as part of a civil war. Civil wars unfortunately happen; whereas the planned destruction of an entire people, as was the plan by Germany against the Jews world-wide, was a once-in-history phenomenon.

A U.S. President must always consider national security threats when pondering immigration. Back in the 1940s, there were no Nazi agents embedded within the Jews fleeing the Holocaust, nor did any of the Jews harbor a cultural or religious ideology wishing and planning physical destruction or terrorism on the American people. There were no rabbis in the 1930s sending forth fatwas to their followers to destroy the infidel and usurp our Constitution by implanting shariah law. One has to only look at the frightening consequences of uncontrolled Syrian immigration into Europe during the last two years to see the undeniable consequences of an immigrant mass from the Crescent containing a high level of shariah advocates and a threatening level of jihadists. Not all, of course; but an unusually high percentage warranting our need to think of our own safety and self-defense.

Indeed, the completely innocent Jews of Europe had nowhere to go -- there was not yet a State of Israel -- whereas there are 57 Islamic states, many exceedingly wealthy, who could and should be offering safe haven to their Islamic brothers. Members of the Caravan were offered residency in Mexico and, in fact, are not being driven out of Honduras. They have somewhere where to go.

If there is genocide parallel today, it involves the Christians of the Middle East and North Africa who have been targets of Muslim genocide against them. Hundreds of thousands have been killed, raped and tortured during the last two decades, yet those championing immigration have been silent regarding the need for havens for Christians being massacred by Islamic warlords. Certainly, no reference to the Holocaust has been made in their behalf. 

In fact, former President Obama moralized about “not using a religious litmus test” to cynically over-weight Muslim immigration while severely undercutting and ignoring Christian refugees begging to be rescued from the Islamic jihad against them. Perhaps Mr. Obama’s empathy lies more with Islam than Christianity; perhaps the future of the Democrats lies more in bringing in the type of immigrant that will more likely vote Democrat and play a more eager role in reshaping our culture away from its original paradigm and values.

When growing up, I saw men and women, survivors of the Holocaust, who had numbers branded into their arms. No one in today’s Caravan is remotely in such a situation. They are not being hunted down nor targeted for death and extinction. Many are part of a worldwide leftist effort, an invasion as it were, to challenge the whole concept of national sovereignty, of borders under the control of individual governments, and are trying to undercut and humiliate President Trump. Many are Antifa-like thugs waiting to beat up people. Do we need that?

 The first duty of an American President is to ensure the safety of America’s citizens and enact measures for self-defense. Given that among the Caravan are unacceptable percentages of known criminals, gang members, agents of drug lords, some jihadists, and carriers of diseases and other threats to our families, the President is acting morally and courageously doing his duty. We have long needed a leader who put America’s families first over personal feel-goodism, virtue-signaling, and globalism. Scripture does not advocate national suicide and speaks of the blessings of protected borders.

Rabbi Aryeh Spero is president of Caucus for America, spokesman for the National Conference of Jewish Affairs, and author of Push Back: Reclaiming our American Judeo-Christian Spirit.