By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
Whenever there are refugees anywhere…there are always Jewish activists who come forward and shout “we were refugees”…it seems the thousands of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany have been used many times over in order to advance contemporary policy. Like for every Jewish refugee…his life story has had to be used and abused at least a few times a year in the media.
It’s an all purpose fix for everything. Jews were refugees so therefore Israel must take in Eritreans. Jews were refugees so Israel must take in Syrians. Jews were refugees so the EU must take in Africans and Syrians. Jews were refugees so America must take in Somalis, Syrians and everyone else.
Everytime there is any discussion about refugees the same story is trotted out…the same weeping tear-jerking story about 1938 or 1939.
Most people know today about Jewish refugees only because it is the reason they should support refugees now, not because they know anything about the 1930s. They don’t even care about the actual Jewish refugees, just about using them for their own goals now and then throwing them away.
But it begs the question, since 99.9 percent of the world is not Jewish…do they have no responsibility towards refugees? How come Jews have a special responsibility, but those countries that abuse Jews and exiled them have no responsibility, either to Jews or to modern day refugees. The abuser has no responsibility, but the abused does.
Lots of people were refugees in history. The Irish fled the famine, but you don’t see them stepping forward and saying “we fled famine no we must help others”.
The Jewish refugees story is a cliche for people who can only think in the most basic simplistic narrative and have never had an original idea in their lives.
If the only reason you support Syrian refugees is because of some twisted weird relationship with 1938, then you are basically admitting that if Jews had not been refugees then you would oppose Syrian refugees. And that’s disgraceful. Syrians don’t deserve something just because of Jewish suffering or Jewish relationships with the past…Syrians deserve rights on their own merits, as people, not as “new Jews”. They are individuals who deserve respect as people, not as a ploy for people to abuse historical memory. Leave the Jewish refugees, who no one ever cared about anyway at the time, in history…and deal with the present on its own merits; not through propaganda from the past.