Middle East studies in the News
Juan Cole's False Analogy Between Syrian Refugees and Jews of the 1930s
by Gary Fouse
University of Michigan professor Juan Cole is a consistent apologist for Islamic extremism. He also runs a blog curiously called, "Informed Consent". In a recent column Cole defends the attempt to bring Syrians to the US by drawing analogies to the plight of European Jews in the 1930s and other immigrant groups. It is a false analogy.
First of all, the Jews in Europe in the 1930s were fully assimilated and successful members of those countries' societies. They were not violent extremists, they were not bombing, they were not killing, they were not trying to impose their values on anybody or overthrow their governments. They were being persecuted out of hatred. It was a shameful mistake that we did not accept them when they were trying to flee. The most egregious example was the case of the St Louis, a ship full of Jewish refugees that was turned away from Cuba and subsequently from the US. The ship returned to Europe, and most of the passengers eventually died in the Holocaust when Germany overran the countries they were residing in.
It is also true that our immigration policies have been less than admirable over our history. The Chinese Exclusion Act is an example. However, that is irrelevant.
The bottom line here is not racism. It is a valid concern that some of these "Syrian refugees" are coming to do us harm. We know that ISIS is attempting to use their fighters to infiltrate the refugees. Many are not even Syrians. The events in Paris add proof. At least one of the attackers was a so-called Syrian refugee who had arrived via Greece. He was actually saved off of a sinking boat off the coast of Greece! Some gratitude. In addition, the German authorities have just found that some 30% of those people in their country claiming to be Syrian are not, in fact, Syrian. Yet, Cole passes us off as "US Neanderthals".
Let us compare the "Syrian" case with that of the Vietnamese who came here after South Vietnam collapsed. None came here to harm us. None were terrorists. By and large, they have assimilated well and accepted American values. Cole might argue that the US had a moral obligation to bring in Iraqi refugees after our invasion and involvement in that country after we toppled Saddam Hussein. There were some Iraqis who worked with us and were under threat when we left. We have no such obligation with Syrians. Even if we did, this comes down to a question of protecting American life. We cannot afford the risk of letting people in that we cannot adequately vet. We can help refugees with food and medicine, but the Arab nations should step up and give these people shelter. Thus far, their performance has been lacking. (There are refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.) Where are the Gulf States?
What I would support is bringing in Christians, Baha'i and Yazidis, peoples who are under true threat of persecution and murder.
Cole cannot deny that a threat exists. For him to use the European Jews of the 1930s as an analogy is dishonest on its face.
I submitted a comment to his blog posting stating the false analogy of the Jews. Naturally, it was never posted. Only "informed" comments allowed, I guess.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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