On the immigration/refugee thing

It’s been a while since I uploaded some of my rants to myself.

Apologies for the timing of this blog that is, while not out of date, currently out of fashion.

Three more comments on the Immigration saga

1. Stop using the holocaust

Please. For God’s sake. Stop using the Holocaust. Everyone. Right-wing and left-wing. Enough of the Holocaust being used to justify whatever opinion you want it to justify. The very idea that Justification and Holocaust can be part of the same sentence gives me the chills. No, the Holocaust doesn’t permit us to ignore the suffering of others. No, the Holocaust doesn’t require us to be hippies who love the world. Let’s try not to give Hitler a posthumous rhetorical victory. Let’s try to explain ourselves without him.

2. Enough of the quotations already

All that ‘we were once refugees’ stuff, and all that biblical ‘love the stranger because you once were’ stuff. Please either give it up or be consistent. If we the Jewish People are uniquely required to care for the stranger due to our teachings and our experience, then our texts and experience also uniquely require us to look after ourselves. Being morally special doesn’t mean that you must apply that special sensitivity to everyone but yourself. Donniel Hartman’s play on the continuity of Jewish values vs the Jewish value of continuity is great in this respect.

3. What about the other refugees?

Why does everyone seem to be approaching this issue as if it were completely disconnected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Since when has Israel been a refuge for those that the UN defines as refugees? According UNRWA’s creative definition of refugee, there are over 4 million Palestinian refugees hoping to gain entry to Israel. What about them? As we correctly congratulated ourselves on our humanity for saving some Sudanese refugees from the murderous Egyptian military on our southern border, we shrugged away the Palestinian refugees we shot as they tried to cross our northern border with Syria last year.


At another time one might explore the bizarre way in which the UN defines and treats Palestinian refugees, and the limitations international law offers on absorbing refugees, but for the meantime I just wanted to protest against the high-falutin’ high-horsed generalisations. Sometimes I believe that moral theory operates at too low a resolution to be useful in high-resolution complexities.



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