“Remember the Holocaust? Many Jews fled Europe, only to be turned away by western nations who didn’t want to let in refugees.”
This argument was recently raised in a popular discussion board, commenting on the Holocaust’s Great Escape.
The implication is that it was wrong turning away refugees during World War II, and it’s still wrong today. Therefore, #resist Trump, #NotMyPresident, etc.
What’s the answer?
The creed, “Tell the truth, then give your opinion” is a useful guide here.
The truth is yes, Jews fleeing anti-Semitic Europe were turned away by several western nations, including the United States. It was immoral to turn them away.
The opinion, implied, is that it’s also wrong to turn away Muslim immigrants from Islamic war zones.
Is this a wise opinion? Yes and no.
It’s consistent and probably moral (even Biblically so) to say that we should permit immigrants who mean no harm into the United States. It was the Right Thing To Do back when Jews were fleeing Europe, and it’s The Right Thing To Do today.
The Torah commands us to show kindness specifically to the foreigner. And it doesn’t say, “Only if he also abides by Biblical faith.” I imagine nearly all the Bible’s foreigners and sojourners in ancient Israel were likely of pagan origin. (This would be a good area for more study.)
In any case, we ought to treat migrants with kindness; Jews and Christians are required by God to do so.
If we stop there, the political left makes perfect sense: we should permit all migrants, regardless of their background.
But this would not be telling the whole truth.
Unlike Jews fleeing anti-Semitic Europe, at least some of the migrants leaving Islamic war zones are intent on violent overthrow of secular Western governments, replacing them with Islamic theocracy.
Jews fleeing Europe had no such plans.
Jews who were able to emigrate did not carry out stabbing attacks on unbelievers. Jews fleeing Europe didn’t rape medical students in their new homeland, nor engage in mass sexual assaults and thefts. Jews fleeing Europe weren’t interested in conquering their target nation and forcefully instituting their religion.
Now it’s not so apples-to-apples.
And the political left omits this information. When the topic of Muslim immigration comes up, the left almost invariably omits the verifiable reality that some of the migrants are also violent Islamic theocrats and would-be martyrs.
People who migrate to a target nation with no intention of peaceful coexistence are not immigrants at all, but settlers intent on replacing the current inhabitants.
Tell the truth, then give your opinion.
There is a minority on the left who understand this. They are primarily atheists like Bill Maher and Sam Harris, who rightfully call this the “regressive left”:
Atheists and religious conservatives agree: Islam is uniquely prone to violence, probably thanks to the views and actions of Islam’s violent, world-conquering founder.
Swinging the migration doors opened to those fleeing Islamic war zones may not be wise for this reason.
And what about President Trump closing the door to immigrants from 7 Islamic nations? It may not be compassionate. But it is rational.
Whether Jews and Christians should support rationality over compassion is a broader question. One I’m wrestling with now.