Good Luck with Your Syrian Refugees, USA & Canada

Syrian Refugee Camp on Turkish Border
Syrian Refugee Camp on Turkish Border. Image by Voice of America News: Henry Ridgwell on Turkish border, “Refugees Flee Aleppo; Hot, Barren Turkish Camps Await”. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I wish Americans and Canadians luck with the Syrian refugees they anticipate admitting into their midst in unprecedented numbers at an unprecedented pace. I have nothing against helping desperate people, in fact, I am all in favour, but I find this sudden outpouring of “compassion” hypocritical and worrisome.

Why Hypocritical?

Putting aside your silence over the bombings and use of chemical weapons in Syria since 2011, I sat in Israel over the past year and more, amazed at your lack of outrage in the face of the destruction by Islamists of eons-old Christian communities in Iraq and the Middle East. As ancient archaeological treasures and today’s descendants of those who built them were being eradicated from the face of Earth, barely a peep could be heard on the social media.

As a Jew, I could only wonder at your ability to watch the destruction of your ancient co-religionists and not at least debate whether or not something could be done to save those communities and the archaeological monuments to their great history. This part is not a criticism, just an observation.

The criticism comes regarding your tripping over your own feet to admit Muslim Syrian refugees within your boundaries and your harsh and cruel condemnations of those among you who say “wait a moment, let’s think this through a bit more”. If it was the Democrats who were shunning the proposal for what seems to be almost wholesale admission of these refugees, I wonder if you would all be singing a different tune. You just love to hate the Republicans.

You seem to be determining your attitude to such an important issue as this one along party lines – how dumb is that! Sorry if you object to this comment – this is based on what I have seen on the social media. I do think that you can reject the overly enthusiastic admission of Syrian refugees into your country without it having to be viewed as an endorsement of Trump and others you apparently despise.

Why Worrisome?

And if you think your government can adequately vet the refugees, then consider what is written in this article about the terrorist who killed 2 and injured 1 in Tel Aviv  on November 19 and had hoped to kill many more.

Raid Halil bin Mahmoud, is 36 years old, has 5 kids, and nothing in his background raised a red flag for police or security forces. In fact, four days before his murder spree, he was given a work permit to find employment in Israel. Instead of using this new job at a downtown restaurant (is that where the murder weapon came from?) to provide a good living for his family, he squandered it on venting his frustration and anger.

After his arrest, he said he was driven to carry out the attack by the pain he felt for the situation of the Palestinians, police said.

Sure, many of the Arabs living in the Palestinian Authority are downtrodden and their lives are filled with pain. However, they are being exploited by their own leaders and not by Israel. (You can read here to find out a bit more because a detailed explanation is beyond the scope of this particular article.) If he was a Syrian applying for entry into the USA or Canada as a refugee, he would most likely be granted that privilege.

You might say that he committed a terror act in Israel because he blames Israel for the problems faced by the Arabs who now call themselves Palestinians. But reflect on this, American citizens: Israel might be a Small Satan but you are The Big Satan. Will you accuse me of fear-mongering? Remember, sometimes paranoia is legitimate fear based on reality.

Furthermore, on hearing of the attack carried out by her son, his mother exclaimed:

“My son is a source of pride for Hebron and Palestine”

If she was a Syrian refugee she would most likely be admitted into the USA or Canada. Is this the kind of person you mean to give shelter to? Will she become a good American citizen? Will she stand up and proudly sing “O Canada”?

I worry for your safety, United States and Canada. I want you to worry for your safety too, even as your hearts go out to those wash up onto the European shores of the Mediterranean, some dead and some alive. Most of them are just looking for a decent life. Some of them are just looking to ruin yours. Can you take the chance that you can tell the difference?

Syrian refugees at Zaatari refugee camp in jordan
Syrian Refugee Kids at Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Do you know who is accompanying thiese children and their affiliations? Image by Foreign and Commonwealth Office [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Seeking Balance

And a final word to those who say they fear the American-born gun-slingers more than the potential Muslim terrorists among the Syrian refugees, thereby dismissing any expressions of concern regarding danger: Get your own house in order before you take in the stranger. If you cannot feed, clothe, house and otherwise care for the multitude of poverty-stricken Americans and Canadians, some of whom live and die on the streets, and if you cannot provide the wherewithal for good mental health care for your citizens who need it, then why are you letting in others to whom you will direct valuable resources away from your own children, your own veterans who served your country, your own elderly who deserve a dignified final chapter to their lives, and more?

Let us remember the important admonition by Hillel:

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I?” Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14

The important thing is balance. I do not see balance in your hate-filled demonization of those of your own citizenry who cry out for their concerns to be taken seriously. This, of course, does not characterize everyone – but you know who you are.

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This is a modified version of a blog post that first appeared on the Times of Israel website.

Sheri Oz is a retired psychotherapist living in Israel for 38 years. Always interested in politics and international affairs, she now has time to study and write about it to her heart’s satisfaction. She often writes on her own site, Israel Diaries.

 

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One comment

  1. ” A voice of sanity!.