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Israel must grant entry to asylum seekers

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion/article/israel_must_grant_entry_to_asylum_seekers_20110126

In 1939, sailing from Hamburg, Germany, 938 refugee Jews boarded the St. Louis to flee the Third Reich. They were destined for Cuba. We all know the end of this story. Anti-Semitism and xenophobia prevailed in Cuba; efforts were made for the St. Louis to divert to the United States, but the same exclusionary forces prevailed here. Americans and Cubans alike feared that the Jews would steal jobs and that relaxed immigration policies and quotas would hurt economic recovery; politicians were persuaded that these Jews would somehow bring down, or perhaps sully, society. In that instance alone, 938 Jews were sent back to Europe, most to face extermination in the Holocaust. It is commonly accepted that it is the story of the St. Louis and others like it that helped secure the world’s support to establish the state of Israel at the conclusion of World War II.

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