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2017-02-10 digital edition
TODAY in the Jewish World:

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


February 10, 2017  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Reader: Jews have ‘moral’ duty to repudiate travel ban

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

The Executive Order issued on Jan. 27, 2017 by President Trump aims to 1) suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days; 2) suspend entry into the United States of people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including legal residents, for at least 90 days, and worst of all; 3) indefinitely suspend entry of Syrian refugees, even those who had been granted visas.

This order was a despicable act of cowardice and xenophobia. None of the terrorists responsible for attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 were from those countries. In fact, 15 of the 19 perpetrators of the 9/11 attack and Osama bin Laden were from Saudi Arabia where President Trump and his family continue to have business interests, and curiously one of the countries not included in the ban.

As reported in the Feb. 5, 2017 edition of the New York Times, ISIS no longer has to export terrorists trained in Syria or any other of its bastions to commit heinous acts. It can recruit disaffected citizens of the United States and elsewhere without their having to leave their native country.

It is curious and particularly onerous that the Executive Order was signed on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp. It is of particular relevance to the Jewish community as the America First Movement of the 1930s was responsible for the outbreak of virulent anti-Semitism that culminated with block- ing the admission to the U.S. of Jewish refugees, including 20,000 children who would have gained entry had the Wagner-Rogers bill of 1939 become law, an act of complicity and moral failure [for which] President Roosevelt is not kindly remembered.

It is not surprising that the wave of anti- Semitic and anti-Muslim attacks that have characterized the recent election campaign bear eerie resemblance to the anti-Semitic and anti-Japanese attacks proximate to the onset of World War II.

Fear of the other is a deplorable but all too common thread in our history. It is thus incumbent upon our leaders to provide strong moral guidance and stand up for the principles on which this country was founded and inscribed in the base of the Statue of Liberty.

I call for all our elected officials and others of good will to repudiate President Trump’s order and call for its immediate repeal.

The Jewish community of Tampa Bay and especially its religious and secular leaders has a moral responsibility to lead this halachic humanitarian effort.

Joel A. Strom, MD, Meng.

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