Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society: HIAS describes itself as a “major implementing partner of the United Nations Refugee Agency and the U.S. Department of State.” HIAS claims to be the oldest refugee resettlement agency in the world. It provides pro bono legal services for asylum applications and removal hearings. Services include “Filings with USCIS, Representation at Asylum Interviews (Credible Fear Interviews, Reasonable Fear Interviews), Representation before the Immigration Court, Representation before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and Federal court appeals.” HIAS lists its values as “Welcoming, Dignity and Respect, Empowerment, Excellence and Innovation, Collaboration and Teamwork, and Accountability.”
HIAS President Mark Hetfield is credited with transforming HIAS from a small agency focused on Jewish immigrants to “a global agency assisting refugees of all faiths and ethnicities.” Donors include Vanguard and Tides Foundation.
Writing in a “communicated content” article in the Jerusalem–based Times of Israel, HIAS president Mark Hetfield said that “America has always been at its greatest when we have welcomed refugees to our shores.”
The article, titled “Join the Jewish movement to support refugees,” urges Jews to join up with HIAS to bring even more “refugees” into America than is currently the case.
“Driven by our people’s shared experience of persecution and flight, and guided by over 135 years helping refugees find safety and freedom, HIAS and the American Jewish community are working together to protect and welcome refugees and asylum seekers,” Hetfield wrote.
“Communities across the United States, and Jewish communities in particular, are going to great lengths to help the newest Americans,” the HIAS president continued.
“Through our network of thousands of rabbis and hundreds of synagogues, we’ve seen these efforts firsthand. During the week of Thanksgiving, advocates in communities including San Diego, Philadelphia, and New York, helped refugees celebrate the holiday for the first time.
“And over the past year, local congregations around the country have volunteered to furnish apartments for newly arrived refugees, organized monthly potluck dinners, and offered language and job training.
The article ends with an appeal to its readers to join HIAS and “keep trying to fight darkness with light, and fear with welcome.”
In Israel, however, there is no such “welcome” as what HIAS wants for America. In fact, the Israeli government has refused to accept any “refugees” at all from Syria, Africa, or anywhere else—and is building a new wall to keep them out.
An official statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that “Israel is a small country, a very small country, that lacks demographic and geographic depth. Therefore, we must control our borders, against both illegal migrants and terrorism.”
Israel’s official view on barring Syrian “refugees” was also detailed in the LA Times of September 6, 2015 (“One country that won’t be taking Syrian refugees: Israel”), where Netanyahu repeated his assertion that Israel’s “lack of demographic and geographic depth” required controlling its borders against both “illegal migrants and terrorism.”
HIAS’s chutzpah seems, therefore, to be in line with the already well-established practice of one law for Israel, and another law for all gentile nations.
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