Illegal Today, Legal Tomorrow?
Letter writer Matt Segal (Kvetch ’N’ Kvell, Feb. 27) shows his ignorance of Jewish history as he stakes out “legal” and “illegal” immigrants as bellweathers of Jewish values.
In reality, what is illegal today may be legal tomorrow because laws are created by imperfect governments with agendas that change with the wind. In 1939, it was legal for the U.S. government to send 900 Jewish passengers of the SS St. Louis back to Germany, where most ended up in legal, government-sanctioned death camps.
Is there a Jew alive today who would not have taken a risk to illegally smuggle some of these passengers to safety? Do our Zionist leaders not applaud the work of the Bricha, which illegally smuggled Jews past the British blockade into Palestine? Did these refugees go on to engage in lives of crime because they were forced to violate an immoral law to save their lives?
The difference between 1939 and today is the refugees seeking sanctuary in the U.S. are brown-skinned Spanish speakers instead of white-skinned Yiddish speakers. But for many of them the danger in their homeland is as great. I am ashamed that some of us have learned nothing from the Holocaust.
Nadine Bonner | Bala Cynwyd