Sunday, January 16, 2022

Last week’s FLAME article (“The Muslim Immigrant Question,” November 4, 2021), aside from having a title that is scarily similar to “The Jewish Question,” seemed to me in poor taste, and I’d like to clarify a few of the points made. I personally am privileged to work with The Aleph Institute, and in partnership with other amazing people and organizations, we have been successful in helping hundreds of people escape Afghanistan from life-threatening conditions.

The FLAME article acts as if there is currently no screening process and worries that the U.S. is currently just accepting any refugee and will accept people who do not “embrace the bedrock American values.” I can confirm that there is, in fact, an incredibly intensive screening process. Most countries are only accepting people at the highest risk, which are nearly all the people who have either worked for American government organizations and NGOs or people who took part in anti-Taliban activities, such as judges and lawyers who put Taliban members in prison. These people are in danger precisely because they have the values that we admire. Comparing them against statistics of all Muslims in the Middle East is incredibly misleading. In addition, America is actually so strict about who it lets in, that it isn’t even one of the top countries with whom we work to help people escape.

In the Jewish world, we always condemn how during the Holocaust, America turned away boats of Jewish refugees, literally sending them to their deaths. The families we work with in Afghanistan are having their homes raided and bombed by the Taliban, receiving death threats directly to their phones, and running from one safe house to the next. They are educated judges, lawyers, teachers, journalists, with families. While I can’t reveal many details of the operation, the amount of Jews involved is an enormous Kiddush Hashem.

We do not need fearmongering without facts right now. We need compassion and understanding, so that we can literally save peoples lives, and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Meir Brodsky, Teaneck
The Aleph Institute
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