De Blasio Draws Holocaust Analogy to Decry Opposition to Syrian Refugees
Photo Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
NEW YORK – The growing opposition to allowing Syrian refugees into the country at this time is proof that Americans have failed to learn from history, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio charged Monday.
Speaking at the National Immigration Integration Conference in New York Monday morning, the NYC mayor used the Holocaust as an analogy to illustrate that “sometimes people are jolted into recognition by reminding them that there was a previous generation that made choices, that faced similar questions, and made the wrong choice, and the consequences were quite dire.”
Calling it “a stark and clear analogy,” de Blasio stressed that refusing to allow the entry of refugees fleeing from slaughter in the Middle East was tried once before on Jewish refugees, leaving an indelible stain on America’s history.
“Here’s an example – and it’s a very painful analogy,” he said. “1938 – Fortune magazine, just starting down the road of public opinion surveying – a fairly new approach back then in 1938 – but they took it upon themselves to do a national public opinion poll. And they surveyed the American people on a question that was quite sharp at that moment – should the United States accept large numbers of refugees, Jewish refugees, fleeing Nazi persecution and violence? 1938 – literally almost at the very end of the time at which people could be saved. So the American people were asked, should we save our Jewish brothers and sisters? Two-thirds said no. Two-thirds said no. And you know the rest of the story. America did not open its doors.”
The mayor went on to suggest that had the United States opened its doors to Jewish refugees in 1938, “tens of thousands and maybe hundreds of thousands of people would’ve lived who died otherwise in the Holocaust. It’s as simple as that.”
Recent national polls have showed a majority of Americans opposed to the plan President Obama proposed to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. A Siena College poll released Monday showed that 52 percent of New York voters, including 54 percent of Jewish voters, said they oppose allowing in Syrian refugees right now, while 39% supported the proposal to allow Syrian migrants to enter the country.
But de Blasio dismissed the poll numbers, saying that “when people start to hear the full history, I think they’ll change their minds very rapidly.”
It should be noted that when this reporter asked de Blasio about New York accepting Syrian refugees back in September, the mayor said, “First and foremost, this is a European problem. The European community has to own up to this problem and so far has not done that effectively.”
The liberal mayor of New York City used the same analogy when he addressed an Orthodox Jewish congregation of Syrian descent earlier this month. “I know this community understands deeply the pain of any family that must leave a homeland they love because they were forced away by violence and discrimination,” de Blasio said during an address to Congregation Shaare Zion in Brooklyn last Saturday. “When it comes to saving children and families from one of the greatest crises of our times, I remind people to look at history.” According to the New York Post, “Orthodox worshippers murmured uncomfortably” as he made his remarks.