Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Judy Feld Carr Asks: Why Did Past Liberal Governments Refuse to Allow Entry to Persecuted Syrian Jews?

As Syrian refugees continue to pour into Canada, the woman who singlehandedly--and secretly--rescued Syrian Jews back when other Liberal governments were in power offers up a crucial history lesson. (It's condensed into a letter to the editor of The Canadian Jewish News. Since you won't find it online, I have copied it from the non-virtual version of the paper that came to my door this morning.)
Canada not a model state
I read with shock Mira Sucharov's column "We must remember that we were once strangers in Egypt." (Feb. 9)
I could not believe the praise this columnist was giving to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who tweeted "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadian will welcome you, regardless of your faith."
The praise continues with Rabbi Dan Moskovitz describing Canadian immigration policy as a "model for the world."
Did she and her supporters not have any knowledge about the refusals of every single consecutive Canadian Liberal government to allow the admission of even one individual Syrian Jew into this country?
The Jewish community was suffering incredible restrictions in Syria, not being allowed to leave, being incarcerated in prison dungeons and tortured for even trying to escape, being watched and monitored constantly in their homes and synagogues by the Syrian secret police, the Muhabarat, only because they were Jews.
On behalf of the then-Canadian Jewish Congress, during the years when I was doing the secret rescue, I met with every Liberal minister of foreign affairs and immigration to ask them, literally to beg them, to allow a few Syrian Jews, some orphans and single young women to come to Canada and barring that, just to allow them to enter Canada temporarily for a few weeks until I could make other arrangements for them.
I was paying ransoms to buys these Jews. This took place not in the 1940s, but as late as 2001.
In the dozens of meetings with ministers and their associates, I was questioned about how I knew so much about the Syrians Jewish community and was accused on a few occasions of being an agent of a foreign government.
Nothing could be further from the truth. During those dangerous years of the rescue, I was able to quietly and secretly, with enormous difficulties and threats to my life, to bring out 3,228 Jews from the horror of Syria. Five Syrian Jews were admitted into Canada during the tenure of a Conservative government.
That was the grand total, Ms. Sucharov.
Judy Feld Carr

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