US Jewish Groups Blast Israel on Refugees

Prime Minister Olmert’s decision to deport hundreds of refugees from the Sudan and to bar any more from entering Israel was met with vigorous dissent by leading American Jewish leaders. Rep. Rahm Emanuel sent a sharp letter of rebuke to Israel’s ambassador to the United States: “I am writing today to express my disappointment that Israel would turn away any person fleeing from persecution.” The American Jewish Committee and Jewish leaders in New York and Los Angeles also expressed displeasure at Olmert’s actions.

There is still a strong undercurrent of feeling among many Jews in the world about the importance of aiding refugees fleeing persecution. It is ironic that Jewish leaders are concerned about Darfur while most leaders of Arab nations like Egypt or Saudi Arabia remain silent.