THE Jewish community should not be misled by compassion from the Holocaust into supporting Muslim boat people, the owner of The Australian Jewish News has argued in an article condemned by some as hate speech.
In the latest edition, under the headline ”Curb the compassion”, Robert Magid said Jews tended to want to appear more compassionate than others because of their history of suffering oppression and persecution, but ”the Jews who fled the Holocaust fled certain death. I doubt there is a single boat person in that situation.”
Mr Magid said ”unscrupulous” illegal immigrants pushed genuine asylum seekers down the queue and that immigration in other countries had led to ghettos and calls for Islamic law. He suggested that hiding among Muslim boat people who had destroyed their documents would be an ideal way for al-Qaeda to smuggle a terrorist network into Australia.
The backlash came quickly. An open letter on Facebook by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society had attracted nearly 400 signatures last night, while liberal and conservative religious leaders united against Mr Magid.
Leading Orthodox Rabbi Ralph Genende wrote that although he was scared of Islamic extremism, there were no limits to compassion, and most fears about Muslim immigration were unfounded.
Jewish author Arnold Zable said: ”Refugees and asylum seekers are only doing what we would do in their shoes, what Jews did in the immediate post-war era as they sought a way to a better life, and what Jews have done for centuries – including the massive emigration in the wake of the 1880s pogroms in Russia.”
Last night, Mr Magid said he stood by every word. ”I think the majority of people agree with me but they are not willing to come out and say what I am prepared to say. It is a very cogent statement.”
He said he was neither xenophobic nor racist.
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