The Jewish News Syndicate finds that many Jews are wondering where HIAS (formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) is going with its policies and programs now that very few Jews arrive in America as refugees.
For readers who want to know more about who is changing America by changing the people, have a look at this story entitled:
With HIAS changing longtime focus, supporters question some of its priorities
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, better known as HIAS, was for the better part of a century responsible for helping settle generations of Jewish refugees in their new homes in the United States. From 1881 through the release of Jews from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the organization worked not only to resettle the new arrivals, but was involved in assisting them legally as well. Yet in a way, HIAS was a product of its own success and the success of the American Jewish community, whose activism helped bring most Jews over who wanted or needed to leave other countries.
Today, nearly all of the refugees HIAS resettles on an average each year are non-Jews—many of them Muslims from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia and other Middle Eastern countries.
As an organization with deep Jewish roots, HIAS’s new mission and purpose are being questioned by some observers, especially during a time of global uncertainty and rising anti-Semitism.
In 1975, the U.S. State Department asked HIAS to expand its portfolio and assist in resettling 3,600 Vietnamese refugees after the end of the Vietnam War and nearly two decades of US involvement in Southeast Asia.
In 2014, HIAS dropped the word “Hebrew” from its name and was simply called HIAS. At the same time, HIAS announced relocation of its headquarters from New York City to suburban Maryland.
Most notable among criticisms is that several HIAS partners have been linked to organizations with ties to terrorism, including Islamic Relief USA and the Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), whose leadership recently called Jews “the grandchildren of monkeys and pigs” and referred to the terrorist group Hamas “the purest resistance movement in modern history.”
There’s a crucial difference between past Jewish refugees and current Muslims, argues Richard Landes, a retired Boston University history professor now living in Jerusalem. “Jews came into the country determined to contribute to America—to be American—but the Muslims arriving now don’t always feel that way. We like to think if we are nice enough to our enemies they will stop hating us, but our history has shown that the incapacity to see malevolent intent in others is itself very dangerous to Jews.”
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