At a prestigious Eastern college, non-Hispanic students wearing sombreros at a tequila party are chastised by the administration and punished for their insensitivity and “cultural appropriation.” Same story for a non-black person sporting dreadlocks at another campus, and we all know the narrative of Yale’s concern for its minority sensibilities during Halloween of 2015. So it’s with some amused shock that I read Nicholas Kristof’s article in Thursday’s Times titled “Anne Frank Today is a Syrian Girl.” Kristof wrote this piece without a trace of irony, notwithstanding the fact that had Anne been in Syria in 1941, she would have been persecuted by a Syria controlled by the Vichy French who were as intent on persecuting Jews as the compliant Dutch were. In addition to Syria, the vicious Vichy-ites controlled Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and their denial of rights to Jews and internment in camps were imposed in all these jurisdictions. Henri Dentz, The Vichy High Commissioner, was planning to open concentration camps when the British and Free French occupied Syria in 1944. Had Anne Frank survived the war, the independent Syrian government would have prohibited her from immigrating to Palestine and continued to persecute her until her family, like other Syrian Jews, fled without their earthly belongings.
There are crucial differences between Anne’s plight and that of Syrian civilians today. Nazi Germany was determined to imprison and exterminate all Jews throughout Europe - it was a staggeringly successful war against the Jews. Syrian refugees are what is commonly referred to as collateral damage in a raging internecine clash between different sects of Islam. There are numerous refugee camps already in existence in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq and if Kristof were truly concerned as a humanitarian, his complaint would be against those wealthy Arab countries that refuse to allow their brethren entrance even though they share a language and culture that would make this transition less traumatic. The truth is that not all “Syrian refugees” are Syrian nor are they all fleeing war. Many other people within that pool are seeking to immigrate for economic reasons and no one knows how many intend to further their ideological commitment to jihad against the west. We have witnessed the acceleration of terrorist tragedies throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and our own country and cannot be called paranoid or xenophobic after the mounting toll of murdered victims is splashed across the pages of Kristof’s newspaper every day.
Anne Frank did not come from a group that was shooting, stabbing, bombing, beheading, kidnapping, raping or running down civilians with oversized trucks or crashing their planes. Sadly, the supposedly “peaceful Muslim” of this world have been unable to control the supposedly “small percentage” of radical Muslims and Nicholas Kristof knows this. But facile comparisons make such easy copy for the New York Times.
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