Even during the darkest days of the Holocaust, the Jewish people never entirely lost their sense of humor. There was a joke about a Jewish man who is stopped in the street by a Nazi storm trooper. The Nazi shouts:

"Tell me, Jew, who started the war?"

The Jewish man, afraid of being sent to a concentration camp if he gave the wrong answer, replies::

"The Jews, of course...and the bicycle riders.".

The Nazi looks puzzled. He says:

"I understand about the Jews, but why the bicycle riders?"

The Jewish man answers:

"Why the Jews?"

Incidentally, in New York, especially in the Upper West Side of Manhattan where I live, it it important to watch out for the bicycle riders Including, but by no means limited to, the ubiquitous restaurant delivery men who speed by so fast that they can be very dangerous.if one isn't looking out for them. .

It would be quite fair to say that most New Yorkers are far more concerned about the chances of being hit by a bicycle than they are about being attacked by terrorists.

However, to get to the point of this comment, when it comes to immigration policy, there is a tendency among many of our elected officials to scapegoat Muslim immigrants in general, especially wherever there is a terror attack in the US or any Western country, while looking at the Jews as the innocent "bicycle riders", as in the above story.

But this was not always the case, at least as far as the American public was concerned.

During the 1930's and 1949's, many Americans were afraid to admit Jewish refugees because of the unfounded fear, (comparable to what 7th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner recently called "nightmare speculation" in referring to claims concerning the alleged dangers of admitting Syrian Muslim refugees in an October 3 decision which I have written about in more detail in previous comments) that the Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler might be "Nazi agents".

Today's often repeated fears that Muslim Syrian refugees might be "allied with ISIS" (or, even less likely, that they might be "terrorists" connected with the Syrian government whom the ISIS terrorists are trying to overthrow) are on the same level and are equally unfounded

Moreover, some Americans with white nationalist or "alt right" views even regard the whole concept of allowing Muslim immigration in the US as a "Jewish" plot today.

See, Kevin MacDonald (January 23)

Jewish Fear and Loathing of Donald Trump [2]: "New York Values" vs. Muslim Immigration


MacDonald writes (in reaction to Trump's Muslim ban which had been announced the previous month]:

"The common denominator in many of the comments of Jewish organizations [opposing the Muslim ban]: hysteria about the singling out of a group. For example, Jeffrey Greenblatt of the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] wailed 'A plan that singles out Muslims and denies them entry to the U.S. based on their religion is deeply offensive and runs counter to our nation's deepest values''...

But I can see why the Jewish organizations are upset. Singling out a group because members of the group are more likely to commit terrorist acts reminds Jews that anti-Jewish attitudes have often resulted from Jews actually being likely to have attitudes or behaviors that the majority finds objectionable."

MacDonald then gives examples of charges made against Jewish immigrants in the 1930's which he and his fellow anti-semites apparently find quite justified (as did all too many Americans at the time) but which no observer who is not consumed with anti-Jewish hatred would ever take seriously now.

I will go into further detail about these charges, which virtually everyone (except for MacDonald and his fellow extremists) now recognizes as vicious lies, but which 80 years ago led to America's refusal to admit thousands of Jewish refugees who would have survived the Holocaust if they had been allowed in, in Part 2 of these comments.

Also, see the above link for more details.

Why am I repeating the kind of vile antisemitic propaganda contained in MacDonald's above referred to article?

Obviously, not because any of it has even the slightest grain of truth, but to show that Jewish immigrants have been the objects of the same kind of hatred in the past (and, in the case of Kevin MacDonald and his ilk, still are) as Muslims are today.

There are those, of course, who agree that it was wrong to spread hatred against Jewish immigrants in the 1930's but contend that it is OK to do the same in the case of Muslim immigrants today.

Their argument is that even though the Jews as a group have never in fact posed a danger to America, Muslims, as a group, really. allegedly, are potentially dangerous and should be kept out or looked at with great anxiety and suspicion.

My question would then be: whom will today's Islamophobes go after next?

The answer should be obvious - the bicycle riders.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law