September 11, 2015

The “None is Too Many” guilt trip does not apply to the Syrian refugee crisis

Neil FlaggRebel Blogger

Guilt-trip politics is rearing its ugly head this election season, as the searing trauma of the Holocaust is being used to try to turn Canadians - particularly, Canadian Jews - against Stephen Harper this election season.

Perhaps you are familiar with the phrase “None Is Too Many”. It was coined by Toronto History professors Hesh Troper and Irving Abella in their 1983 book, None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933-1948 to describe the xenophobic attitude of the Canadian government in the William Lyon Mackenzie King era.

While Jews often attribute the quote to Mackenzie King himself, it is actually part of a second-hand anecdote reported to Troper and Abella, attributed to an anonymous immigration official in Ottawa. According to their unverified account of the incident, when asked how many Jews would be allowed to immigrate to Canada after the war, the unnamed immigration official apparently replied “None is too many”.

Led by the lawyers who operate the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, an organization that fights antisemitism in the name of the now-deceased Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, the Liberal Jewish community is using the loaded phrase and its emotional implications to turn the Syrian refugee crisis into a battering-ram against Stephen Harper.

Even before FSWC President Avi Benlolo released his statement last week calling on Canada to open the floodgates to Syrian refugees in the name of “Tikkun Olam” (repairing the world) during this High Holiday season for Jews, I saw several liberal Jews in my circles using “None is Too Many” in beating up the Prime Minister over refugees and immigration. It’s become the knee-jerk reaction to any defense of the Conservative government’s record and platform.

In the name of fairness, I’d like to take apart this meme, and set the record straight for my fellow Jews being misled by this guilt-trip.

1) “None is Too Many” had nothing to do with the MS St. Louis, and the MS St. Louis had little to do with the Holocaust. Many in the Jewish community and elsewhere falsely believe that “none is too many” was said in connection with Canada’s refusal to accept the 900 German Jews on the St. Louis in May 1939, who were turned away from landing in Havana after a sudden change of refugee policy by Cuban President Bru.

Both the US Democratic President Roosevelt, and Canada’s Liberal PM Mackenzie King, refused to let the boat dock at American or Canadian ports, and thus it was forced to return to Europe. Contrary to the mythological tale of the St. Louis that many repeat to this day, the passengers were not sent back across the sea to the German death camps. The St. Louis docked back at Antwerp, Belgium on June 17, 1939 – three months before World War II began.

Not a single passenger was returned to Germany, where the Wansee Conference was still nearly three years away from convening. From Antwerp, all the refugees were accepted by free countries. The United Kingdom took 288 passengers, France took 224, Belgium 214, and the Netherlands 181. It is estimated that up to 254 former passengers from this journey did not survive the war years, certainly a tragedy, but hardly the “Canada sent back Jews to the slaughter” narrative that is usually implied.

2) Canada’s refugee policy under Prime Minister Harper is anything but “None is Too Many”. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, Canada was a world leader in refugee resettlement in 2014, ranking second only to the United States in admissions (12,300), and first in granting citizenship to former refugees (27,200). In contrast, the Liberal Mackenzie King administration admitted just 5,000 Jewish refugees during the entire period of 1933-48.

3) The Jews of Europe of the 1930s would have presented no national security risk to Canada. On the other hand, it is downright delusional to pretend the same about an immediate importation of tens of thousands of Syrians in 2015.

4) Sadly, there is no realistic way to pluck the truly desperate refugees out of harm’s way at present. Just as it was impossible to get Jewish refugees out of Europe during WWII, it is impossible to get large numbers of targeted minorities out of ISIS territory today without large numbers of boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq. Every conservative I know would be proud to airlift every Yazidi and Christian possible to safety starting now; however, in this age of Obamian leading-from-behind, the free world has no stomach for the only real solution to the enslavement and massacre of these innocents – a war of liberation.

5) Islamic refugees from Islamic civil wars are, frankly, not a Jewish problem. Aside from the aforementioned minority communities under targeted persecution, the vast majority of refugees in this crisis are Muslims from Muslim states in a Muslim-dominated part of the world. The Islamic world is completely hostile to Judaism and the Jewish people, and the concept of persecuted Jews in a similar situation being granted asylum in an Islamic country is laughable. While there are certainly moral imperatives in Judaism to help and welcome your neighbours, there is no admonition – “tikkun olam” notwithstanding – to aid your enemy. In fact, most rabbis would tell you that aiding your enemy is strictly prohibited. (Unfortunately, most liberal rabbis refuse to recognize that Islam’s holy books explicitly target Jews as enemies, but that’s for another day.) There are, however, huge Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Yemen, and Egypt, that would be logical lands for large-scale refugee resettlement.

There’s no doubt that the “None is too many” platitude is going to be seen more and more in the coming weeks, as liberal rabbis from the Reform and Conservative movements will be sermonizing on the topic at upcoming Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services. Now that you know the historical inaccuracies and logical fallacies involved in applying it to the current situation in and around Syria, don’t be afraid to challenge the pushers of this meme, and let them know the truth.


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commented 2015-09-15 12:24:21 -0400
I cant’ even fathom why Jewish groups would want to put their security at risk frankly from the most anti-Semitic ideology there is. They obviously are a pampered group and I am sure Israeli Jews would consider their attitudes nonsense and downright suicidal. It is the height of reason to be fearful of a fearful ideology. I didn’t know the whole history of the Jewish situation so thanks Neil for enlightening me. Obviously even us conservatives accept certain historical “facts” that are not even close to fact.
commented 2015-09-12 22:45:46 -0400
I agree completely, Dan. Why is it that the media never criticize the Islamic countries for not taking in Muslim refugees? After all, it is a violation of Sharia law for Muslims to live in lands that are not controlled by Muslims. Why do not the Muslim clerics denounce this migration to the lands of the infidels? Why are so many, about 75%, young men of military age? Perhaps they are consoled by the fact that these lands may not be run by the kuffar (unbelievers) for much longer.
commented 2015-09-12 12:51:46 -0400
Looking at that picture at the top of the page, of a crowd of mostly head-shots, I see and feel two conflicting things…
The first thing I see is a lot of people who don’t look like me. I know they’re not only not like me and hate my country, but they want to kill me, take my land and destroy my country and way of life. I fear these people. I don’t want any of these people in my country or my community. They are the enemy.
What I also see when I look closer at the picture, are a lot of people who look like me. They look desperate and afraid. They look like they need help. They’ve lost homes, wives, husbands, children, parents, everything. Under God they are our brothers and sisters.
Hurting yourself, putting yourself at risk, or not protecting yourself, in order to help someone else, is neither wise nor moral.
Since their culture, law and habits are completely incompatible, if not inimical to our Western values, ideals and way of life, and since they have no intention of assimilating – to do so would make them apostate Islamists – what should we do? We should do something, shouldn’t we?
What ever we do, we should do it over there.
It only makes sense that all the other Islamic countries take these Islamic refugees…of course it’s fairly easy to see why they don’t want them either…
So realistically that leaves us one choice – stop treating the symptoms and attack the problem!
So that brings us to which problem is more dire, in Canada. The Islamists and their stealth jihad and the inevitable end of life as we know it – or the lefty/progressive bleeding hearts and unicorn chasers who want to bring them all over here so we can all live happily ever after and the inevitable end of life as we know it….
commented 2015-09-11 16:52:58 -0400
All refugees have to be screened! Don’t ever put a leader in power who does not agree! That leader who thinks screening is not necessary is not really concerned about the country of Canada. That kind of a leader is politically correct and should never be head of a nation.