In July 1938 delegates from 32 nations met at the French resort if Évian-les-Bains to discuss the mounting problem of Jewish refugees from Germany and recently-annexed Austria. At the time Hitler was willing to let them leave “even on luxury ships,” in his own words.
As everyone knows, little was done to help the German and Austrian Jews. The nations who participated in the conference were mostly unwilling to change their immigration quotas and very few of the Jews who needed a visa received one.
The Mideast refugee crisis is becoming increasingly acute. The Jewish community has an obligation to be part of the solution here. Though there is controversy surrounding the number of refugees that can be accepted to the U.S., there should be no controversy whatsoever about the dire need for financial assistance.
There are a number of Jewish efforts underway and I want to encourage everybody to contribute to one of these or any other that is sending aid.
For those interested, here are some Jewish resources:
The Joint Distribution Committee has an effort that has been joined by multiple Jewish organizations in what is being called the Jewish Coalition for Syrian Refugees. You can find information here: http://www.jdc.org/jcdr/where-we-work/syrian-refugees.html
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, better known by its acronym, HIAS, is helping, too. This is the link to its efforts: http://www.hias.org/syria
Many Jewish organizations are participating in an interfaith coalition which has information at this link: http://www.multifaithalliance.org/#!alliance/c1jdz
And for those of you who prefer to give through secular and Humanistic channels, I have been told by the Foundation Beyond Belief that they are putting together a campaign. I will post details when they do.
However you decide to help, please do something. Money is not enough, of course, but it’s not nothing, either. And there’s enough nothing going on already.