Fake refugees, real refugees; international moral righteousness and short-sightedness

Roughly 43 thousands of African economic immigrants illegally entered Israel and sought refugee status.

This is confirmed by the fact that to date, a minute number of these would-be-refugees have been adjudged to be eligible to and granted refugee status.

When Israel decided to deport the rest, the Western world, not to mention the Arab world cried “foul” in unison. Among these, early on, Canada expressed, not to put too fine a point on it, its “concerns” to the Israeli government. The country’s Minister of Immigration and Refugees Ahmed Hussen happens to be a Canadian of Somali origin who arrived in Canada as a teen-ager without a family or caretaker, was granted refugee status, and made it good.

Canada then tapped itself on the shoulder for its humanitarian big heart (which it did and does have except during World War II) by being the first country to advise the Israeli government, on its own motion, that it would take 2000 of these refugees over a period of time, depending on the length of time it would take to screen the applicants and just as importantly, the availability of private parties prepared to sponsor them.

The most hypocritical criticism of Israel’s decision to forcibly deport these people is to the effect that “Of all peoples, the Jewish people that has have been thrown out of or fled so many countries across the centuries and of more recent memory during the 20th century, and were granted refuge in various countries and Israel as a Jewish state ought to be the last people and the last country in the world to do that.”

Besides the “so-called” progressive and liberal  American Jews obsessed with Israel and criticise it at the drop of a hat while sitting comfortably  on their tush  and keep making factually inane comparisons between the case of the Jews who sought and managed to flee from Germany  and the countries it occupied and those that survived the Holocaust and the Africans illegally entering Israel, the bitter irony in all of this  is the fact that the very countries which are criticising and condemning  the Israeli Jews for their decision to engage in forcible deportation are those like the Arab countries  that forcibly expelled  their Jewish nationals  after stripping them of their worldly  possessions or  like France’s Vichy government that during World War II forced  their own Jewish refugees from the East to flee the country for their lives and rounded up those who did not manage to do so and turned them over to the Germans who massacred  them in concentration camps.

An even a greater irony is the fact that according to a most recent survey, the majority of the Israeli Arabs (60%) who know a thing or two about refugees, are against the admission and settlement of the African refugees.

And after all  that has been said and done,  the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees managed  to find less than a handful of countries in Europe prepared  to take  less than  a good number of refugees, provided Israel  granted those remaining in Israel a permit of residence for five years.

So, I wondered: what about the EU that often has nothing better to do than to harass, criticise and vilify Israel and hold the country responsible for just about all the sins of the world in its dealings with the Palestinians? Should it not marshal the European resources to welcome these refugees? Based on its collective experience with the interminable inflow of refugees, it knows better than to even attempt to do that. And what about Norway, Finland, France and Spain, to name a few?

For that matter, what the other countries in the Western hemisphere, for example Argentina and Brazil, which just like Canada, have lots of space to potentially accommodate  the entire group or a large segment of it and at all events, certainly more than 2000.

Self-evidently, as matters now stand, none of the governments of the countries, save Canada, I identified above want anything to do with these refugees because their respective electoral constituencies do not want them. That is so because of the fear of or prejudice against “these others”, and the fact that settling refugees in countries that are totally unlike the ones they fled is quite an onerous and expensive undertaking, the success of which is by no means guaranteed.

Hence, if Canada can afford to take only 2000 of the 43,000 refugees, by what right can Canada, the EU and others, express “serious concerns” or outright criticise Israel for its handling of these refugees, having regard to its miniscule territory, a population of barely around 8.9 million and the many pressing and fiscally substantial demands on its budget.

In the circumstances, it is wholly hypocritical to expect or to demand Israel to invest vast sums of its limited fiscal resources to undertake the absorption, settlement, education and integration of 430,000 refugees into the Israeli society or even to provide for hundreds of thousands of them for five years.

The fact of the matter is that, at the end of the day, the root of the refugee problem lies in the latest version of the concept of “globalism” and in the immigration policies of western countries.

The concept originally was used to describe the promotion global free trade and to some extent the free movement of manpower to match the movement of jobs.

Recently, the scope of globalism has been extended to include the world wide arrangements for the movement of peoples from some countries to others.

Clearly, the people who live in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States and in Latin American countries will not immigrate and settle in downright poor, politically and economically unstable third world countries where the rights and freedoms we take for granted are restricted to various degrees, if not altogether abolished and foreigner, save those bringing money are not particularly welcome.

Therefore, the movement of peoples in effect refers to the movement of peoples who live in the third world countries described above who would very much like to escape their miserable existence or difficult lives by moving prosperous democratic societies.

Judging from what has been happening in and to Europe to date as a result of the massive influx of refugees, surely it does not take much imagination or foresight to predict how this new pathological vision of globalism is ultimately going to turn out, since to date no Western government has shown any willingness to stop and reverse the trends  and repair the degradation in the fabric of their respective societies caused by the irresponsible manner in which substantial numbers of refugees  and would  be refugees have been let in by countries such as Sweden, Germany, France, not to mention other countries.

In a real sense, refugees are those prepared to take risk relatively short term pain for long term gain. They are the ones who choose to flee instead of staying behind to fight the good fight for the future of their respective countries by getting rid of dictatorships, oppression, corruption and working steadfastly towards establishing the kinds of governments and societies they aspire to have.

Surely, the world would be best served and be a safer place to live in, if instead of allowing the massive movements of peoples often enough as immigrants mimicking as refugees or refugees of some kind or another, if the western world would take it upon itself to deter them and force them to endure a longer pain for long lasting gains in their home countries.

Indeed, instead of sentimentalising and emoting about refugees, it is time to get tough and through the concerted action of  the western nations  first, refuse to take refugees ,save in the most extreme and rare cases, second, pass  around the message that they are not welcome and that they will be returned to their home countries, and most importantly carry out the threat because seeking refuge in a western country will do no good to  their own country and in fact will, more likely than not, perpetuate the very ills that  forced them to seek refuge.

To do otherwise, will insure the ultimate destruction of the western societies without benefitting the peoples of the countries which they seek to leave or flee.

In exchange for this tough course of action, the western countries have to make a bigger and better effort  to allocate a bigger share of their respective GNPs to help would be refugees and immigrants by helping them to straighten out their own countries and  where necessary invoke the riot act on those that govern them malevolently.

This is what the Israeli refugee problem and the decision to forcibly deport them is all about, for Israel does much more than its fair share to help the peoples of the third world countries. Ultimately, these peoples are the only ones who can help themselves and their countrymen to get the kinds of governments and societies they desire.

This brings me to the second source of the refugee problem which lies in the globalist thinking that underlies the immigration policies of western countries whose main source of immigrants in the last two decades or so is located in third world countries, as for example is the case for Canada.

It is fair to say that, on the whole, these policies are designed to attract immigrants from the third world countries who possess the kinds of education, knowledge, skills, and, if possible, capital, that will benefit their respective economies.

By so doing, these countries in effect dispossess the  third world countries of  the very human and financial resources  needed precisely in order to push ahead with their social, educational and economic advancement. In the process, western societies adversely affect the already fragile economies of these countries.

This is ironic because by so doing they ultimately contribute to the creation of the kinds of conditions that contribute to and exacerbate the refugee problem.

As such it is high time for the western countries to revisit, think through and modify their respective immigration policies accordingly.

To do otherwise, will amount to short time gain of sorts for long time pain.

About the Author
Doğan Akman immigrated to Canada with his family. In Canada, he taught university in sociology-criminology and social welfare policy and published articles in criminology journals After a stint as a Judge of the Provincial Court (criminal and family divisions) of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, he joined the Federal Department of Justice as a Crown prosecutor, and then moved over to the to civil litigation branch . Since his retirement he has published articles in Sephardic Horizons and e-Sefarad and in an anthology edited by Rifat Bali titled "This is My New Homeland" published in Istanbul.
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