Note to Trump: How Not To/To Respond To A Humanitarian Crisis

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Protests in Montreal aimed at opening western borders to Syrian refugees. Photo by Andrej Ivanov. On front, faces of some of the 900 Jews fleeing Nazi Germany in May 1939 on the MS St. Louis while it was docked in Cuba, within sight of Miami; it was  eventually forced to turn back to Europe, where many were killed in the Holocaust. Getty photo.

It didn't take long for our orange village idiot to start spewing the knee-jerk hate before getting the basic facts, ranting that the Berlin attack was about radical Islam "slaughtering Christians" before anyone knew anything, and declaring the mindless banning of billions of Muslims for the lunatic actions of a few made perfect sense - a stupid, ugly claim inevitably echoed by a raft of racist right-wing European leaders. Thankfully, theirs were not the only responses.


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Even as Drumpf was mouthing off, hundreds of Jews and Muslims were gathering in 25 cities for Hanukkah actions aimed at fighting Islamophobia, racism and reluctance to allow entry by Syrian refugees, likely including some of those now being evacuated from Aleppo. The #KindleJustice actions included a march in front of Chicago's Trump Tower - by members of Jewish Voice for Peace,  American Muslims for Palestine, Council on American Islamic Relations and other groups - to demand that Gov. Bruce Rauner reverse his current ban on allowing Syrians into Illinois.

Wednesday's actions, in turn, are part of a broader effort by progressive Jews, who often invoke the legacy of the Holocaust, to pressure the U.S. to open its doors more widely to those seeking safety. “Once, we helped refugees because they were Jewish,” said a statement from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society HIAS, established to help 19th-century refugees seeking to come here. “Today, we help refugees because we are Jewish.”

In Canada, meanwhile, one good guy with the means to act on his convictions has helped hundreds. Jim Estill, an electronics and appliances entrepreneur, has spent $1.5 million to sponsor 58 Syrian refugee families or about 200 people, setting them up in Guelph, near Toronto, with homes, jobs, English lessons and hope. Watching the news out of Syria last summer, he said, “I didn’t want to be 80 years old and know that I did nothing during the greatest humanitarian crisis of my time...I was trying to drown out the xenophobes.” Now Estill is trying to figure out how to rescue more. On his Twitter feed, he likes to post inspiring quotes. One of his latest: "Keep your best wishes close to your heart, and watch what happens.”

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