In comparing and drawing parallels between the current citizenship crisis in the Dominican Republic and Jewish history, particularly in the years leading to World War II, American Jewish leaders are calling for their community to respond. According to Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service, Jewish Americans have an obligation to speak out against the current situation in DR in order to avoid repeating history.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full article.
Op-Ed: American Jews must speak out for Haitians in Dominican Republic
Ruth W. Messinger, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
28 July 2015
NEW YORK (JTA) — Fewer than 800 miles from our shores, a deeply disturbing crisis is unfolding as tens of thousands of citizens of the Dominican Republic face deportation from their country simply because of their heritage.
Tragically, people of Haitian descent who were born in the Dominican Republic have been stripped of their rights and their citizenship, and are living in a state of legal limbo. These people are not all recent immigrants, as the Dominican government would have you believe, but come from families that have been living in the Dominican Republic for up to a century.
I cannot help but see this crisis through Jewish eyes, and I call on the United States government to do all it can to stop it.
For some, exile is already a reality. In fact, a recent Human Rights Watch report documented more than 25 detentions in which Dominicans of Haitian descent were forcibly taken to deportation points along the border, despite having valid documentation of being born in the Dominican Republic.
Without any recognized citizenship, these people would be without a home, have no guaranteed civil rights, no right to due process in any court in the world.
Taking this all in, I cannot help but feel a sense of deja vu. We have seen this tragic movie before.
In 1939, in waters not far from the island that Haiti and the Dominican Republic share, Jewish refugees aboard the Saint Louis — people whose rights had been stripped from them in Europe — were denied access to Cuba and the United States. Throughout the 1930s, Jews found their rights being whittled away across Europe and most dramatically in Germany. When the Nazis passed the Nuremberg Laws, they stripped Jews of all of their rights as the terrible first step of their genocidal campaign.
Further back in history during the Middle Ages, Jews were frequently expelled from countries such as England, France and Spain for spurious reasons, including causing illness and pestilence.
Click HERE for the full article.