Asylum-seekers: NSW rabbis have their say

July 24, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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The Rabbinical Council of NSW has issued a statement saying that Papua New Guinea is an acceptable destination for asylum seekers.

Rabbi Yehoram Ulman

Rabbi Yehoram Ulman

On behalf of the RCNSW, Rabbi Yehora Ulman has said: “One of the greatest Biblical values is the preservation of human life and the responsibility to do everything possible to help those in need, regardless of race, religion, colour or creed.

If life is in danger, especially when victims are escaping genocide and have nowhere else to go, they should be given protection. Importantly, all sides of politics in this country affirm this principle.

The implementation of how to properly care for asylum seekers whilst maintaining Australia’s interests raises complexities which are currently the subject of intense political discussion.

There is bipartisan agreement on many of the issues, including a high standard of proof and character required in each asylum application.

RCNSW does not see how the resettling of genuine refugees in a country such as PNG would be a violation of the Biblical injunction to save lives.

It is incomparable to Holocaust victims who were refused entry everywhere and callously returned to certain death because no option for third country processing existed.

Australia is a compassionate society which sends aid and assistance to people throughout the world in the worst areas of conflict to rescue those most in danger. Few countries do more for those in need and that is a record we are proud of.


5 Responses to “Asylum-seekers: NSW rabbis have their say”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Rabbi Ulman’s statement is fair, equitable and covers in a very concise way the complexity of the given issue.
    What matters is the emphasized concept that history will not record analogies. Each event must be seen in its particular complexity. Lesson no. one.
    Lesson – also – is that in many situations we see exploitative false claims when specific benefits are to be gained , claims which often are based on established information and, respectively, lack of specifics. Simply put, a group of people will exploit the emotional information established in the social conscience, as in the notion of Holocaust, which, when stamped on the new and – must be stated – distinct situation, empathy is resuscitated, hence reflex support almost guaranteed.
    This exploitative exercise plays best with certain Jews who would – normally – be oversensitive to the “re-occurrence” of something they would be (almost) genetically programmed to react.
    I only wish – alevai – that I would have a genuine friend of the Jewish genuine cause for each time analogies to Shoah are farcically used.
    Out of deep respect for all my Grand Parents and dozens more relatives perished in the Shoah, I would never parade my deep pain to elicit any benefits, except if anyone believes that exposing truth is a “benefit” and not a normal, banal way of spending one’s life.

  2. Paul Winter says:

    The RCNSW has got it right. Australia has a duty so save lives; it has no duty so safeguard the pretend asylum seekers’ payment to smugglers.

    The comparison to Jews fleeing Nazi Europe is apt. We did any thing to save our lives. The people floating in are merely looking for a better life. People who throw away passports they use to fly to Indonesia and acquire refugee status because their claims cannot be verified, are not fair dinkum.

    Jews did not riot in DP camps, nor even behind barbed wire on Cyprus just because they didn’t know how long they would be there before resettlement. Children like my sister and I could walk in safety in our DP camp among fellow ghetto survivors and concentration camp survivors. There were no rapes, no self-harming, no riots, not even when the German driver of a US army truck ran over and killed a child who had survived the war.

    People who would not be admitted on character or mental health grounds should not be given a visa because they float in. Let them go to Manus Island and take their turn; there are over 40 million people ahead of them, people too poor to pay smugglers.

    We are commanded to not stand idle while our neighbour bleeds, and sadly there are too many bleeding in this world, like the Nuba of Sudan, facing extermination. We also are commanded to pursue justice, and Manus Island for queue jumpers is both just and compassionate.

  3. David says:

    Maybe after a couple of months without the hope of ever being released Rabbi Yehoram Ulman might change his mind…

  4. jay says:

    finally a fair-dinkum rabbi with a fair-dinkum message

  5. Larry says:

    Sad to say, are these fellows not aware of the appalling conditions on Manus island, the potential for xenophobic violence, and the allegations of sex abuse and the consideration amount of informed commentary that this is a weak stop gap at the most?

    It is also inappropriate to use the Shoah as the point of reference for contemporary humanitarian problems because this sets the bar too high ( i.e. clear genocide). There are more reasons for being a refugee than genocide.

    It is also not a question of who is a genuine refugee for nearly everyone who arrives is classified as a refugee.

    It is a weak statement in comparison to that coming from their colleagues in Victoria. A moral failure on their part. If Jewish refugees were to be sent to Manus Island and a failed state with no chance of entering Australia, what would their response be? I suggest something very different.

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