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Haiti: Shades of FDR and the Jews


President Obama and other U.S. officials, who purport to be good and caring people through their delivery of U.S. taxpayer money to Haiti, have a message to the Haitian people. It’s the same message that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had toward Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany. The message is simple: No matter who much you are suffering, no matter how close to death you might be, don’t even think for a moment of escaping your conditions by coming to the United States.

Every day, a U.S. Air Force cargo plane spends 5 hours flying over Haiti broadcasting a recorded message, no doubt made at the urging of Washington officials, from Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s ambassador in Washington, stating: “Listen, don’t rush on boats to leave the country. If you do this, we’ll all have even worse problems. Because, I’ll be honest with you: If you think you will reach the U.S. and all the doors will be wide open to you, that’s not at all the case. And they will intercept you right on the water and send you back home where you came from.”

The sentiment is echoed by State Department spokesman Noel Clay, who, ostensibly expressly a concern for the safety of Haitians, stated, “We urge Haitians in Haiti not to put their lives at additional risk by embarking on a dangerous sea journey.”

Lest Haitians fail to get the message, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, said, “This is a very dangerous crossing. Lives are lost every time people try to make this crossing. Please do not have us divert our necessary rescue and relief efforts that are going into Haiti by trying to leave at this point.”

To underscore the official U.S. sentiment, U.S. Coast Guard Commander Chris O’Neil declared, “There is no new incentive for anyone to try to enter the United States illegally by sea. The goal is to interdict them at sea and repatriate them.”

Let’s be blunt. There are two reasons why Haitians will not be permitted to escape their horrific conditions through emigration to the United States: They’re black and they’re destitute. If white Anglo-Saxon Britons were suffering the same horrific conditions that Haitians are suffering, there is no question but that U.S. officials would be welcoming them with open arms.

What I don’t understand is why Obama won’t order his subordinates to unbolt Emma Lazarus’s poem off the Statute of Liberty and toss it into the Hudson Bay. You know, the poem that talks about how the doors to America are open to those types of people who can be described as the “wretched refuse of your teeming shores.” You know, the poem that states:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.
I lift my lamp besides the golden door!

Well, what better way to describe the Haitian people than that? But it’s precisely because they are the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, the homeless, the tempest-tost that U.S. officials, who are so compassionately delivering U.S. taxpayer money to Haiti, have taken the “bolt the door” attitude toward them.

What hypocrites! What hypocrisy!

Let’s not forget that President Roosevelt, who is portrayed in U.S. public-school textbooks as a great humanitarian and who is one of Obama’s icons, had the same attitude toward Jews that U.S. officials have toward Haitians. When Hitler offered to let German Jews emigrate in the 1930s, FDR bolted the door shut and refused to permit them to enter the United States.

The reason for Roosevelt’s attitude? Let’s be blunt. They were Jews. If English Protestants were trying to escape a Nazi occupation of their country, who can doubt that Roosevelt would have opened the doors in welcome to them?

The plans to interdict and repatriate Haitians trying to save their lives also brings to mind the infamous Voyage of the Damned, when Roosevelt and his people refused to permit German Jews from disembarking from a German vessel at Miami Harbor with full knowledge that that meant that they would have to return to Germany and Hitler’s clutches.

(As an aside, isn’t it ironic that those American Jews today who so eagerly pounce on critics of the Israeli government as being anti-Semitic hardly even issue a peep of condemnation of FDR’s important contribution to the Holocaust, no doubt because they don’t consider it politic to do so.)

Our American ancestors had it right. They declared: If you are suffering tyranny or disaster in your country, our government will not come to save or help you. Private Americans, who are free to keep everything they earn, might send you assistance or even come to your assistance. If you are able and willing to escape your country, you are free to come to America and you will not be repatriated.

Today’s America declares: If you are suffering tyranny or disaster, our government will show you how caring and compassion it is with its bombs, missiles, bullets, embargoes, sanctions, and military and financial aid, provided with the money that the IRS forcibly extracts from the American people. But don’t even think about polluting our shores with your stinking bodies because our government’s forces will immediately take you into custody and repatriate you to the tyranny and destitution from which you came.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.