HIAS is no longer a Jewish organization that assists Jews and should not be supported by the Jewish Federation or the JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council). It actively takes positions which harm the Jewish community. What is appalling is the complicity of Jewish charitable organizations, such as the Jewish Federation and the JCRC, who have joined HIAS in risking here in America the same anti-Semitism that pervades Europe. Ironically, that European anti-Semitism, fueled by open immigration policies , is driving a wave of European Jews to immigrate to Israel with no assistance at all from HIAS.
The Jewish Community Should Withdraw Affiliation or Support for HIAS
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society that was dedicated to the resettlement of Jewish refugees in times of need no longer exists. In 2014 the organization officially decided to drop “Hebrew” from its name and adopt "HIAS” as its official title. Retaining the previous acronym serves as a reminder of who they once were. According to its CEO, Mark Hetfield, “…the word ‘Hebrew” is exclusionary and outdated,...” HIAS has since drastically redirected its mission to the global resettlement of refugees who are not Jews.
HIAS, however, is listed as a partner organization of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, still with the name “Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society,” and as a constituent organization of the JCRC.
COPIA calls on these organizations to take a fresh look at HIAS as it really exists today. The Federation and JCRC should examine HIAS’s qualifications to be labeled a Jewish organization or a Jewish immigration organization, despite the fact that HIAS ignores Jewish refugees, tolerates anti-Semitism, and obfuscates the dangers to the Jewish Community inherent in the admission of huge numbers of refugees from Arab/Moslem countries.
HIAS Works With Anti-Israel and Anti- Semitic Leaders, Including Linda Sarsour
Mark Hetfield, CEO of HIAS, joined with anti-Israel groups, including J Street, The New Israel Fund, If Not Now, and other pro-BDS activists, to sign a letter supporting Palestinian-Brooklynite LINDA SARSOUR, infamous now for her praise for Louis Farrakhan as well as of terrorists. Hetfield pledged to work with Sarsour despite her anti-Semitic statements, such as:
- “Nothing is creepier than Zionism”;
- “feminism and Zionism simply don’t go together”
- Jews and Israel supporters should be excluded from the Women’s rights movement;
- The intifada has been “invaluable on many fronts.”
HIAS Does Not Defend the Jewish Community Against Anti-Semitism - It Lays The Foundation For Its Growth
The extremely high percentage of anti-Semitic feelings among Middle Eastern immigrants is documented by the ADL Global 100 – An Index of Anti-Semitism. It is estimated to be somewhere between 70% and 90%. HIAS demands the entry of 100,000 Syrian immigrants to the US who, through natural increase and chain migration, will easily become 1 million in a very short period of time.
HIAS seems totally uninterested in the anti-Semitism of the immigrants it champions or its eventual impact on the American Jewish community. The lesson it should have learned from over a million refugees from the Middle East making life dangerous and frequently unbearable for Jews in Western Europe is ignored.
HIAS Does Not Come to the Aid of Jewish Refugees
In a recent email (2/27/18) HIAS declares that it is “leading the Jewish response to the refugee crisis." Why isn’t it leading the response to the Jewish refugee crisis? Anti-Semitism is back with a fury in Western Europe. Many Jews, fearing for their lives and the futures of their children, are seeking safety by emigrating to Israel; many more are contemplating such a move. It is scandalous that HIAS has no interest in helping these Jewish refugees who are fleeing Malmo, Sweden or the violence of North African Muslims in Paris.
HIAS’s Government Subsidy
For those seeking to understand why HIAS no longer serves the interests of the Jewish Community, HIAS receives substantial Federal funding based on the number of refugees admitted into the US. That explains why HIAS works to demand that the US admit 100,000 Syrians to the US, despite the dangers of terrorism from inadequately vetted refugees and the certain increase in anti-Semitism that will accompany their admission.
We ask the Jewish Federation and the JCRC, organizations that have always shown their willingness to help those in need, to present to the Jewish community alternate plans—some already in place and active—to aid Syrian refugees but without laying the foundation for serious harm to the Jewish community in the process. Examples of such alternate aid include medical and humanitarian aid (already provided by Israel) and the JCDR (Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief), led by the Federation.
Readers can write the Federation and the JCRC and ask them to consider whether the new HIAS is defending Jewish interests or its own organizational interests, thereby putting at risk the entire Jewish Community's future. You can contact the Federation by email or by using the contact form on its web site. The Executive Director of the JCRC, Ron Halber, can be reached at [email protected]