Jewish Federation, Holocaust Museum, JCRC issue statements opposing executive order

The Jewish Federation of St. Louis, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center each released statements last week expressing concern about President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order temporarily restricting immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

The executive order bars all people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The executive order also bans entry of those fleeing from war-torn Syria indefinitely. In addition, Trump has stopped the admission of all refugees to the United States for four months.

The Federation statement referred to the organization’s founding in 1901, “to help Jewish refugees fleeing religious persecution in Eastern Europe,” and noted that since then, Federation has “helped our people and many others find refuge in the United States, Israel and around the world through support of local, national and international agencies.”

The Holocaust Museum statement criticized the executive order as “discriminatory and incompatible with American values. While every nation has a sovereign right to provide for the security of its citizens, this approach demonizes people seeking asylum and puts those who are law abiding at risk.”

The Federation and Holocaust Museum statements noted that Jewish refugees during the Holocaust were turned away by the United States and other nations.

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“Our work on behalf of refugee policies is informed by our own experience during the Holocaust when many Jews and others sought refuge from the horrors of Nazi Germany only to find the doors of multiple countries, including our own, closed to them,” said the Federation statement. “At least some of this refusal must be attributed to anti-Semitism — the stereotyping and vilifying of Jews based on their religion or perceived race, in a manner all too similar to present day efforts to stereotype and demonize Muslims.”

The Holocaust Museum said the order is “discriminatory and incompatible with American values”: “As an institution whose mission is to teach the history and lessons of the Holocaust, we know only too well what happens when people stand idly by in the face of injustice. The extreme damage executed with the stroke of a pen should remind us all of the fragility of our liberties and the need to remain vigilant.”

The JCRC noted that accepting refugees is consistent with both Jewish tradition and American values. JCRC writes, “Except for a few isolated incidents, throughout our history, the United States has been a beacon of hope for persecuted people…We should be doing more, not less, to offer safety and a new beginning to these families who lost everything and want nothing more than to live in peace. We cannot betray some of our country’s most basic values.”

While noting that the nation faces legitimate security concerns, each statement criticized the executive order’s approach. 

Read the full Jewish Federation statement online at

Read the full JCRC statement online at:

Read the full Holocaust Museum statement: