Echoing Jewish groups, Obama likens Syrian refugees to Jews fleeing 1930s Europe

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Echoing a slate of Jewish groups, President Barack Obama likened Syrian refugees to Jewish refugees in the 1930s.

“Scripture tells us, ‘For we are strangers before you, and sojourners, as were all our fathers, we are strangers before you,’” Obama said Tuesday at a naturalization ceremony at the National Archives.

“In the Mexican immigrant today, we see the Catholic immigrant of a century ago,” Obama said.

“In the Syrian seeking refuge today, we should see the Jewish refugee of World War II,” he said. “In these new Americans, we see our own American stories — our parents, our grandparents, our aunts, our uncles, our cousins who packed up what they could and scraped together what they had.”

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A range of Jewish groups, including those representing all the major Jewish religious streams, have recalled Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe denied entry into the United States in calling on the government to allow in refugees from Syria’s civil war.

Obama, who plans to bring in 10,000 Syrians over the next year, praised the Jewish groups for their support at White House Hanukkah celebrations earlier this month.

Most Republicans oppose the refugee resettlement.

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