December 29, 2018/0 Comments/in Featured Articles /by Andrew Joyce, Ph.D.
Editor’s note: Andrew Joyce has been permanently banned from Twitter for posting some of these names—just the names, no comments. Because of new software, he has been unable to start an account even other other pseudonyms.
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Jewish Representation in Secular Contemporary Refugee and Migrant Organizations.
In contrast to the modest overrepresentation of Jews in anti-immigration groups (around 5%), Jews are nothing short of prolific in influential senior roles in contemporary refugee, asylum, and pro-migration organizations. Significantly, Jews occupy the leadership of all four of the largest and most influential (and nominally secular) organizations active in America today, the International Rescue Committee (President and CEO David Miliband), Refugees International (President Eric P. Schwartz, formerly of HIAS), International Refugee Assistance Project (Director Becca Heller), and Human Rights Watch (Executive Director Kenneth Roth, and Deputy Directors Iain Levine and Fred Abrahams).
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is one of the most significant organizations bringing migrants to the United States. In their countries of origin, refugees and their families are assisted by the IRC to prepare their cases to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), compiling personal data and background information for security clearance. Once their cases are approved, refugees are usually greeted at the airport by case workers from the IRC. The IRC then provides these migrants with a home, furnishings, food, and any other assistance that might be required. The IRC operates 27 offices across the United States, each offering food, housing, educational, and medical assistance. It also works closely with the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Division of Refugee Assistance, which was reported in August 2018 as quietly removing its staff directory page. Consultations with the Internet Wayback Machine revealed the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to be one Carl Rubenstein, an alumnus of Tel Aviv Law School. In 2017, the IRC, in conjunction with Rubenstein’s ORR, resettled more than 51,000 migrants to the United States, and is currently a staunch lobbyist against current restrictions imposed by President Trump.
ews are very prominent in the leadership of the IRC. In addition to President and CEO David Miliband, there are at least 30 Jews in senior positions within the organization including Morton I. Abramowitz (Overseer), Madeleine Albright (Overseer), Laurent Alpert (Board Member), Clifford Asness (Board Member), Betsy Blumenthal (Overseer), Alan Batkin (Chairman Emeritus and Board Member), Michael W. Blumenthal (Overseer), Susan Dentzer (Board Member), Evan G. Greenberg (Overseer), Morton I. Hamburg (Overseer), Leila Heckman (Overseer), Karen Hein (Overseer), Marvin Josephson (Overseer),Alton Kastner (Overseer and former Deputy Director), Henry Kissinger (Overseer), David A. Levine (Board Member), Reynold Levy (Overseer), Robert E. Marks (Overseer), Sara Moss (Overseer), Thomas Nides (Board Member), Susan Petricof (Overseer), Gideon Rose (Overseer), Thomas Schick (Chairman Emeritus and Board Member), James Strickler (Overseer), Sally Susman (Board Member), Mona Sutphen (Board Member), Merryl Tisch (Board Member), Maureen White (Board Member), Jonathan Wiesner (Chairman Emeritus and Board Member), William Winters (Overseer), and James D. Wolfensohn (Overseer).
The Board of the IRC is comprised of 30 individuals, 12 of whom are Jewish, giving a Jewish representation at senior board level of 40%. The Board of Overseers consists of 78 individuals, of whom at least 25 are Jewish, giving a Jewish representation at this level of just over 32%. Since Jews occupy the position of CEO at the IRC, as well as 40% of the senior board and 32% of the lower board, it would be reasonable to assert that they enjoy a dominant role within the organization. This dwarfs any Jewish representation seen in anti-immigration groups.
The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) came to national prominence when Director Becca Heller brought a class action suit against Trump’s January 2017 travel ban on individuals from certain Muslim countries. Heller, who has described herself as an “intensely neurotic Jew,” was active from the very earliest airport detentions, and was assisted by former Yale law professor Michael Wishnie, also Jewish and a former member of Jews for Economic and Social Justice. Wishnie assembled “a group of students to draft a class action suit to represent not just IRAP’s two clients but anyone who had been detained.” The case was later also supported and taken up by the Immigrant’s Rights division of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) at the direction of its two Deputy Directors, Lee Gelernt and Judy Rabinowitz, both of whom are Jewish. At IRAP, there are three Jews on the board of the International Refugee Assistance Project: Jon Finer, David Nierenberg, and Carl Reisner. The board consists of 12 members, giving a Jewish representation of 25%. Aside from the board, other influential positions in the organization are held by Jews, including Deputy Legal Director (Lara Finkbeiner), and legal fellow (Julie Kornfeld). Again, this is significantly greater than any Jewish representation seen in anti-immigration groups.