If you were Prime Minister of England or President of America in 1940, what would you have done if you received the following letter:
"We beg you to accept, after proper security vetting, refugees from murder, and provide them with the refuge, as you have already done for the small number who have already reached your border.
"We are persecuted by a regime who is your bitter enemy - we are your allies. We do not doubt your right to choose who you want to accept and who not, and your policies towards economic refugees cannot be criticized. We, however, are in a different category.
"Your proposed change in policy makes no distinction between people who try to come here for economic reasons - to better their material life - and those who come here as a result of widespread murder, rape and torture. We cannot go back – we have no homes to go back to and return means certain death. The policy change now proposed will present us who beseech you for refuge with no choice. You will return us to torture and death.
Your fear of being swamped by refugees is unfounded, as the number of persecuted still able to flee is limited, and the possibility of safe passage to your borders is rare."
Would you open the doors to Jewish refugees? Or would you keep out Jews based on security reasons, fear of economic depression, or other reasons?
Hindsight being 20-20, and blood relationships being what they are, I suspect all of you would act to take in as many Jewish refugees as possible. And you'll rip me apart for even thinking otherwise.
Flash forward to 2008. The Prime Minister of Israel got nearly the identical letter yesterday, as the Jerusalem Post reports:
Southern Sudanese beg Israel to accept them as refugees
By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
During a period in which the Knesset is trying to impose harsh penalties on border infiltrators - including refugees from the genocide in Darfur - another group of Sudanese are lobbying the government for recognition as refugees from a genocide that has killed at least 1.9 million civilians.
Majier Pap, a representative of southern Sudanese refugees living in Israel, has sent a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asking that Israel "accept, after security vetting, refugees from genocide from southern Sudan, and provide them with the same status that the 500 Darfuris were - rightly - given."
"We are South Sudanese, mostly Christians, persecuted by a regime of Muslim fundamentalists, who are bitter enemies of Israel - we are, to all intents and purposes, your allies," he wrote. "We do not doubt the right of Israel to choose who it wants to accept and who not, and your policies towards economic refugees cannot be criticized. We, however, are in a different category."
In his letter, Pap addressed a recent Knesset bill that would impose hefty prison sentences on all those who infiltrate the Israel-Egypt border, with especially tough sentences reserved for those coming from enemy states, such as Sudan.
"Those who propose the law make no distinction between people who try to come here for economic reasons - to better their material life - and those who come here as a result of genocidal persecution," he wrote. "Hostilities are being renewed now on the borders between North and South Sudan. We cannot go back, and the law now proposed will present us with a choice of jail, deadly persecution in Egypt, or death at the hands of the Sudanese government. Your fear of being swamped is baseless, as the number of southern Sudanese in Egypt is limited, and the possibility of crossing the Sinai is extremely difficult and life-threatening."
Fighting between southern Sudanese, who are mostly Christians and the North, which is dominated by the Khartoum-based Islamist government, has continued and observers are concerned that it is escalating, despite of a US-brokered peace agreement in January 2005.
The US government estimated that more than two million civilians in the South have been killed under the auspices of the Khartoum government, and the 2002 Sudan Peace Act accused the government of carrying out genocide. An additional four million southern Sudanese - around 80 percent of the region's population - were displaced during the conflict, with at least half a million fleeing to the surrounding countries.
Haredi rabbis have already come out against granting refuge to these people. So have national Religious rabbis. So has much of the right and center of Israel's Knesset, religious or not.
So what would you do? Send these people back to their deaths? Turn a blind eye as Egyptian soldiers shoot them down a few feet from the Israeli border?
Is the "purity" of the Jewish people and the fear of possible future intermarriage more important than saving lives?
Every one of you who decides to turn these refugees away, to close Israel's doors in their faces, has no basis to criticize America, England, Switzerland, Canada or any other country for its behavior during the Holocaust.
You can't have it both ways.