Moral dilemma

According to this story in the WaPo, some 2,000 refugees fleeing Sudan. From the WaPo, the basics:

Israel closed the door Sunday on a surge of asylum-seekers from Sudan’s Darfur region and from other African countries, the largest influx of non-Jewish refugees in the modern history of the Jewish state.Authorities announced that they had expelled 48 of more than 2,000 African refugees who have entered illegally from Egypt in recent weeks. Officials said they would allow 500 Darfurians among them to remain, but would deport everyone else back to Egypt and accept no more illegal migrants from Darfur or other places.

The announcement, raising new concerns over the refugees’ safety, heightened a debate in Israel over what responsibilities a nation created by survivors of genocide in Europe bore toward people fleeing mass killing in Africa.

The moral dilemma is expressed succinctly in the last sentence: what, precisely, is owed by the Jewish people of Israel to those who are themselves the target of Arab genocide? As are, of course, the Jews of Israel.

Those who feel qualified to give moral advice to Israel but don’t live there, well, perhaps they should first consider what their own nations have done with respect to refugees fleeing oppression. As with many things in this life, Jesus has the best answer. From Matthew 7:3, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Brothers and sisters, we here can ignore those logs in our eye with the best of them.

From a strictly legalistic point of view, Israel, as any sovereign nation would be, is within its rights to refuse entry to any but whom it chooses. But the world, properly, holds Israel to a moral standard that is much higher than that for other nations. Just as America is, also, held to higher standards. And should be.

No, I speak not of trumped-up charges of brutality at Gitmo. Such charges are made for theatrical purposes only. But America does fail in its moral duty every day we don’t admit any and all Cuban refugees who seek asylum. Israel fails, likewise, when it refuses entry to those who would likely be killed without mercy by Arabs in Sudan. This charge may be made with no hypocrisy, and in charity for both America, and Israel.

The standard is not what Sudanese Arabs would do. The standard is not what Egyptian Arabs would do. The standard is most certainly what God would have His chosen people to do. And, as the new Israel, what He would have those who follow Jesus Christ to do. It is the same. From Leviticus 19:

33″When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

“You shall love him as yourself.” Seems to me this pretty much covers it.


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