The man who brought an AR-15 and two handguns into a synagogue during Shabbat services — a bris, no less — and began shooting at peaceful, praying, celebrating Jews, mentioned an organization called HIAS on his social media feed as making him particularly angry. People on the news seemed to have little knowledge of this group and what it does.
HIAS stands for Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. But the organization does not help only Jews. Far from it. It operates in Chad, Ecuador, Greece, Ukraine, just a few of the 12 countries where refugees need help. It has done extensive work at the US/Mexican border during the family separation crisis created by the trump administration. From its mission statement:
HIAS rescues people whose lives are in danger for being who they are.
We protect the most vulnerable refugees, helping them build new lives and reuniting them with their families in safety and freedom.
We advocate for the protection of refugees and assure that displaced people are treated with the dignity they deserve.
Guided by our Jewish values and history, we bring more than 130 years of expertise to our work with refugees.
This organization works with resettlement partners throughout the US to help refugees from countries like Somalia and Syria - the very countries to whom Dear Leader tries to close our borders. No wonder the shooter hated HIAS. He said HIAS was allowing them to "invade" our nation. I wonder if media claiming there was a caravan of people "MARCHING" towards our border may have validated this belief, hmmmmm? To this "alleged" murderer, Jews are vermin. Black and Brown people are invaders. but Jews helping Black and Brown people come here from other countries to live? Imagine the intensity of rage this induced to produce this slaughter.
HIAS is the oldest resettlement organization in the world, having been founded in 1881. Is that date familiar? It coincides with the pogroms in Russia, wherein Jews were beaten, murdered, and thrown off their land. The pogroms are the reason my family is in the US. The organization is still exists today to help those from countries all over the globe, forced from their lands because of who they are. Again, from the website:
Resettlement is a viable option for less than one percent of the more than 65 million people worldwide who were forced to flee their homelands due to persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, gender or sexual orientation.
Historically, the United States has been among the world’s leaders in refugee resettlement, and this work lies at the heart of HIAS’ mission in the U.S. We are one of nine primarily faith-based organizations partnering with the federal government to help refugees start their lives in safety in America.
And don't let the fact that the shooter didn't like trump mislead you into thinking trump's rhetoric and policies had nothing to do with encouraging and promoting this tragedy. The only reason he hated Dear Leader is that he wasn't "Dear Leader" enough.