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Opinion

No, Trump's travel ban is not like the U.S. turning away the St. Louis refugees in 1939

To the editor: I found the op-ed article by Zev Yaroslavsky and Salam Al-Marayati, comparing the president’s travel ban with the United States’ and other countries’ refusal to admit Jewish refugees before World War II, to be both absurd and offensive. (“A Muslim and a Jew urge the Supreme Court to strike down the Muslim ban,” July 10)

Likening the refusal to allow the 900 German Jews aboard the St. Louis entry to the U.S. in 1939 to barring people from six predominately Muslim countries is a new and despicable version of apples and oranges.

There is no record of any Jew trying to escape the Holocaust having been accused of blowing up innocent people in restaurants, mowing down pedestrians with trucks or beheading anyone. Doubtless the vast majority of Muslims here and those wishing to come here are not terrorists, but history cannot be rewritten to equate an abominable act by the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration to anything happening today.

Naomi Feldman, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: The picture of German Jewish refugees, their faces filled with hope and joy upon reaching our shores, should be etched into souls of every American.

They were turned away by the United States government, most to face the gas chambers of the Nazis. That ignominious rejection of the persecuted must not be repeated.

We must assist as best we can all those who flee violence, especially since our own actions have helped to create the vio-lence they flee.

Victoria Mudd, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: Yaroslavsky and Al-Marayati get their analogy wrong.

First, there are at least 50 Muslim-majority nations in the world, the most populous of which is Indonesia. Hence this is not a “Muslim ban,” but a ban on immigration from six nations riven by civil war and terrorism.

Second, the ban is temporary and meant primarily to provide the United States with a way to vet these immigrants so we can be reasonably sure they do not wish to do our country harm. When President Roosevelt refused entry to 900 Jewish refugees aboard the St. Louis in 1939, the action was all too permanent: Most of the passengers were returned to Europe and killed in the Holocaust.

A better analogy would be a ship filled with passengers of uncertain origin, many of whom could be German agents. Roosevelt would merit no criticism for denying entry to such people. Using the logic of Yaroslavsky and Al-Marayati, we should have admitted immigrants from Germany throughout World War II.

A nation that cannot control immigration, even to the extent of excluding enemy agents, is not a nation at all. It is merely an area where disparate people happen to be living temporarily.

Daniel Stolar, Los Angeles

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