Home News International Jews across U.S. join airport protests of Trump refugee ban

Jews across U.S. join airport protests of Trump refugee ban


DULLES, Va. (JTA) – The Israeli-born high-tech millionaire gathered his family after turning on CNN. The rabbi who leads an interfaith group got a text from a Muslim friend. The corporate lawyer was tracking a pro-bono email list she’s on. Within a few hours, all of them had descended on Dulles Airport, about 25 miles outside of the nation’s capital.

They were among the thousands of Americans who met at major international airports across the country Saturday to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order barring entry to citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries. In the plight of those refused entry, many Jews saw something akin to what their forebears endured as they attempted to flee Nazi-occupied Europe.

Some noted cruel irony in the president’s order coming down on Friday, which was International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Trump’s directive blocks for 120 days all refugees from entering the country, with an indefinite ban on those from Syria, and prevents for 90 days entry into the United States by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Chava Brandress, a corporate lawyer, said she belongs to a pro-bono legal listserv, and her email “began exploding” Saturday afternoon with tales of foreign nationals being detained after landing at Dulles. “I felt, ‘I can’t understand how this is happening again,’” said Brandress, 36, recalling how Jews, fleeing Nazi persecution, were turned away from U.S. shores.

At Dulles and the many other major airports where crowds gathered, protestors sang, chanted and, at one point, erupted in cheers when a New York judge placed a temporary stay on Trump’s refugee ban. That ruling prevented scores of refugees and other foreign nationals held by U.S. passport control in the wake of the executive order from being deported.

Hundreds also came together outside the Brooklyn Federal Court House, where Judge Ann Donnelly granted the emergency stay, with some chanting “Never Again” and holding signs that read “Never Again! Never is Now!” Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who argued the case, said afterward that he had never seen such a public show of support in his two decades in the field.

At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, protesters packed sidewalks and a parking structure outside Terminal 4. They carried placards slamming the executive order and chanting slogans, such as “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here.”

Hundreds gathered at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and demanded the release of 17 travelers who had been detained as a result of the executive order. They chanted “Let them in!” and held signs that read, among other things, “I am an immigrant” and “No Muslim ban.”

The co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin, was among those who joined the protest at San Francisco International Airport. In 1979, Brin’s family fled religious persecution in the Soviet Union and resettled in the United States with the help of HIAS, then known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

In the international terminal of Los Angeles International Airport, Rabbi Suzanne Singer, of Temple Beth El in Riverside, California voiced opposition to the executive order with hundreds of others. She traveled some 70 miles to be there.

“It’s an absolute outrage that we are keeping people from coming here for refuge,” Singer said. “My mother was a survivor from Auschwitz. As Jews, we know what it’s like to be persecuted.”

She added, “It’s certainly not Jewish values; it’s not American values” to ban people based upon religion.

Also at the Los Angeles airport protest was Gabriel Lobet, 18, who just hours earlier had been teaching a Hebrew school class about a Torah portion in which Abraham welcomes a stranger in his midst.

“A core value of my Hebrew school years, and being a bar mitzvah, is that we were strangers, immigrants in a new land,” Lobet said.

Nearby, Mana Rostami-Mouripour, a Muslim who emigrated from Iran when she was 15, was protesting with a Jewish colleague from the international NGO Human Rights Watch. She said she came fearing “that what happened in Nazi Germany and Rwanda and so many places will happen here.”

“I know people that may be separated,” she added.

Still, Rastami-Maripour said that “seeing the solidarity of so many of my Jewish brothers and sisters is comforting and gives us hope.”

At Dulles, Rabbi Jack Moline, the president of Interfaith Alliance, checked his phone following Shabbat to find a text message from a Muslim colleague. “Nice crowd,” she texted. “Come on down.” And so he did.

One woman at Dulles held up a large cardboard sign that said in English and Arabic, “I am a Jew. I am happy you’re in America.” A man in a kippah offered Arabic translations. An airport luggage cart was converted — thanks to scotch tape and a sheet of paper emblazoned with “Free Legal Assistance” in pink marker — into an ad hoc law office abutting the roped-off transit area for arriving passengers.

Tal Zlotnitsky’s sign read “Our Jewish family stands with Muslim refugees and Muslim Americans.”

Zlotnitsky, 43, his wife, Miri, and his son, Jacob, 14, had seen the protests at Dulles on CNN and joined. He said he came to the United States from Israel when he was 12. He overstayed his visa and now ran a data analysis firm.

“If we give up our core ideals,” he said, “that’s how the terrorists win.”

Daniela Gerson contributed reporting from Los Angeles. Deborah Kolben contributed reporting from Brooklyn, New York.

  • Michael Sherman

    Just as the election of Trump was brougt on by the incompetent and ineffective leadership of Barack Obama, this situation was brought to the U.S. by the weak, feeble, ineffectual, and inept leadership of Barack Obama who had 8 years to address the issue of Muslim terrorism and failed miserably.

    • time to move on folks, Obama is out. but you must be one of the loyalist Trumpists. BTW you failed miserably to include terrorism that occurred in the US prior to Obama. Guess it doesn’t fit into your agenda

      • Michael Sherman

        The only radical Islamic terrorist attacks on U.S. soil after 9/11 came when Obama was president. 13 in total. Apparently the truth doesn’t fit into your agenda.

        • wait, how many of those were from illegal refugees, how many of them were committed by Americans and how do the numbers compare to those killed by Americans with guns. Face it, you prefer alternative facts

          • Michael Sherman

            Answer your own questions. I know, you don’t have any answers. Face it, your ignorant.

          • have to talk down so people like you understand but the attacks are being done by americans who are being radicalized. dont see Trump banning people from Saudi Arabia where 9-11 attackers came from

          • Michael Sherman

            Didn’t see Obama banning people from Saudi Arabia where 9/11 terrorists came from, but saw him bowing to the Saudi king.

          • TerrorIsEvil

            Whether they are Americans, converts, Muslims, or others, they generally, except in rare exceptions, work in the name of islamic terrorism.

            So do we speak out against the ideology, the Mosques and schools, the Islamic countries, the NGOs, and the UN and EU that are behind Islamic terrorism?

            If so, then I do not hear you or any on the left-wing say anything about terrorism. You do have plenty to say and a lot of bellyaching over Trump and, when he was in power, Harper.

            Could it be, Jeff, that you are short on solutions and a weee bit heavy on blame for those who strive to find solutions and answers to difficult questions? A little too partisan perhaps??

          • everyone is partisan, you speak from a one note script, you hate everyone except your lilly white community

          • TerrorIsEvil

            I actually have a lot to discuss with you, Jeff, but it is hard to hold a conversation with a guy who has decided not to answer questions, not to tell us what he thinks (and why), cannot reason with anyone, and is unable to get outside his little bubble comfort zone – a problem many have inside the GTA.

            By the way, if that is not a picture icon of your girlfriend, you look just as lily white as I do. Fill me in if your dad was a 6’7″ guy with pansy dark skin.

        • Joe Q.

          What about the shooting at the El Al ticket counter at LAX in 2002? (Carried out by an Egyptian — Egypt is not on Trump’s list)

          • Michael Sherman

            Should be. The list should be extended to cover all those Muslims countries that have committed terrorist acts.

          • Joe Q.

            The fact that the list hasn’t been extended should prove to you that Trump’s move isn’t really about fighting terrorism.

          • Michael Sherman

            The fact that Obama had no list should prove to you that Obama wasn’t really fighting terrorism. Short list is better than none and can always be extended. Had Trump included all the countries that have committed or sponsored terrorism, you and your liberal ilk would be more apoplectic than you currently are.

          • TerrorIsEvil

            Egypt, under El Sisi (who Obama tried to undermine because of Obama’s love of the Muslim Brotherhood) is trying his best to stop terrorism, the other Islamic leaders are doing nothing or financing terrorism but I’d be for an overall ban from Islamic countries until they recognize the need to expunge antisemitism and terrorism from the masses and from within their mosques and schools.

        • Joe Q.

          Almost every single one of those attacks was perpetrated by a native-born US citizen. The others were perpetrated by citizens of countries that aren’t on Trump’s list. Remind me what Trump’s move is supposed to accomplish?

          • Michael Sherman

            Who cares whether they were native-born US citizens. The issue is that they are MUSLIM ISLAMISTS who hate Americans, which proves that it’s time to seriously vet Muslims entering the US.

          • Joe Q.

            The attacks were committed almost entirely by people who were not immigrants, therefore we need to clamp down on immigrants? Please explain the logic.

          • your comments reveal your true racist motives. You fail to answer the question. Trump’s ban will solve nothing because lot of the Muslim attacks in the US where from Americans

          • Michael Sherman

            All Muslims. Wonder where they got that practice from, eh? Islam!!
            You haven’t got a clue on how to address the problem of Muslim terrorism, preferring to act as an apologist and giving them a pass.
            That makes you the racist.

          • fact is none of the countries named by Trump has produced a terror attack…most were self radicalized and lived in the US, now how do you stop that? I have no idea but allowing everyone to lock and load does not work

          • Michael Sherman

            It’s inherent in the Muslim Islamic culture no matter if the Muslim was born in the US. Vetting and screening all Muslims who enter the country is just a good start. For homegrown Islamists, identifying those Muslim Islamist groups and organizations, mosques and schools that are promoting terrorism, arresting them, convicting them and jailing them.

          • TerrorIsEvil

            You make a good case for expanding the ban, Jeff!

          • TerrorIsEvil

            In case you have not seen the following stats, I have included them below. What’s important is that the people prevented from carrying out thwarted terror attacks in the world are almost entirely Muslims. Anyone who denies the connection between Islam and terrorism needs a lobotomy and soon!



          • TerrorIsEvil

            Look up the stats of teŕror plots thwarted and you will discover that most of them are Islamic and from Muslim countries. See:

            List of unsuccessful terror plots in the United States post-9/11 in Wiki. They represent only the USA and so global stats will reveal many more.

      • TerrorIsEvil

        This issue spans many decades and across all administrations. Again, I asked you what you would do about growing terrorism and the antisemitism that comes with Islamist refugees. You had no answer but I will give you a second chance now to formulate one. I gave you mine today under the other article.

        • there are no instant answers, have to admit and anyone who comes up with these are as smart as donnie

          • TerrorIsEvil

            It looks like you have had at least 60 years (enough time for sure) to figure out one or two answers to a few questions but, hey, what’s another 40 years!

            One thing you have figured out correctly is that being a member of the left-wing makes it real easy (it is like Politics for Dummies) to come up with platitudes, accusations, innuendo, propaganda and insults. It really does relieve one of having to think, research, understand and comprehend, doesn’t it Jeff?

          • Jeff

            the fact is, this is a very complex problem, not like wars in the past where it was country against country. this is people vs people and people are complex everywhere. Remember during WWII amidst the evil in Germany, there were Germans who saved Jews, there were Poles that refused to kill Jews. Years later you get a Jew killing his own PM and being applauded by zealots. You got Goldstein killing non-Jews and being praised. You got Muslims killing Muslims. The reason these nutcases can not be stopped is because they are the so-called lone wolves.

          • TerrorIsEvil

            You, like so many left-wingers, have a habit of taking the exceptions and creating the rules. When Jews do wrong, you make note and rub it into our faces over-and-over again. When you see Islamic terrorism and antisemitism which is killing hundreds of thousands of people and threatening all of Israel, you ignore and excuse it as individual exceptions that are not characteristic of a people – people who, by the way, are ordered by their holy books to behave exactly how the many terrorists in ISIS and Hamas and Hezbollah are behaving today.

    • Joe Q.

      You blame Barack Obama for Trump’s illegal, ill-considered, and ham-fisted immigration ban? When does the statue of limitations run out?

      • Michael Sherman

        No statue of limitations on history. It only applies in legal proceedings,
        idiot. Rather than pretending to understand legal concepts, why don’t you pretend to understand why the Democratic Party and its leadership got turfed.

        • Joe Q.

          I’m just wondering how long you’ll blame Barack Obama for everything Donald Trump does.

          • Michael Sherman

            I’m just wondering how long you’ll exonerate Obama for doing little or nothing about Muslim Islamist terrorism.

          • Joe Q.

            What do YOU think Obama should have done? Most of the Muslim Islamist terrorism that has taken place in the USA post-9/11 has been perpetrated by people born and raised there.

          • Michael Sherman

            So what if they were born and raised there. Their origins are Muslim and Islamist. He needed to identify those Muslim Islamist groups and organizations and mosques that were promoting terrorism and arrest them and convict them and jail them.

          • TerrorIsEvil

            Obama’s legacy, the Iranian nuclear program green light and removal of sanctions, the pro-Muslim Brotherhood foreign policy, the endless support for “Palestinians” he empowered to take over Israel through his UN decision among others, and his pro-Islamist top-down influence on government lingers…and, hey, Trump just took the reins on January 20th – give him a chance to correct the problems that Obama spent 8 long years engineering.

      • TerrorIsEvil

        As I asked Jeff, please tell us how you would stop terrorists from getting into America. We know your views on letting as many into the country as possible, but how do we prevent terrorism with such porous borders and a welcome mat stretched out to all who claim they are legitimate refugees? It is a serious matter so give it some serious consideration and not just jump on the leftist anti-Trump hate bandwagon.

        • Joe Q.

          Come on. No-one says we should let as many terrorists into the country as possible.

          How about thoroughly vetting every refugee claimant, regardless of national origin, rather than imposing blanket bans on some countries while ignoring others whose citizens actually have a history of brutal terror attacks against innocent civilians?

          Again, can you explain to me why it makes sense to ban all immigration from Iraq and Syria, whose citizens have not been linked to any attacks in the US, while continuing to allow immigration from places like Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt, whose citizens have carried out brutal terror attacks in the US and Europe?

          • TerrorIsEvil

            You have a point and that is why I would ban immigration from most terror hot-spots and a thorough vetting process for everyone entering the country regardless of religion – not run by Islamist plants in the immigration department as it happens in Canada.

            Canada is in big trouble because slowly the Islamist MPs plus MB and Iranian influence peddlers are infiltrating and making sure that their favorites get primary special access with lots of perks attached (left wing groups and media take care of the propaganda and guilt trips and, of course, George Soros with other billionaire-sponsored groups make sure that Canada follows their commands and wishes)

          • what perks? you really are so full of it with you right wing crap

          • TerrorIsEvil

            Perks = Special access that other refugees like the millions of suffering Africans do not have because they do not have the pro-Islamist left-wing focusing exclusively on them and their needs. There is more government money available for this special class of refugees and special flights arranged to bring them here; more and better accommodations and job opportunities than any other refugees in history (other refugees’ claims are being put on the back-burner as a result).

  • TerrorIsEvil

    Leftists illogically make themselves feel good by honoring and rewarding their enemies. They want to bring Islamists to America but in all these years they have never expressed any real protests against the Democratic Party or the UN for doing so little for Africans who are victims of Islamic terrorism. Africans are ignored because they are not Muslims are not connected to leftist/Islamist CAIR, JStreet and the other pro-terror groups.

    There is an ongoing love affair and a union now between leftists and Islamists which cannot be denied. The Left cynically use Muslims to advance their agendas – and that includes getting as many Islamists to America to vote for the antisemitic Democratic Party. No such efforts are being made to get millions of Africans into the US or Canada. Are leftists racists? Muslim rights is the sexy issue of the day despite the Islamic beliefs which, if followed to the letter, have no place for others nor for freedom in the way we think of freedom.