Rohingya refugees walk on the muddy path after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 3, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
American Jewish leaders have called upon the Trump administration to aid the Rohingya Muslims currently fleeing Myanmar.
Robert Bank, CEO of the American World Jewish Service (AWJS), called on the government to end the systemic violence against the Rohingya people, send humanitarian aid, and do all it can to ensure that human rights fact-finding groups - including the UN - be allowed to enter Myanmar to investigate the situation.
In his statement, Bank invoked the Holocaust and the idea that Jews have a deep understanding of the horrors of genocide and of being a persecuted ethnic minority.
Separately, Torat Chayim (Living Torah), a group of liberal Orthodox rabbis, called on the Trump administration to protect the Rohingya and exert diplomatic pressure on Myanmar. Like Bank, the rabbis involved the Holocaust in their open letter, published in The Forward earlier this week, quoting Elie Weisel: ''Silence is the oppressor, never the oppressed.''
The Rohingya are an unrecognized Muslim minority in Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma. They are stateless, with Burma having denied them citizenship by a 1982 law. They are considered one of the most persecuted minority groups int he world, and many Rohingya claim that the government of Mynmar is attempting to ethnically cleanse the country by killing them and forcing them out. As a result, those who can have fled to neighboring Bangladesh, a Muslim-minority country.