Jewish Involvement in Contemporary Refugee and Migrant Organizations — Part Two

Editor’s note: Andrew Joyce has been permanently banned from Twitter for posting some of these names—just the names, no comments. He was also paid a visit by the UK thought police as a result of those posts. Because of new software, he has been unable to start an account even other pseudonyms. 

Go to Part 1.

Jewish Representation in Secular Contemporary Refugee and Migrant Organizations.

In contrast to the modest overrepresentation of Jews in anti-immigration groups (around 5%), Jews are nothing short of prolific in influential senior roles in contemporary refugee, asylum, and pro-migration organizations. Significantly, Jews occupy the leadership of all four of the largest and most influential (and nominally secular) organizations active in America today, the International Rescue Committee (President and CEO David Miliband), Refugees International (President Eric P. Schwartz, formerly of HIAS), International Refugee Assistance Project (Director Becca Heller), and Human Rights Watch (Executive Director Kenneth Roth, and Deputy Directors Iain Levine and Fred Abrahams).

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is one of the most significant organizations bringing migrants to the United States. In their countries of origin, refugees and their families are assisted by the IRC to prepare their cases to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), compiling personal data and background information for security clearance. Once their cases are approved, refugees are usually greeted at the airport by case workers from the IRC. The IRC then provides these migrants with a home, furnishings, food, and any other assistance that might be required. The IRC operates 27 offices across the United States, each offering food, housing, educational, and medical assistance. It also works closely with the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Division of Refugee Assistance, which was reported in August 2018 as quietly removing its staff directory page. Consultations with the Internet Wayback Machine revealed the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to be one Carl Rubenstein, an alumnus of Tel Aviv Law School. In 2017, the IRC, in conjunction with Rubenstein’s ORR, resettled more than 51,000 migrants to the United States, and is currently a staunch lobbyist against current restrictions imposed by President Trump.

(Clockwise) Eric P. Schwartz, David Miliband, Iain Levine, Becca Heller, Kenneth Roth, Fred Abrahams)

Jews are very prominent in the leadership of the IRC. In addition to President and CEO David Miliband, there are at least 30 Jews in senior positions within the organization including Morton I. Abramowitz (Overseer), Madeleine Albright (Overseer), Laurent Alpert (Board Member), Clifford Asness (Board Member), Betsy Blumenthal (Overseer), Alan Batkin (Chairman Emeritus and Board Member), Michael W. Blumenthal (Overseer), Susan Dentzer (Board Member), Evan G. Greenberg (Overseer), Morton I. Hamburg (Overseer), Leila Heckman (Overseer), Karen Hein (Overseer), Marvin Josephson (Overseer),Alton Kastner (Overseer and former Deputy Director), Henry Kissinger (Overseer), David A. Levine (Board Member), Reynold Levy (Overseer), Robert E. Marks (Overseer), Sara Moss (Overseer), Thomas Nides (Board Member), Susan Petricof (Overseer), Gideon Rose (Overseer), Thomas Schick (Chairman Emeritus and Board Member), James Strickler (Overseer), Sally Susman (Board Member), Mona Sutphen (Board Member), Merryl Tisch (Board Member), Maureen White (Board Member), Jonathan Wiesner (Chairman Emeritus and Board Member), William Winters (Overseer), and James D. Wolfensohn (Overseer).

The Board of the IRC is comprised of 30 individuals, 12 of whom are Jewish, giving a Jewish representation at senior board level of 40%. The Board of Overseers consists of 78 individuals, of whom at least 25 are Jewish, giving a Jewish representation at this level of just over 32%. Since Jews occupy the position of CEO at the IRC, as well as 40% of the senior board and 32% of the lower board, it would be reasonable to assert that they enjoy a dominant role within the organization.[1] This dwarfs any Jewish representation seen in anti-immigration groups.

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) came to national prominence when Director Becca Heller brought a class action suit against Trump’s January 2017 travel ban on individuals from certain Muslim countries. Heller, who has described herself as an “intensely neurotic Jew,” was active from the very earliest airport detentions, and was assisted by former Yale law professor Michael Wishnie, also Jewish and a former member of Jews for Economic and Social Justice. Wishnie assembled “a group of students to draft a class action suit to represent not just IRAP’s two clients but anyone who had been detained.” The case was later also supported and taken up by the Immigrant’s Rights division of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) at the direction of its two Deputy Directors, Lee Gelernt and Judy Rabinowitz, both of whom are Jewish. At IRAP, there are three Jews on the board of the International Refugee Assistance Project: Jon Finer, David Nierenberg, and Carl Reisner. The board consists of 12 members, giving a Jewish representation of 25%. Aside from the board, other influential positions in the organization are held by Jews, including Deputy Legal Director (Lara Finkbeiner), and legal fellow (Julie Kornfeld). Again, this is significantly greater than any Jewish representation seen in anti-immigration groups.

Lee Gelernt & Judy Rabinowitz

Heller’s cause has very recently been taken up by what the New York Times has euphemistically been called “Big Law” but what is in fact a large number of Jewish legal conglomerates based in New York. Of these, the most significant is Paul Weiss in Manhattan, led by Brad S. Karp, a Director of the American Friends of The Hebrew University and prize-winner from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Karp, whose previous political adventures have included activism for homosexual marriage, has offered his company’s services pro bono, via counsels Emily Goldberg and Steven C. Herzog, to Gelernt and Rabinowitz in order to obstruct Trump’s anti-immigration measures, with Gelernt telling the New York Times that Karp’s help was “indispensable.”

Refugee organizations are also reliant to a great extent on legal assistance provided by “immigrant’s rights” organizations. Here too, Jews appear to be overrepresented by a large margin. For example, Jews comprise just over 14% of overall listed staff at the National Immigrant Justice Center, and dominate the most senior positions. These include Director of Policy (Heidi Altman, former legal director for the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition), Associate Director of Legal Services (Ashley Huebner), Director of Litigation (Charles Roth), and Associate Director of Litigation (Keren Zwick). Maria Blumenfeld, a former senior lawyer for NIJC departed the group for another, almost identical organization, named Equal Justice Works, the Director of which is David Stern, also Jewish. Another interesting organization is The Immigrant Defense Project. Of the 15 listed senior staff, at least four are verifiably Jewish (Development Director Ariadna Rodenstein, Senior Staff Attorney Genia Blaser, Supervising Attorney Marie Mark, and Supervising Attorney Andrew Wachtenheim). This is a Jewish representation at senior level of over 26% – significantly greater than any Jewish representation seen in anti-immigration groups. Of the five members of the Immigrant Defense Project’s Advisory Board, one, Peter Markowitz, is Jewish. Markowitz is also listed as founder and director of the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic and a “George Soros Justice Fellow and staff attorney at the Bronx Defenders from 2002 to 2005,” where he “developed the nation’s first in-house full-service immigration project housed in a public defender office.” New Hampshire’s “Best Immigration Lawyer” is the Jewish Ron Abramson.

At the National Immigration Law Center, 18.5% of its staff lawyers are verifiably Jewish, and the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project is under Jewish Presidency (Ty Frankel) and 26% of its board is Jewish (Frankel, Ira Feldman, David Androff, Nathan Fidel, and Andrew Silverman). The Immigrant Legal Resource Center was founded mostly via the efforts of Jewish lawyer Mark Silverman, described here as “one of the very first movement lawyers helping DREAMers.” Its board is under Jewish chairmanship (Lisa Spiegel), and its Executive Director is Eric Cohen, also Jewish. One interesting member of its senior staff is Rose Cahn, also Jewish, who is a former Senior George Soros Justice Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Cahn specializes in what she calls “post-conviction relief for immigrants,” which is rather florid way of saying that she specializes in helping foreign criminals get into, and remain in, the United States. Other senior staff members include Donna Goolub and Sara Feldman, a Jewish woman who nevertheless managed to become Migration Policy Advisor to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a fact that sheds some light on how that organization became rabidly pro-migrant.

Another organization providing legal support for the pro-immigration lobby is the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Right’s Under the Law. Of its six most senior staff, three are Jewish (Jon M. Greenbaum, Lisa Bornstein, and Samuel Weiss). One of its most senior lawyers is Ezra Rosenberg, a veteran in the multicultural cause who has worked variously to challenge racial profiling by police, to stop requests for voter ID among certain ethnic groups in Texas, and to advance school desegregation in North Carolina. A further interesting organization is the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, where two members of the board of 12 can be verified as Jewish (Dave Heiner and Sara Litt), a representation of 16%, and staff attorneys include Jews Elizabeth Eisenberg, Jenna Golan-Streib, Rachel Rubinstein, and Jordan Wasserman. At the Asylum Advocacy Project, two of the five members of the advisory board are Jewish (Dani Isaacsohn and the above mentioned Michael Wishnie), and its list of donors appears to be at least 40% Jewish.

The Director of Refugee Council USA is Naomi Steinberg. The Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union is the Jewish feminist Donna Lieberman who includes among her ongoing activities “resisting the Trump regime’s attack on immigrant children and refugees,” while its Legal Director is Arthur Eisenberg. The American Immigration Council is under the Jewish Directorship of Beth Werlin, its Research Director is the Argentinian Jew Guillermo Cantor (see a great example of his propaganda here), and its Policy and Media Director is Royce Bernstein Murray. The area director for Refugee Services of Texas in Austin is the Jewish Erica Schmidt-Portnoy. Schmidt-Portnoy has described the recent 80% decline in the number of refugees being resettled in Texas as “hard to watch.” Meanwhile, another Portnoy, Diane Portnoy, Jewish founder and CEO of The Immigrant Learning Center, has demanded that Massachusetts should welcome more Syrian refugees. A similar organization is the Open Avenues Foundation, which has the stated goal of “helping foreign nationals build their unique path to thrive in the United States.” The founder and executive director of Open Avenues is Danielle Goldman, also Jewish.

Jewish lawyers, occasionally acting alone or as part of small firms, are also disproportionately represented as major immigrant and asylum advocates. One good example in this regard is Susan J. Cohen, founder and Chair of Mintz Law’s Immigration Practice. Cohen was involved in contributing to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations implementing the Immigration Act of 1990, and has won awards for her political asylum work from the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project (of which she is now President). PAIR “provides free immigration services to indigent asylum seekers and detained immigrants.” In 2017, Cohen led a Mintz team that worked with the ACLU of Massachusetts and others to obtain a temporary restraining order on President Trump’s travel ban.

Cohen also advised the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in drafting the legislation which resulted in the Massachusetts Global Entrepreneur in Residence (GEIR) program, which enables tens of thousands of non-White foreign students to stay in Massachusetts if they merely indicate they might start a company. Cohen co-developed the project with another Jewish lawyer, Jeff Goldman. Goldman describes himself as “a leader in immigration policy” and “chairs Governor Charlie Baker’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants.” Goldman and Cohen, like Carl Rubenstein at the Office of Refugee Resettlement, are illustrative of a remarkable Jewish talent for acquiring key government positions in the areas of immigration and refugee resettlement. Another useful example is Mark Greenberg, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute and a former senior administrator at Rubenstein’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. Yet another very notable Jewish lawyer is Michael Kagan. Kagan led a campaign to ensure changes to refugee status determination (RSD) procedures by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) that would result in more migrants attaining official refugee status, thus improving their chances of getting asylum or visas in the West. Kagan is co-director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Boyd School of Law, which offers free legal aid to all immigrants.

The record of Jews as immigration judges is also quite remarkable. Detailed statistics for most senior immigration judges are available online. One example is Judge Raisa Cohen, New York Immigration Court. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch appointed Cohen to begin hearing cases at the court in March 2016, but Cohen had previously decided on asylum cases as assistant chief counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in New York. During the period 2013-2018, Cohen is recorded as deciding 572. Of these, he granted 470 and denied 102. Converted to percentage terms, Cohen denied 17.8 percent and granted 82.2 percent. Compared to Cohen’s denial rate of 17.8 percent, nationally during this same period, immigration court judges denied 57.6 percent of asylum claims. Many asylum seekers in New York are provided with free legal aid by organizations like Central American Legal Assistance (CALA). CALA has a board of ten people, five of whom can be confirmed as Jewish (Lisa Reiner, Anne Isaak, Zachary Sanders, Harry Shulman, and Ellen Wachtel).

Another example, Judge Leonard Shapiro of Boston, is equally illustrative. Shapiro was appointed as an Immigration Judge in December 1990, and was coauthor of the 1988 Edition of The American Immigration Lawyers Association Textbook and the 1995 Edition of The Immigration Judge Benchbook. Shapiro was also the chairman of the Immigration Law Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association in 1990 prior to his appointment. During the period 2013-2018, Shapiro is recorded as deciding 160 asylum claims. Of these, he granted 113 and denied 47. Converted to percentage terms, Shapiro denied 29.4 percent and granted 70.6 percent. Again, nationally during this same period, immigration court judges denied 57.6 percent of asylum claims.


Jews feature prominently among the top immigration lawyers in Canada. In Nova Scotia, Lee Cohen “has become a leading light in immigration and human rights law” since “his representation of 174 Sikhs who landed in Shelburne in the summer of 1987.” Cohen now recalls: “Nobody was for immigration,” he says. “Nobody wanted refugees. I felt I was one of the very few people struggling to open the eyes of our community to something that needed to be talked about. We had the opportunity to bring people to Canada — people who would help build our prosperity and our nation, but who also needed to be here. So I dedicated myself to refugee and immigration law.” Cohen went on to found the Halifax Refugee Clinic, and has “served as a mentor to a new generation of immigration law professionals, who are helping him push for changes in the system.” Halifax Magazine has described Cohen as “the face of immigration law in Nova Scotia.”

Montreal’s most prominent immigration lawyer is David Cohen. Cohen is the founder of, and sits on the Leaders’ Roundtable on Immigration of the Conference Board of Canada. He has appeared before a number of Canadian Government Parliamentary Committees on immigration issues, where he “has been actively working with government authorities to educate stakeholders about the finer points of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).” This took the form of vocal opposition to the Conservative government’s proposed legislative changes, which would restrict migration. Meanwhile, one of Toronto’s “Premiere” immigration lawyers is the Jewish Shelley Levine, who has represented thousands of refugees and asylum seekers in Canada’s immigration courts, and regularly prepares appeals to the Refugee Appeal Division and attends before the Federal Court Trial Division where he argues Judicial Review cases of negative immigration decisions.

The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) introduced its Immigration Law Section Award of Excellence in 2009, and has since given the award seven times. Of these, Jews have been recipients three times (2009 – David Matas, senior legal counsel of B’nai Brith Canada; 2011 – Gary Segal; and  2015 – Lorne Waldman). Waldman, who often waxes lyrical about his Jewish background, has been described by Canadian Lawyer as among the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada, and as the most influential refugee and immigration lawyer in the country. In 2013, the award was given to the founders of the Immigration Law Section of the CBA – Mendel Green, Cecil Rotenberg, Barbara Jackman, Marshall Drukarsh, Charles Roach, Gary Segal, Carter Hoppe, Steve Abrahams, and Donald Greenbaum. Clearly most, if not all, of these individuals are Jews. Jewish lawyers are also very well represented on the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, including Edward E. Aronoff, Gregory Cohen, Jeffrey Kushner, Shereen Benzvy Miller – Deputy Chair of the organization, Jonathan Rozenstein, Jaclyn Wasserman, Claire Wittenberg, and Marie-Claude Yaacov.

Two of Canada’s most high-profile academic propagandists on behalf of increased immigration are Hugh Segal, an alumnus of United Talmud Torah Academy, and Maureen Silcoff. Segal is a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto and Principal of Massey College. He also served in the Canadian Senate as a Conservative from Ontario, which shows, if nothing else, that the term Conservative is now all but meaningless. Silcoff is an immigration and refugee lawyer, a former member of the Immigration and Refugee Board, and co-chair of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers litigation committee . In July 2018, Segal and Silcoff, along with an East Asian named Chen, teamed up to write a piece for the National Post titled: “Canada’s future prosperity depends on opening — not closing — our borders: We need higher immigration levels.”

Since Jews are estimated to be 1.2% of the Canadian population, we are again seeing not just overrepresentations, but extraordinary overrepresentations of Jews in the areas of immigration, refugee assistance, the promotion of multiculturalism.


In the UK, Jews have also been remarkably overrepresented in the development of pro-immigration policy. In 2000, Tom Steinberg, a British Jew who doesn’t appear to have expertise in anything but has been extraordinarily successful in gaining influence with British and American governments, penned a policy document for the Institute of Economic Affairs titled “Reforming British Migration Policy.” Among his arguments is the following:

The second advantageous aspect of allowing economic migrants into the UK is the cultural assets they bring with them, whether they be cuisine, music, science, literature, forms of social organisation or actual objects and resources. Britain has benefited an incalculable amount from imported practices, from chicken tikka masala to democracy itself. The dangers presented by nations which legislate to enforce cultural purity hardly need repeating. Britain is not about to go down such a path, but the lack of open migration channels means an inevitable retardation of cultural assimilation, with potential social and economic costs. The missed opportunities themselves are impossible to calculate, but we need only to note that the founder of Intel was a Hungarian born migrant to the US, or that Picasso received inspiration from African masks, to see the varying and potentially enormous opportunity costs that hindering cultural interaction could have. Had we had such strict migration policies in the past as we do today we can be sure that Britain would be a less rich place than it is. Our primary religion, much of our language, our beer and favourite foods all have strong foreign elements which could have been excluded by our current migration policies. [emphasis added]

Throughout the document are multiple references to speeches by Barbara Roche, Britain’s Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration, 1999-2001. Roche is also Jewish. In February 2016, a biography of Tony Blair, Broken Vows: Tony Blair — The Tragedy of Power (serialized in the Daily Mail), described Roche’s part in the deliberate encouragement of mass immigration into the UK during Blair’s time as Prime Minister. The Daily Mail, in its serialization, commented: “The most incredible revelations concern Barbara Roche, a little-known MP who was immigration minister between 1999 and 2001. During this period, she quietly adopted policies that changed the face of the UK … She changed the rules to allow more work permits to be issued, especially to people who would previously have been considered asylum seekers.” Stephen Boys Smith, who was then head of the Home Office’s immigration directorate, added: “It was clear that Roche wanted more immigrants to come to Britain. She didn’t see her job as controlling entry into Britain, but by looking at the wider picture in a “holistic way” she wanted us to see the benefit of a multicultural society.”

Tom Steinberg and Barbara Roche

Tom Steinberg and Barbara Roche

One of Britain’s foremost pro-migrant activists prior to the Roche years was Steve Cohen, a Jewish human-rights lawyer in Manchester. Cohen founded the Immigration Aid Unit, and was “politically opposed to immigration controls in their totality and took part in many anti-deportation and immigration campaigns both as a lawyer and a campaigner.” He founded the ‘No One is Illegal’ Group in September 2003, and penned a number of tracts with titles such as Imagine There’s No Countries and From the Jews to the Tamils: Britain’s mistreatment of refugees. Cohen described himself as a socialist, but his “open borders” ideological is mirrored well by Bryan Caplan, a Jewish American capitalist economist described by both The Atlantic and Vox as one of the world’s leading proponents of the open borders position. One of Caplan’s tracts is titled Why Should We Restrict Immigration?, something that could easily have emerged from the Cohen canon. Apparently differing widely in their economics, their shared ethnic origins emerge as the only significant connection. The UK’s Refugee Law Initiative, based at the University of London, was founded and is led by a Jew, Director David Cantor. Cantor previously worked at the Refugee Legal Centre, a London-based public law centre that provides free legal advice and representation to asylum seekers.


None of the above takes into account the equally prolific presence of Jews in what might be termed the “propagandistic” elements of the unfolding era of mass migration, or areas of activism in which Jews act explicitly as Jews (e.g. HIAS). These subject will require separate treatment and will form a later addition to what will undoubtedly become an extended series exploring the startling similarities in pro-migrant, pro-refugee Jewish activism. The intention of this essay is merely to act as an introduction to the themes, and to some of the individuals and groups involved, and to act as a corrective to the Cofnas default hypothesis, which ends all too abruptly and neatly with the assertion that Jews are simply prone to overrepresentation. We may reply, having surveyed the scene, that there are overrepresentations and then there are overrepresentations. There really is no comparison between Jewish involvement in anti-immigration politics, and Jewish involvement in pro-immigration politics. In fact, the only place on earth where one might find ample evidence of the former is Israel – a fact that damns the Cofnas hypothesis rather than supporting it.

To paraphrase Hamlet, we might say, when looking upon Israel, “Ay, there’s the rub!” Because if the Jewish interest in immigration and refugees is provoked, as we are so often told, by the Jewish historical experience, then it would appear that Jews are only willing to indulge this warped self-pitying nostalgia in lands other than their own. If the pro-refugee, pro-migrant craze is a Diaspora phenomenon, then the lands of the Diaspora have a problem. The practical realities of this problem are such that anti-immigration politics lacking anti-Semitic elements are doomed to failure. Jews are demonstrably providing the leadership, organisational capacity, money, and legal aggression that is driving the mass migration machine. This isn’t a conspiracy theory. The names and groups here can be checked and rechecked – they aren’t going to disappear, and the percentages won’t change.

It’s time to wake up.

[1] Another interesting qualitative aspect to board membership at the IRC is the high proportion of Jews with a background in corporate finance and banking.

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