Nobody Wanted to Take Us In: Lizzy Ratner in The Nation and on Democracy Now

Nobody Wanted to Take Us In

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Lizzy Ratner was interviewed by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! today about her beautifully written and powerful piece, Nobody Wanted to Take Us In: The Story of Jared Kushner’s Family, and Mine in The Nation where she is a Senior Editor.


The piece begins:

In my aunt’s house, in the bedroom where 
I’ve often slept, there’s a framed photo of a ship’s manifest that I love to stare at. The ship was the RMS Aquitania, a Cunard ocean liner with an inky-black hull that was famous for its four smokestacks; its picture hangs in the bedroom, too. I can spend long minutes looking at these photos, first the ship, then the manifest, with its clutter of blocky print that draws my eyes up, down, and across the page until they finally settle on the name I’m always looking for: Ozcar Ratowzer. The print tells me that he was a worker from the town of Bialystok in Poland. If I trace down the column labeled “race or people,” I come to the word “Hebrew.”

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Although the interview on Democracy Now! wasn’t long, it was powerful.

Amy Goodman, referring to The Nation article:

You quote the head of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, HIAS, [Mark Hetfield] who says, ‘The way we describe ourselves is that we used to resettle refugees because they were Jewish; now we resettle refugees because we are Jewish.’

Lizzy Ratner:

“There’s another amazing quote I just want to end with. Mark Hetfield also said, you know, ‘For us to come here, for us’—and he’s referring to Jewish people at this moment. But for Jews to say, We’re here now. It’s OK to close the doors on other people, is morally reprehensible.’  And I don’t think I could have ever said it better.”


I couldn’t agree more. It is a beautiful thing that is opening up in the face of all this darkness. To see African-Americans fighting for Latinos fighting for Jews fighting for Muslims fighting for Christians fighting for Native Americans – and leading the way are women – is an amazing thing like nothing I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. We all understand that this is not for fame or fortune or ego. We all understand that this fight is a fight for life itself.

We understand that if we lose this fight there may not be another one.

And we understand that if any of us lose we all lose.

We understand that everything – everything – is on the line.

And we understand that our only hope lies in complete solidarity.

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Each day love gets stronger.

Can you feel it?

Can you feel it?

Love wins. Never doubt that.

Never.

Love wins.

LOVE WINS.

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