August 15 1940. Adolph Eichmann releases a memorandum instructing the resettlement of one million Jews a year for four years to Madagascar. The SS was to run the island. The Madagascar Plan predicted that many would die due to the harsh conditions.

April 15 2022. A letter in the Guardian from rabbis and members of the Jewish community to the UK government in response to Priti Patel’s memorandum instructing the illegal deportation of refugees to Rwanda:

‘It is particularly disturbing that such plans have been announced shortly before our community celebrates Passover, a festival where Jews recall our journey to safety from Egypt. As we prepare to read the story of Exodus, it is deeply unsettling that the government is seeking to deprive the opportunity of freedom to those fleeing modern-day tyrants.’

The Madagascar Plan was shelved in 1942 in favour of the Final Solution, but it was an important psychological step, according to historian Christopher Browning in his 1995 book The Path to Genocide.

READ MORE: ‘Processing’, ‘illegal migration’ and other signs of the UK’s fascistic descent'

Patel’s plans will fail. Her memorandum presupposes a legal challenge, which begs many questions, but cleverly makes sure the five year plan only begins after settlement of the case. In other words, never.

Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft doesn’t think it’ll work: ‘Evidence of a deterrent effect is highly uncertain and cannot be quantified with sufficient certainty to provide me with the necessary level of assurance over value for money’ he writes, washing his hands of the affair. 

The deterrent argument is spurious. Does Patel honestly think that people fleeing war, famine and genocide will be aware of her deal? Even if they are, will it stop them? Of course not. In the short term the announcement may even be a pull factor as people make ever more desperate attempts to exercise their human rights.

Outsourcing refugees or state-sponsored trafficking, as it should be called, doesn’t work either. Israel cut a similar deal with Rwanda. Most of the people deported to Rwanda under the scheme found their way to Europe. The US tried and failed to deport Haitian refugees to Guantanamo Bay. Australia replicated the US model, which also failed at great human cost. Australians have paid the victims $78 million in compensation. 

And those seeking refuge keep coming.

READ MORE: Rwanda policy breaches international law, UN refugee agency says as Welsh opposition grows

So what will Patel do next? They’ve tried funding the French police to disrupt the movement of people to no avail. There was tough talk of turning boats round and sending them out to sea. That hasn’t worked either. Now, having turned outlaw by ripping up the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, she has turned refugees into criminals.

Johnson is on the ropes. Council elections are days away and the Tories in the shires are desperate for something to lift their spirits after two years in the doldrums. What with partygate, rising costs of fuel and a proxy war in Europe, they don’t want any more uncertainty.

Above all, they want to feel safe in their beds. Safe from those who would come and do them harm; destroy their way of life. Or so they’ve been lead to believe.

What will Patel do next?

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