Both Donald Trump and His Critics Are Wrong about Immigration and Refugees

In issuing the recent restrictions on entry to the U.S., writes Tom Gross, the president has done much damage. But the hysterical reactions of his critics have not displayed much understanding, or ethical discernment:

The executive order is morally unacceptable (it amounts to collective punishment), strategically dubious (since many terrorists are home-grown or came from countries other than those seven), and was initially implemented in a confusing and clumsy way which caused [unnecessary] distress and uncertainty to many travelers, including U.S. residents, even if they were not in the end affected by the order. Additionally, it sets an anti-immigrant tone, when immigrants can hugely benefit their new countries. . . .

But whereas those protesting Trump are in many ways correct, the self-righteousness and double standards of some is troubling. . . . [T]he war in Syria descended into barbarity in part because President Obama encouraged the rebels, and the Sunni majority population of Syria who supported them, promising them arms and protection, and then abandoned them. Obama went on to release billions of dollars in funds to the Iranian regime, whose forces and Shiite militias in Syria have done much, if not most, of the killing there these past six years. The new funds helped the Iranians fuel the effort to cleanse Sunnis from Syria, leading many to seek sanctuary in Europe and beyond. While millions of people in America, Britain, and elsewhere have protested Trump’s refugee policies in just one week, they had little to say about Obama’s foreign policies over the last eight years. . . .

The Guardian’s Owen Jones helped promote last night’s “Emergency demo against Trump’s #MuslimBan” outside [the British prime minister’s residence on] Downing Street. But where was the protest when Israelis were banned from Malaysia and fifteen other Muslim-majority countries—including Yemen, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Iran, the same countries whose citizens will now face increased vetting before visiting the U.S.? . . .

Donald Trump’s start as president has not been good. But he may yet find creative ways to stop the refugee flow in the first place. He is reportedly in talks with the Saudis about setting up safe zones for Syrians inside Saudi Arabia (if not inside Syria itself), and limiting Iran’s “destabilizing regional activities” in the region. If this works, it could, in the longer term, be more significant in helping Syrians than anything that was done under Obama.

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More about: Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Immigration, Politics & Current Affairs, Refu, Refugees, Syrian civil war

The Democrats’ Anti-Semitism Problem Involves More Than Appearances

Jan. 22 2019

Last week, the Democratic National Committee formally broke with the national Women’s March over its organizers’ anti-Semitism and close associations with the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Also last week, however, the Democratic leadership gave a coveted seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to the freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar—a supporter of boycotts of Israel who recently defended her 2012 pronouncement that “Israel has hypnotized the world” to ignore its “evil doings.” Abe Greenwald comments:

The House Foreign Affairs Committee oversees House bills and investigations pertaining to U.S. foreign policy, and it has the power to cut American arms and technology shipments to allies. So, while the Democrats are distancing themselves from anti-Semitic activists who organize a march every now and then, they’re raising up anti-Semites to positions of power in the federal government. . . .

There is no cosmetic fix for the anti-Semitism that’s infusing the activist left and creeping into the Democratic party. It runs to the ideological core of intersectionality—the left’s latest religion. By the lights of intersectionality, Jews are too powerful and too white to be the targets of bigotry. So an anti-Semite is perfectly suitable as an ally against some other form of prejudice—against, say, blacks or women. And when anti-Semitism appears on the left, progressives are ready to explain it away with an assortment of convenient nuances and contextual considerations: it’s not anti-Semitism, it’s anti-Zionism; consider the good work the person has done fighting for other groups; we don’t have to embrace everything someone says to appreciate the good in him, etc.

These new congressional Democrats [including Omar and her fellow anti-Israel congresswoman Rashida Tlaib] were celebrated far and wide when they were elected. They’re young, outspoken, and many are female. But that just makes them extraordinarily effective ambassadors for a poisonous ideology.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Congress, Democrats, Nation of Islam, Politics & Current Affairs