Interview: Tyler Levitan on the reaction to Trump’s racist proposal

donald trumpUS Presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s shocking declaration that Muslims should be banned from entering the USA has been widely denounced. Good. But some have pointed out that what Trump is proposing for America is already official policy in Israel. Read more.

Trump’s proposals have been widely criticized in Canada on the grounds that any proposal to exclude whole groups of people on racial, religious or ethnic grounds is, by definition, “racist”. Some have even called it “fascist”.

Encouragingly the voices of condemnation in Canada have included many Canadian Jews who see in Trump’s call an echo of “none is too many”- the shameful postwar Canadian policy aimed at blocking Jewish immigration.

But several Jewish commentators in Israel and the USA have pointed out that what Trump is proposing is already official policy in Israel.

Mairan Zonszein writing in the Israeli digital journal 972 Magazine was scathing. “Trump is no more racist than mainstream Israeli policy”, she observed, going on to mock Israeli politicians who pretended to be shocked by Trump’s proposal.

Philip Weiss, editor of US publication Mondoweiss, also chimed in on the hypocrisy of US politicians who criticize Trump while supporting the same policies in Israel:

American leaders left and right said that such policies are unconstitutional and counter to U.S. values. “Donald Trump is a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot,” said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. But Graham is a strong supporter of Israel which practices many of the very same policies that Trump wants the U.S. to implement.

I interviewed Tyler Levitan, Campaigns Coordinator of Independent Jewish Voices, for his views on Trumps proposal and on the reaction of Canadian Jews to it.


  1. 1- Thank you Peter for your kindness toward others, and thank you for sharing this
    2- Thank you Tyler, for your wise and kindness towards The Palestinians, although you are a
    3- Thank you GOD, that I’m here in Canada, (Canadian Palestinian) where all people are
    equals, and no one is above the law.
    4- When you look at that man’s face, you can tell how much hatred he is against Moslems
    5- What he said is not his personal opinion, but the U.S.A. Government’s policy., Maybe
    Obama doesn’t have the courage to say it, and that man is saying it on his behalf.
    6- If that man has a little bit of Humanitarian, he would not say that especially that we are
    in a season of Christmas and Honica feasts, where all religions are for peace and forgivness
    and not hatred.
    7- In our Quran -the holly book of Moslems- and the “285” paragraph of the first chapter GOD

    “The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord. As do the men of faith,each one (of them)believes in Allah, His angles, His books, and His messengers ‘we make no distinction (they say)between one and another of His Messengers”. And they say: “We hear, and we obey: (we seek)your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the end of journeys”.

  2. An excellent interview, Peter. I’m forwarding a note about it to my newly elected Liberal parliamentarian, along with an extract from your earlier recorded thoughts on why Liberal Irwin Cotler’s motion for creation of a “Jewish Month” failed to win parliamentary consent.

    The new Liberal government is off to a good start on many fronts, but needs to seriously rethink their reluctance to speak out against the Israeli government’s continuing human rights transgressions and violations of international law.

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