US 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.