Travel Ban Trumps

Obviously President Donald Trump’s much-publicised travel ban is unfairly broad and most likely ineffective, and even more likely a cynical attempt to play an easy hand to populism. That may go without saying. Even so, it is slightly odd, though not surprising, that the ban is being portrayed not as ‘halting travel from 7 named countries’ but as a “Muslim ban” when there are at least 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world and of course significant Muslim populations in many more and these are not covered by the ban. So, wrong-headed and unjust as it is, it is not a “Muslim ban” at all.

But this is a minor point and not a particularly interesting one. The one that interests me more is this one: Of the 7 countries named – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – six of them ban travel and/or ¬†immigration by Jews. Some specifically name Israel – and this includes anyone born in Israel, or has an Israeli visa, or has their passport stamped by Israel – but their policies far more resemble a ban on Jewish travelers and immigrants than Trump’s policy can be called a “Muslim ban”.

Yet I don’t recall anyone ever protesting in Trafalgar Square about this. What’s more, in defending the apparent rights of people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to the USA, I have yet to hear anyone even mention that these countries have their own Trumpesque travel bans actually directed at a religious minority.

Perhaps these people simply don’t know. Well, somebody should tell them. Of course, two wrongs never make a right, but there are at least two words for those who selectively target inequities. ‘Unprincipled’ is one.

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