Trump Administration To Drop Refugee Cap To 45,000, Lowest In Years : NPR

A smaller percentage than others. USA already had far fewer refugees than others in 2016:

EU USA Canada Australia
2016 Population

510,100,000

323,100,000

36,290,000

24,130,000

Refugees resettled or granted asylum

720,000

84,994

58,910

17,955

Per capita percent

0.14%

0.03%

0.16%

0.07%

The Trump administration plans to cap the number of refugees the U.S. will accept next year at 45,000. That is a dramatic drop from the level set by the Obama administration and would be the lowest number in years.

The White House formally announced its plans in a report to congressional leaders Wednesday, as required by law.

The number of refugees the U.S. admits has fluctuated over time. But this cap is the lowest that any White House has sought since the president began setting the ceiling on refugee admissions in 1980.

Refugee resettlement agencies are disappointed with the 45,000 cap, which they say falls far short of what is necessary to meet growing humanitarian needs around the world. They had recommended a limit of at least 75,000.

Last year, the Obama administration set the cap at 110,000. Only about half that number have been admitted, after the Trump administration put the entire refugee resettlement program on hold under its travel ban executive orders.

“Churches and communities, employers and mayors, are heartsick at the administration’s callous and tragic decision to deny welcome to refugees most in need,” said Linda Hartke, the president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, one of largest resettlement agencies in the country.

The debate over refugees is often framed as a clash between humanitarian goals and national security.

But Trump administration also argues that the U.S. spends millions of dollars a year to screen and resettle refugees and to help them once they arrive.

“For the cost of resettling one refugee in the U.S., we can assist more than 10 in their home region,” President Trump said in a speech to the United Nations earlier this month.

Once they arrive, refugees qualify for many social services, including health care, food stamps and cash assistance. Many of those costs fall on state and local governments, and some states are pushing back.

Earlier this year, Tennessee took the federal government to court over refugee resettlement.

“The bottom line is the federal government is coercing the state of Tennessee to spend Tennessee taxpayers monies in ways that some individual Tennesseans disagree with,” Republican state Sen. John Stevens told member station WPLN in March.

But many mayors across the country see refugees as an economic boon for their cities.

“These people are paying taxes. They’re buying houses. They’re going into our schools,” said Stephanie Miner, the mayor of Syracuse, N.Y.

Miner, a Democrat, says refugees are helping revitalize the city’s north side, which was home to Italian and German immigrants before them.

Source: Trump Administration To Drop Refugee Cap To 45,000, Lowest In Years : NPR

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Rabbis ditch High Holy Days call with Trump – POLITICO

As Andrew Cohen recently argued, Trump’s Jewish advisers should stand up to him. Rabbis message should provoke reflection. As for the evangelical leaders still supporting Trump (the only council yet to have lost members or disbanded?), some signs of weakening support (Evangelicals Losing Faith in Trump After Racist Ranting):

A prominent coalition of American rabbis has decided not to hold its annual conference call with the president to mark Jewish holidays, citing Donald Trump’s remarks on the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, as supporting “those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia.”

“We have concluded that President Trump’s statements during and after the tragic events in Charlottesville are so lacking in moral leadership and empathy for the victims of racial and religious hatred that we cannot organize such a call this year,” the groups — the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbinical Assembly, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism — said in a statement.

The coalition represents the leaders of much of the U.S. Jewish community, with the exception of Orthodox Jews, who have been much more supportive of Trump. His daughter Ivanka and her family are Orthodox Jews. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

The call, which is organized by the Reform rabbis group CCAR, is a standard event for presidents each year. Rabbi Steve Fox, CCAR’s executive director, said former President Barack Obama participated in each year of his administration.

“These are religious issues, not political issues. It is important that the president steps forward as a moral leader on these issues,” Fox said in an interview. “As the leader of the U.S. and the leader of the free world, we believe it is his obligation to condemn these white supremacists.”

Fox said Trump’s response to the Charlottesville unrest — among other comments, the president said there were “very fine people” amid a crowd of white supremacists and neo-Nazis protesting in defense of a Confederate statue — put the celebration of the Jewish High Holy Days at risk.

“We pray that President Trump will recognize and remedy the grave error he has made in abetting the voices of hatred,” the group said. “We pray that those who traffic in anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia will see that there is no place for such pernicious philosophies in a civilized society.”

Trump has faced a barrage of criticism since the Charlottesville white supremacist rally that left one person dead. Trump has defended his response that “many sides” are to blame for the violence that ensued. At a campaign rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, the president accused the media of misrepresenting his response and read parts of his initial remarks, though he omitted the controversial language that seemingly placed blame on counter-protesters.

Most members on Trump’s evangelical council, meanwhile, have not distanced themselves from the president. A.R. Bernard, who once a member of the Evangelical Advisory Board, said on Friday that he resigned due to a “deepening conflict in values” between himself and the Trump administration.

Source: Rabbis ditch High Holy Days call with Trump – POLITICO

Steve Bannon’s Nationalism Is a Click-Scam Disguised as a Movement

Money quote (same applies to Rebel Media):

Second, nationalist populism isn’t a political philosophy or a real governing framework. It’s a con targeting the furious and the febrile, a Facebook click scam disguised as a movement. It’s nothing more than grunting, economically ignorant revanchism against a catalog of imaginary, opera-buffa villains. It requires a constantly expanding catalog of people to blame for an economy that changed more due to technology than a sinister cabal of brown people from faraway lands.

Source: Steve Bannon’s Nationalism Is a Click-Scam Disguised as a Movement

Cosmopolitanism, Trump and ignorance as a weapon: Buruma

Good piece on the historical antisemitism behind the word “cosmopolitan” and “cosmopolitanism:”

President Donald Trump’s administration has announced that it wants to cut legal immigration to the United States by half and favour well-educated immigrants who speak good English. When CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, the son of a Cuban immigrant, challenged Mr. Trump’s senior policy adviser Stephen Miller by stating that the United States traditionally welcomed the world’s poor, most of whom did not speak any English, Mr. Miller accused Mr. Acosta of “cosmopolitan bias.”

One wonders whether Mr. Miller had any idea of the historical use of cosmopolitan as a derogatory term. As the descendant of poor Jews fleeing Belarus more than a century ago, he should have.

“Rootless cosmopolitan” was the code phrase used by Joseph Stalin for Jews. In the early years after the Second World War, the Soviet dictator launched a campaign against Jewish intellectuals, scientists and writers who were accused of disloyalty to the Soviet Union and bias toward the West. Not considered to be part of the native Russian people, Jews were assumed to belong to an international cabal, and hence to be inherently treacherous.

But Stalin didn’t invent this idea. In the 1930s, Fascists and Nazis also denounced Jews, as well as Marxists and Freemasons, as “cosmopolitans” or “internationalists” – people whose loyalty was suspect. It is the kind of vocabulary that emerges from nativist movements that are hostile to ethnic or religious minorities, or to financial or intellectual elites who supposedly conspire to undermine the true sons and daughters of the nation.

To pre-war fascists, the United States was often regarded as the symbol of cosmopolitan decadence. The offensive use of cosmopolitanism, then, has a profoundly anti-American provenance.

One of the oddities of the Trump administration is that several of its main representatives have revived traditionally anti-Semitic rhetoric, even though some of them, like Mr. Miller, are Jewish. The chief ideologue of ethnic nationalism in the Trump Age, Steve Bannon, is a reactionary Catholic. He has a penchant for early-20th-century French and Italian fascist thinkers, such as Charles Maurras (of the Action Française) and Julius Evola, a sinister figure who admired Heinrich Himmler and worked for the German police during the Second World War.

But to see anti-cosmopolitanism as an especially Catholic pathology would be a mistake. The first offensive use of cosmopolitanism came as part of the Protestant rebellion against the Catholic Church. Rome, to Protestant rebels at the time of the Reformation, was regarded as the centre of a global “cosmopolitan” network which oppressed national aspirations. Traces of this prejudice can still be found in some opponents of the European Union, who see the EU’s Brussels headquarters as the new Rome.

It is unlikely that Mr. Miller, who grew up in a liberal family in California, is an anti-Semite. Perhaps his early attraction to right-wing extremism was a form of rebellion, too, albeit a rebellion that soon put him in the company of toxic allies. As a student at Duke University, he became friends with Richard Spencer, who would later become a promoter of “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to preserve white civilization, whatever that may be.

One thing that unites many of Mr. Trump’s followers – as well as right-wing populists in other countries, including Israel – is a shared grievance against Muslims and the liberal urban elites who are often accused of coddling them. When Mr. Miller speaks of cosmopolitan bias, that is probably what he means.

But distrust of Muslims is only part of the story. Social elites, liberal intellectuals, and critical journalists are the enemy of those who crave power but feel looked down upon by people who appear to be more sophisticated. This is not always a matter of social class. President George W. Bush, for example, despised American reporters who spoke French.

This, too, is not a new phenomenon. The upper classes in many societies often like to distinguish themselves from the common herd by adopting the language and manners of foreigners whose cultures were thought to be superior. European aristocrats in the 18th century spoke French. Modern English nationalism started as a revolt against this kind of foppery in the name of John Bull, roast beef, and Old England.

Not all populist rebellions are inherently racist or fascist. Democracy, too, was a product of resistance to aristocratic rule. But it is hard to believe that Mr. Trump, or his ideologues, like Mr. Miller or Mr. Bannon, are interested in expanding democratic rights, even though they pretend to speak for the common – or as they like to say – “real” people. Mr. Bannon, for one, is proudly anti-liberal. He is said to have described himself as a Leninist who seeks to destroy the state.

Still, let us give Mr. Miller the benefit of the doubt. When he uses cosmopolitanism as a curse, he has no idea of the term’s antecedents. The history of fascist, Nazi, and Stalinist anti-Semitism is unknown to him. The past does not really exist. He is simply an ignorant critic of what he sees as the liberal establishment. But ignorance can be as dangerous as malice, especially when it is backed by great power.

Source: Cosmopolitanism, Trump and ignorance as a weapon – The Globe and Mail

The Political Payoff of Making Whites Feel Like a Minority – New York Times

Interesting analysis of identity politics in action:

Nationality, race and ethnicity are a large part of identity for most people. Factors like this matter more for some people than others — and for some groups more than others — but a sense of group awareness or membership exists in varying degrees across all segments of American society.

Often it’s easy to see the signifiers of such group identity, in distinctive music, food or clothing, for example. But sometimes when symbols or language are co-opted, it is harder to spot. In 2015, Donald J. Trump’s “make America great again” and “build a wall” started out as simple but powerful slogans. As time went on, they became more infused with a specific meaning that symbolized the concerns and preferences of a substantial set of white Americans.

Mr. Trump’s appeals were a form of group politics or identity politics, and he continues to focus on threats to white identity as president.

Some Trump critics find his focus on whites as a group outrageous or counterproductive. But survey data suggest that many white Americans do feel threatened, and that they think there are policies that discriminate against them and should be changed.

Two examples of the president’s efforts and the underlying support for his positions illustrate these trends.

On Wednesday, he offered his support for a bill that would cut legal immigration to the United States in half, saying “this legislation demonstrates our compassion for struggling American families who deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first and that puts America first.” To achieve its goal, the plan would limit entry for some family members of American citizens and permanent residents.

In explaining how limiting the entry of relatives would put the needs of American families first, a White House policy adviser, Stephen Miller, said it was “common sense” that immigration was costing Americans jobs. He then suggested that the family members who would be denied entry under the proposal were largely low-skill workers who were taking jobs away from struggling Americans.

The claim about who, if anyone, suffers from the immigration of low-skilled workers is nuanced. Debate on the question is active. If people come to America because they have a relative living here, it does not mean by definition that they are low-skilled workers. Despite the difficulty of nailing down the effects of low-skilled immigration on American families, public opinion on the topic — at least for a particular set of Americans — may reflect the “common sense” Mr. Miller described.

In January 2016, the American National Election Study asked 875 white Americans this question: How likely is it that many whites are unable to find a job because employers are hiring minorities instead? On average, 28 percent of the white population thought it was extremely or very likely that white people could not find work because of minorities seeking those same jobs. Roughly half the white population thought it was at least moderately or slightly likely. Only 21 percent thought this was not at all likely.

Differences emerge across party lines, even among whites. Close to 20 percent of Democrats thought it was extremely likely that the prospects for white job-seekers would be threatened by the presence of minority workers, while 34 percent of Republicans (and 30 percent of independents) felt this way.

Among white Republicans and independents, an even greater divide becomes clear: White voters who preferred Mr. Trump to one of the other candidates in the Republican field were nearly twice as likely to anticipate white job loss to nonwhite workers (48 percent compared with 24 percent).

The survey also asked white people how important it was for whites to work together to change laws that are unfair to whites. On average, 38 percent said it was extremely or very important. Only a quarter thought it was not important at all — a category that presumably also encompasses people who thought no such laws existed.

These trends also help to frame President Trump’s other recent announcement that the Justice Department would be investigating college admissions procedures that might discriminate against white applicants.

The difference between white Democrats and Republicans on the importance of uniting as a group against discriminatory laws is only five percentage points, with Republicans believing it was more important than Democrats and independents.

The divide, however, among Republicans who preferred Mr. Trump in the primaries and those who chose someone else is overwhelming. Nearly 60 percent of Mr. Trump’s primary supporters thought organizing to change laws that are unfair to white people was extremely or very important. Only 15 percent thought it was not important at all to do so. Supporters of other G.O.P. candidates, on average, were about half as concerned.

The data show that race is less important to white Americans’ sense of self than to nonwhites — more white people say being white is not at all important to their identity relative to the numbers who say so in other groups. But Mr. Trump’s continued efforts to remind white Americans of their group status may increase the number of white people who think of themselves through a racial lens. It is one of the ways that his campaign and presidency may reshape public opinion and politics.

He is capitalizing both on an existing sense of threat among white voters and the opportunity to shape the way whites — because of their group membership — think of themselves.

In Blow to Tech Industry, Trump Shelves Start-Up Immigrant Rule – The New York Times

Building more opportunities for Canada and others:

The Trump administration said it would delay, and probably eliminate down the line, a federal rule that would have let foreign entrepreneurs come to the United States to start companies.

The decision, announced by the federal government on Monday ahead of its official publication on Tuesday, was quickly slammed by business leaders and organizations, especially from the technology sector, which has benefited heavily from start-ups founded by immigrants.

“Today’s announcement is extremely disappointing and represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the critical role immigrant entrepreneurs play in growing the next generation of American companies,” Bobby Franklin, the president and chief executive of the National Venture Capital Association, a trade association for start-up investors, said in a statement.

He added that even as other countries are going all out to attract entrepreneurs, “the Trump administration is signaling its intent to do the exact opposite.”

The policy being delayed by the Department of Homeland Security, known as the International Entrepreneur Rule, was to go into effect next week, after being approved by President Obama in January during his final days in office.

The rule was enacted to give foreign entrepreneurs who received significant financial backing for new business ventures the ability to come temporarily to the United States to build their companies. Silicon Valley leaders had praised the rule as a kind of “start-up visa.”

The department said it would delay the start date of the rule until March 14 of next year, during which time it will seek public comments on a plan to rescind the rule. The department said it decided to delay the rule after President Trump signed an executive order on improvements to border security and immigration enforcement on Jan. 25, shortly after taking office.

The order required the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to take action to ensure that “parole authority” — through which the department can temporarily allow individuals into the country without being formally admitted with a visa — be used only on a case-by-case basis and “when an individual demonstrates urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit derived from such parole.”

The International Entrepreneur Rule was designed to use that authority to effectively give a lift to start-ups. Under the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security estimated that nearly 3,000 entrepreneurs would be eligible to come to the United States annually under the rule. They were to be granted stays of up to 30 months, with the chance of extending the stays another 30 months if the entrepreneurs met certain criteria.

To qualify, they had to show that they had raised $250,000 or more for their businesses from established American investors or $100,000 or more in grants from government entities.

Steve Case, an investor who was a founder of AOL, blasted the decision on Twitter. “Big mistake,” he wrote. “Immigrant entrepreneurs are job makers, not job takers.”

Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Technology Association, a trade group representing the consumer technology industry, said the delay of the rule would damage American innovation and job creation.

“The 44 immigrant-founded billion-dollar start-ups now in the U.S. have created an average of 760 American jobs per company,” Mr. Shapiro said in a statement. “Without these immigrant entrepreneurs, it is unlikely America would stand as the beacon of innovation that it is today.”

Think the [US] Supreme Court Isn’t Inching Us Toward Trump’s Muslim Ban? Think Again – Dean Obeidallah

Tend to agree in terms of messaging:

The U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday reinstating a portion of President Trump’s Muslim ban is an alarming step to legitimizing anti-Muslim bigotry and possibly even one day legalizing discrimination against American Muslims. If you have any doubt, just check out Twitter, as self-professed Trump supporters cheered what they saw as being a first stepon the way to Trump’s declared goal of a “total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the United States.”

But why wouldn’t they rejoice, considering 65 percent of GOP primary voters support Trump’s call for a total Muslim ban? Yet we are told time and time again that Trump voters were motivated by “economic anxiety” not bigotry. It’s hard to even write that line without laughing

Yes, I understand that the Supreme Court’s decision is limited in scope and that even the liberal justices apparently agreed to it until the case is fully briefed and argued in the fall, but that doesn’t in any way reduce the concern that the message sent is that Muslims don’t belong in America. A message that Trump despicably made many times on the campaign trail and even after being sworn in as president.

For example, in addition to Trump’s call for a Muslim ban, he declared irresponsibly that “Islam hates us” and lied that “thousands” of Muslims cheered in New Jersey on 9/11. And as president, Trump has made it clear with his actions that American Muslims—as opposed to foreign Muslims who give him gold necklaces or help him make money—are not a part of his view of America.

As I pointed out last week, after the recent terror attack in London by a white anti-Muslim bigot who has since been charged with terrorism, Trump offered zero sympathy on Twitter for the Muslim victims. But after the London bridge terror attack just three weeks earlier that had been perpetrated by Muslims, Trump quickly took to Twitter to not just express condolences but to gin up fears of more terrorism.

And Trump recently amplified the message that he doesn’t view Muslims as fellow Americans as Ramadan came to a close on Sunday. You see, every president since 1996 has held a dinner during Ramadan in the White House to commemorate this holiday. George W. Bush even held one the Ramadan after 9/11 to send a message to Americans that Muslims are part of the fabric of our nation. But not Trump. The man—who, when he implemented his original Muslim ban, made an exception for Christian refugees while leaving Muslim refugees to die on the killing fields of places like Syria—would not be seen sitting with American Muslims in the White House.

The Supreme Court’s ruling distressingly confirms Trump’s message that Muslims are inherently dangerous and are not like the rest of us. And just so it’s clear, this is a Muslim ban. True, it’s not a total ban on every Muslims but it’s one grounded in anti-Muslim animus. And that’s not just my opinion, but also the view of the various federal judges who have examined it.

Source: Think the Supreme Court Isn’t Inching Us Toward Trump’s Muslim Ban? Think Again

Donald Trump defies calls to appoint envoy to combat anti-Semitism around the world | The Independent

Interesting that his issue is getting more widespread coverage (Jewish and Israeli media have been covering this extensively). Hard to understand the reluctance to appoint both the envoy and maintain the staff (one can make the argument, as Tillerson has, that special envoys let other officials off the hook but overall, the absence of an envoy and staff means a lower profile domestically and internationally):

Donald Trump has defied calls to appoint a special envoy to combat anti-Semitism across the world despite growing pressure from Jewish groups and Congress.

The two remaining staffers in the US State Department’s office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism are reportedly set to be reassigned next month, which will leave the branch completely unstaffed after 1 July.

Officials are yet to comment on the reported move, but insist they remain committed to fighting discrimination against Jews.

President Trump is legally required to appoint a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, a position created under former president George W. Bush.

Members of Congress from the Republican and Democrat parties have urged his administration to strengthen the office’s status in letters and proposed bills.

But earlier this month Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told them special envoys were not productive and said appointing one could weaken efforts to tackle anti-Semitism.

The US State Department said they had produced annual reports about human rights and religious freedom before the office was created in 2004, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency(JTA).

They told the JTA: “We want to ensure the Department is addressing anti-Semitism in the most effective and efficient method possible and will continue to endeavor to do so.

“The Department of State condemns attacks on Jewish communities and individuals. We consistently urge governments around the world to address and condemn anti-Semitism and work with vulnerable Jewish communities to assess and provide appropriate levels of security.

“The Department, our Embassies, and our Consulates support extensive bilateral, multilateral, and civil society outreach to Jewish communities.

“Additionally, the State Department continues to devote resources towards programs combating anti-Semitism online and off, as well as building NGO coalitions in Europe.

“We also closely monitor global anti-Semitism and report on it in our Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and International Religious Freedom Report, which document global anti-Semitism in 199 countries.”

The Anti-Defamation League has launched an online petition calling for the White House to fill the position.

The group’s CEO John Greenblatt said “maintaining the special envoy for anti-Semitism seems like a no-brainer” in an interview with the JTA.

“The idea of having a dedicated envoy who can travel around the world to raise awareness on this issue is critical,” he added.

Source: Donald Trump defies calls to appoint envoy to combat anti-Semitism around the world | The Independent

Trump Sets Up The Next Anti-Semitism Envoy For Failure – The Forward

Valid commentary by Shai Franklin who worked on antisemitism both with Europe and the Bush administration:

Responding to American Jewish anxieties, the Trump administration has indicated it will be filling the post of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism (SEAS). Before popping Champagne corks, we should understand the severe limitations of such a role amid a retrenchment of U.S. diplomacy and serious challenges to civil rights by our own government.

If the President fills the SEAS slot, we can certainly work with his appointee and utilize those resources. And it is important that Congress not permit the budget for this post to be eliminated. But we must not ignore the obvious, unprecedented limitations and contradictions.
The entire SEAS cachet was predicated on U.S. moral leadership, as an example at home and a force for democracy abroad, applying over two centuries of painful lessons learned. At this time, the best channel for globally combating anti-Semitism is to insist that our government recommit to upholding minority rights domestically and to demanding other countries respect fundamental freedoms and civil society. Without that, SEAS won’t be much more than a trophy on a Trump donor’s shelf.

At a time when the Secretary of State is the only Presidential appointee in the State Department, when the only new U.S. Ambassador – to Israel – has yet to take up his post, with whom would an anti-Semitism envoy collaborate within the building or coordinate in the field? What follow-through can there be from a bureaucracy that’s being scaled back and dismantled?

When the Administration has dismissed all U.S. Attorneys around the country, without naming a single permanent replacement, how do we convince other countries to prosecute hate crimes against Jews or others?

What credibility will any U.S. diplomat have in urging other governments to take meaningful action, that the rights of Jews are integral to the concept of universal human rights – rights our own government no longer trumpets?

Beyond highlighting the plight of Christians in some Muslim-majority countries, the Trump administration has barely mentioned minority rights or human rights. Last month, President Trump first gave a warm Oval Office welcome to Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, whose ongoing military crackdown earns him the worst human rights records in the country’s modern history. The President then called to congratulate Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan for a referendum granting him sweeping powers to crack down on civil society and the rule of law.

Imagine a newly elected foreign leader who argues the Holocaust wasn’t specifically about Jews, who waits weeks before denouncing a nationwide vandalism wave against Jewish cemeteries, whose own spokesman insists Syria’s Bashar Assad is worse than Adolf Hitler? Now imagine that same leader brings in a leading white supremacist (recently sanitized to “Alt-Right”) bandleader as his policy chief.

How can any American reasonably admonish Hungary’s Prime Minister for feeding xenophobia and anti-immigrant hysteria, when President Trump’s counter-terror advisor appears to be a member in Hungary’s far right Vitezi Rend – in which case he shouldn’t even be allowed to be in the United States.

Across America, Jews and Muslims are finding common cause – defending each other’s institutions and proactively promoting mutual respect and cooperation. This is the best answer to those seeking to divide and isolate us as a nation and as a society.

A critical step 15 years ago in convincing European governments to join forces against anti-Semitism was the commitment of American Jewish organizations and the U.S. Government to also fighting Islamophobia. How will the concerns of a Trump envoy be received in any European capital, while our President and his administration are actively pushing to ban visitors from Muslim countries, to stop admitting all refugees? When our President uses his first Congressional address to demonize immigrants, when he wants to build a physical wall along our border and is sending immigration squads into urban neighborhoods, will it help Jews to be the only group with a special envoy?

The best way to stand up for Jews abroad is to embrace universal human rights in partnership with other minorities, to encourage rather than stifle international exchange and engagement, and to be as sensitive to Jewish fears at home as we demand of other countries. It also helps if the State Department’s diplomatic machinery and decision-making apparatus aren’t confined to a few period rooms on the seventh floor.

An anti-Semitism envoy can work effectively with other countries and within our own government to address the persistent and evolving challenges of anti-Semitism – if these logistical and thematic impediments are remedied. Even then, restoring the credibility and moral leadership of the United States could take decades, and every future U.S. envoy will probably have to walk a bit more humbly than before. Pretending otherwise would harm our own credibility as a Jewish community and undermine the legitimacy of our cause.

Source: Trump Sets Up The Next Anti-Semitism Envoy For Failure – The Forward

Canadian schools abandoning U.S. trips because of Trump ban

Multiculturalism, inclusion and solidarity – making a conscious choice to avoid exclusion:

Toronto parent Katie Lynes said she has heard disappointment among families about the cancellation of school trips, but there is also unease about events in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The TDSB travel ban mostly affects music students at her daughters’ school in north Toronto. The music teacher usually organizes trips to New York and Chicago, and is now considering options within Canada.

“Our board, and our school, is multicultural and inclusive, so the idea of certain kids potentially being stopped at the border or turned away does not sit well,” Ms. Lynes said. She added: “Disappointment over cancellation of trips is something that kids and families should be able to handle, especially when they realize that it’s in the service of larger principles, such as equity, inclusiveness and fairness.”

At Westmount, Ms. Jafralie, an ethics and religion teacher, said discussions about changing the itinerary allowed for a learning opportunity for her students. She and her students were disappointed that they wouldn’t visit the American sites, but not upset enough to leave classmates behind.

“We have a diverse population and we embrace our diversity. We’re just not willing to take the risk. We’re just not willing to break us all up,” she said.

Source: Canadian schools abandoning U.S. trips because of Trump ban – The Globe and Mail