A Jewish American's Take on the Muslim Ban

 

Editor's Note: All articles for Her Campus OR State are the opinions and beliefs of the writers and do not reflect Her Campus OR State, the Oregon State University or Her Campus as an international magazine

This past weekend the Donald Trump (DT) administration issued an executive order  “To protect its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States; and to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.” This executive order, in theory, sounds beneficial: it is supposed to stop those who want to harm the US from entering the country. However, this policy in practice is nothing more than a blatantly racist Muslim ban on immigrants. The list of banned countries includes “Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Sudan. Yet no Muslim extremist from any of these places has carried out a fatal attack in the U.S. in more than two decades.” So to say that this policy is designed to protect us from danger is an argument formed around fear, not fact. Another problem with this is decisions that are made out of fear are unjustifiable in the future and go down as our biggest mistakes in history. We remembered a situation just like that this past weekend.

This past weekend many Jews lit a candle, had a moment of silence, and even said the Mourner's Kaddish (a prayer to mourn those who have passed) in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day. This year it was the 72nd anniversary of Auschwitz being liberated. For many Jews all around the world this is an extremely difficult and emotional day. For many Jews the Holocaust is still a very real thing in our minds, and still very fresh. We are still in a generation when almost all of us are related to someone or know someone who survived the Holocaust. The Holocaust was just a lifetime away. Jews do not take the Holocaust lightly and, therefore, we do not take forgetting the Holocaust lightly. However, on the anniversary this past weekend, I almost felt as if there was a group of people who had forgotten about the Holocaust.

The contrast of these two events was heartbreaking because history looked to be repeating itself. Now, I understand that there are major differences between the Holocaust and this executive order, and I also understand the difference between DT and Hitler; however, similarities can definitely be drawn between the two. For example, both DT and Hitler capitalized on fear and directed it towards a group of individuals to blame. Hitler capitalized on the economic downturn in Germany and directed that fear towards Jews. DT capitalized on the fear of terrorism and directed that fear towards Muslims. These two people are not the only two leaders who have used this tactic; in fact, many leaders in the past have used fear to gain power, but many of the people DT bullied in his campaign are the same groups that Hitler attacked as well.

This executive order, on the other hand, also mirrors United States’s actions prior to the Holocaust. The United States closed its borders to European Jews seeking refuge from prosecution. Many Muslims are seeking refuge from persecution in their own country but again we are closing our borders. If you think that closing our borders is “no big deal,” think about how different the world would look, or how different the Holocaust would have been if Jews had been accepted into the US. You think that the stakes aren’t this high, but back in the day American’s didn’t think they were that high either.

Now many people say that the connection is different because Muslims have other countries that they can flee too, while Jews had no such country. This argument would be applicable if there weren’t refugees from a large majority of Muslim countries in the Middle East trying to flee, and if the other countries weren’t the ones already hosting many of these people. In addition, when you make those arguments you are basically saying that these problems are beneath us and “their kind” should deal with their problems themselves. When we do this we remove ourselves from the problem, and, as a consequence, remove ourselves from any responsibility in the situation.

When we were younger we often thought about what we would do if we were alive during those historic times, or if those situations presented themselves to us. Well, here is our moment. As I have said and time again, years from now people are going to look back and ask us what we did. You better make sure you are on the right side of history. When you heard about those stories of heroes who stood up against bullies and wanted to be them, now is the time. Stand up for what is right. We vowed many years ago that we would “never forget” what happened during the Holocaust but allowing this Muslim ban to continue is to to forget.

 

#NoMuslimBan #NoBanNoWall