Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Why One Group's Stand on the Muslim Registry Should Make Every Jewish American Proud

by Nomad

Trump's campaign promises are making life nightmarish for his transition team. Last week, his plan to implement a Muslim registry created a storm of protest across social media and organizations. In a show of solidarity, the leader of a Jewish defense organization gave his defiant response to Trump's outlandish proposal.

Theodore Roosevelt once said that America would not be a good place for any of us to live in "unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in." 
We can assume by that, Teddy meant a good place for all races, religions, party affiliation and class. 
That noble idea is likely to be put to the test under President Trump. It's quickly becoming apparent that his campaign tactic of dividing the nation may also become Trump's strategy for governing the country. 

Muslim Registry Backpeddling

Last week, President-elect Donald Trump's team found itself in yet another tight corner when asked about a proposed registry of American Muslim. Jason Miller, Communications Director of the Presidential Transition Team explained:
“President-elect Trump has never advocated for any registry or system that tracks individuals based on their religion, and to imply otherwise is completely false."
That's not quite true.

Back in November, Trump was queried about whether he planned to create a database that tracks the Muslims here in this country.
His answer was, at best, confused and at worst, deceptive and misleading. Trump said:
"There should be a lot of systems, beyond database, we should have a lot of systems, and today you can do it. But right now we have to have a border, we have to have strength, we have to have a wall. And we cannot let what’s happening to this country happen."
The NBC reporter pressed Trump to clarify his position and asked whether it was "something your White House would like to implement."    
"Oh I would certainly implement that. Absolutely."
His reply was classic Trump word-play. It can mean whatever he needs it to mean. Was he talking about the wall, as his apologists later claimed, or the registry? Trump would later blame the misunderstanding on media attempts to misconstrue his words.

What Trump (and Others) Actually Said

However, if the rest of the interview is anything to go by, he very definitely seemed to be affirming his position on a registry. He wasn't talking about the border wall plan, at all. Trump continued talking about the challenging logistics of a Muslim registry.

Trump was more than willing to share his ideas on the subject. When asked how his administration would go about getting Muslims to actually register, Trump  said:
"It would be just good management. What you have to do is good management procedures and we can do that."
He also explained how he would get mosques to "sign these people up." It was, he explained, "all about management, our country has no management."  

According to a recent estimate by the Washington-DC-based Pew Research Center, there were an estimated 3.3 million Muslim people living in the United States in 2015. So how to go about getting (perhaps forcing) Muslims to participate in a registry seems like a legitimate question.
What we really need, he very nearly said, was a little German efficiency.

On top of the sheer logistical impossibility of the scheme, Trump hasn't come up with a way to keep potential radical Islamic terrorists from simply lying about their faith and claiming, for example, to be Mormon, instead of Moslem.

Stupid ideas tend to evaporate when exposed to light and this was no exception. This one nearly disappeared until the issue once again came under the spotlight after remarks made by Kansas Secretary of State and member of Trump's transition team, Kris Kobach.
He said in an interview that Trump's policy advisers had also discussed drafting a proposal for his consideration to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries. Kobach seems to be talking about immigrants and visitors. Whether that includes immigrants who have become citizens, it isn't clear.

The Wrong Way to Protect Americans

That's not a small matter, either. Take the example of the Orlando nightclub shooting in which left 49 people dead and around 50 more injured.   Muslim American Omar Mateen, the shooter,  was a U.S.-born citizen, not an immigrant. 
Creating a registry of Muslim immigrants wouldn't have prevented the attack any more than keeping track of Christians could have prevented the Oklahoma City bombing.

Indeed, nothing in Mateen's background would necessarily have triggered any alarms. He was, in fact, already registered on a different kind of database. Officials said Mateen had two firearms licenses- a security officer license and a statewide firearms license.

(If you recall, after accepting "congrats" for being right about radical Islam, Trump tweeted about getting tough and being smart.)

The subject of a list of Muslims reignited when a prominent supporter of  Trump and  a former spokesman for Great America PAC, Carl Higbie, pushed the envelope a little further on Fox News. He  cited  World War II-era Japanese-American internment camps as a “precedent” for an immigrant registry.
“We need to protect America first... There is historical, factual precedent to do things that are not politically popular and sometimes not right, in the interest of national security.”
Nobody bothered to tell Higbie that his "precedent" was considered one of the most flagrant violations of civil liberties in American history.

Americans Standing Together

The reaction was immediate. Furious criticism by civil rights activists, Muslim organizations, and politicians forced the Trump transition team to claim that Trump was entirely innocent and the whole thing was a misunderstanding or a smear campaign by the liberal media. (The record tells a different story than the one Trump, in retreat, is now claiming.)

If, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote on Twitter, the president-elect attempts “to implement his unconstitutional campaign promises, we’ll see him in court.”

Public reaction to the registry idea became a little more creative when. a recent initiative called "Register US." This campaign aimed at protecting Muslims living in the US against potential persecution. How? By urging all US citizens to register as Muslim.
The website states:
We must stand together to protect our neighbors and our most fundamental rights. Because when we stand as one, no American can be singled out by their race, religion, income, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
Rebecca Green, "Register US" co-founder was encouraged by the response:
"We see this effort as a plea to American values to not become the kind of country that keeps lists based on religion. Nothing is more anti-American than a registry based on religion."
Once again, Trump has opened a political can of worms, which is not the kind of fine dining he is accustomed to.

Reaction by ADL

In a rather surprising move, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has come out in support of the "Register US "movement. The Anti-Defamation League is an international Jewish non-governmental organization based in the United States.

In a statement posted on Twitter earlier this week, Greenblatt was quoted as saying that 
"If one day Muslims will be forced to register, that is the day that this proud Jew will register as a Muslim."
Registering a minority- any minority- merely on the bias of religious beliefs would naturally set off alarms bells for any Jewish American with a rough idea of modern history. For the first six years of Hitler's dictatorship, the German fascist Nazi Party advocated similar registries of the Jewish population.

It began with identification, but moved swiftly to isolation and finally eradication.

From 1933 to the outbreak of the war in 1939, Jews were increasingly isolated and later persecuted through the effects of over 400 decrees and regulations that restricted all aspects of their public and private lives. In the German case, national laws opened the doors for local anti-Jewish ordinances, enacted by officials on their own initiative.
Thus, hundreds of individuals in all levels of government throughout the country were involved in the persecution of Jews as they conceived, discussed, drafted, adopted, enforced, and supported anti-Jewish legislation.
It was the first step in a long and painful road which lead to one of the most inexcusable and horrific atrocities in modern history.