Photo Credit: Richard Chaitt
Donald Trump, U.S. presidential candidate. Photo taken Dec. 3, 2015.

With the country, and now, slowly parts of the rest of the world, in a state of outrage over presidential candidate Donald Trump’s controversial statement to cut off immigration and visits by foreign Muslims to the U.S., it is worth noting that Trump is not the first major figure to suggest that a certain class of humans be barred from entry into a country.

Of the following examples, however, there are two significant differences between Trump’s call and that of all the others. See if you can come up with the two differences by the end of this article.

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First, what did Trump actually call for? Did he, as some claim, call for all Muslim Americans to leave? No. What he did call for was a halt to Muslim immigration and tourists into the U.S.

TRUMP’S CALL FOR A BAN

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” a campaign press release said.

The ban Trump is seeking is based on what he called “the hatred [which] is beyond comprehension.” It is his view that his proposed ban should remain in place “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Trump called for the ban on Muslim entry into the U.S. in the wake of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino last week by two previously unknown radicalized Muslims who entered the U.S., Syed Farook and his wife, Nashfeen Malik. While few Americans ever met Malik, Farook was accepted as a “normal,” “average American,” and the two were understood to be “living the American dream,” until the moment they began blasting Farook’s co-workers and associates to death in a bloody rampage which claimed the lives of 14 and injured many more on Dec. 2, 2105.

Trump made what has become known as his “No Muslim” speech on Dec. 7, first in a written statement, which was followed up by a press conference, a video of which is at the end of this article.

REACTION TO TRUMP’S CALL FOR A BAN

Trump has been excoriated – or at least held at a distance with disgust – by leadership in the Democratic and Republican parties, by worldwide media, by colleagues and competitors. An aide to U.S. President Obama suggested Trump is “not qualified” to run for president. He has been attacked by Americans, by a Nobel Prize winner (Egypt’s El Baradei), by hundreds of thousands of Brits, and even by Israelis.

As reported earlier in the JewishPress.com, several Opposition Knesset Members and at least one coalition MK signed a letter demanding that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cancel a scheduled Dec. 28 meeting with Donald Trump during the Republican presidential candidate’s planned visit. Zionist Union MK Omer Bar Lev called Trump a racist, and Arab member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi called the presidential contender a Nazi.

Another Arab MK who is a member of the Meretz party, Esawi Frej, said “Trump is not just a racist; he is a man who poses a threat to the free world. A man who through racist incitement tries to gain the post of US president. A man whose presence in the public sphere is based on racism.”

EXAMPLES OF OTHER NATIONAL OR RELIGIOUS BANS

Daniel Greenfield immediately recalled and posted an article in FrontPage, reminding Americans that then-President Jimmy Carter, during the Iranian Hostage crisis banned the entry of Iranians into the United States. On April 7, 1980, Carter announced U.S. sanctions against Iran, which included the invalidation of

all visas issued to Iranian citizens for future entry into the United States, effective today. We will not reissue visas, nor will we issue new visas, except for compelling and proven humanitarian reasons or where the national interest of our own country requires. This directive will be interpreted very strictly.

Imagine that. Arguably one of the most liberal U.S. Presidents ever issued a blanket ban on an entire class of people, because some of them had brutalized Americans.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com