Cover Story New Yorker

3 February, 2017

Please see the cover image (and story) of the New Yorker.

“Under more ordinary circumstances, the cover of the issue for February 13 and 20, 2017—our Anniversary Issue, marking ninety-two years—would feature some version of Rea Irvin’s classic image of the monocled dandy Eustace Tilley. This year, as a response to the opening weeks of the Trump Administration, particularly the executive order on immigration, we feature John W. Tomac’s dark, unwelcoming image, “Liberty’s Flameout.” “It used to be that the Statue of Liberty, and her shining torch, was the vision that welcomed new immigrants. And, at the same time, it was the symbol of American values,” Tomac says. “Now it seems that we are turning off the light.”

DONALD TRUMP AND THE HOLOCAUST

Op-Ed by Marine Sharpe, Steinberg Post-Doctoral Fellow
2 February, 2017

Lately I have been feeling like a deer caught in headlights, except the lights are coming out of my computer screen. The unrelenting assault on civility, safety, values and human rights unleashed since Donald Trump’s inauguration has led many on social media, in the press and even in the UK parliament to characterise him as a fascist.

The facts pointed to in support of this include Trump’s nationalist rhetoric, his misogyny and his antagonism of the media. We should add his approach to the Holocaust to the list.

Nazi Germany was perhaps the archetypal fascist regime. Among its horrific crimes, the Holocaust stands out. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum defines the Holocaust as the ‘systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators’.

This definition is important, because the Trump administration’s statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day did not mention Jews. This was not, apparently, just ignorance about the specific historical event to which the term ‘Holocaust’ refers. White House spokesperson Hope Hicks defended the statement, saying ironically that because the administration is ‘an incredibly inclusive group’, it deliberately ‘took into account all of those who suffered’.

This may have been an after-the-fact attempt to avoid embarrassment about misunderstanding one of the defining events of the twentieth century. Or it may have been what Deborah Lipstadt terms softcore Holocaust denial. It is, in any case, deeply troubling.

At best, Trump and his team do not properly comprehend a monstrous fascist crime. At worst, they issued a dog whistle denial of the fact that the Holocaust was a genocide of the Jewish people. Either way, it suggests a lack of appreciation for history, which is our best defence against the horrors of the past being repeated.

This makes Trump more likely to disregard the institutions, and desecrate the principles, that were developed in the aftermath of World War II, precisely to prevent history from recurring. Trump has, after all, already shown his disdain for the UN and some of its most important human rights treaties, blatantly discriminated against Muslims and slammed the door shut on refugees.

When faced with gross injustice, in the split second it takes me to decide whether to act, I think of the Holocaust. And I act. Misunderstanding or denying the Holocaust does not itself make Trump a fascist. But it indicates that he may well behave like one.

The Immigration Debate We Need

Article in The New York Times
2 February, 2017

“The first month of the Trump administration has already changed the direction of the immigration debate, with many more changes coming soon. So far, executive orders and deportations dominate the discussion. But the fight over how many refugees to admit or how best to vet those refugees obscures what the debate is really about.

Changes in social policy do not make everyone better off, and immigration policy is no exception. I am a refugee, having fled Cuba as a child in 1962. Not only do I have great sympathy for the immigrant’s desire to build a better life, I am also living proof that immigration policy can benefit some people enormously.

But I am also an economist, and am very much aware of the many trade-offs involved. Inevitably, immigration does not improve everyone’s well-being. There are winners and losers, and we will need to choose among difficult options. The improved lives of the immigrants come at a price. How much of a price are the American people willing to pay, and exactly who will pay it?”

A very conservative voice, echoing President Trump’s assertions on immigration, but trying to structure them in principle and to make a serious case for them. Still, it remains a minority voice in academe.

To read the full article by George Borjas in the NY Times, please click here.

  Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, middle left, archbishop of Quebec, embracing Boufeldja Banabdallah, co-founder of the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center, at a special Mass this week following the Sunday shooting. Photo Credit: Ian Willms for The New York Times on the New York Times' website.

Quebec’s Response to Hate: More Tolerance

Article in The New York Times
1 February, 2017

Comforting.

“The response of Quebec’s premier, Philippe Couillard, is worth noting. “Every society has to deal with demons,” he said. “Our society is not perfect. None is. These demons are named xenophobia, racism, exclusion. They are present here. We need to recognize that and act together to show the direction we want our society to evolve.”

That was what Canadians sought to do. Thousands gathered at memorial services across the country, including Mr. Trudeau on Monday. Speaking earlier to Parliament, he addressed the more than one million Muslim Canadians: “Thirty-six million hearts are breaking with yours,” he said, referring to the population of Canada. “Know that we value you.””

  Photo credit: EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy's website

The EU Migration Partnership Framework: an External Solution to the Crisis?

by Céline Bauloz, Refugee Law Initiative, School of Advanced Study, University of London
31 January, 2017

The EU really seems to be digging itself into a hole.

“The so-called migration/refugee crisis has shed light on the limits of the EU and its Member States’ ability – and willingness – to effectively deal with larger flows of migrants. This crisis has been largely depicted as a policy crisis rather than one of numbers (see most notably P. De Bruycker; M. Den Heijer, J. Rijpma & T. Spijkerboer; V. Chetail), and for good reasons. Looking only at refugee data at the peak of the crisis in 2015, UNHCR accounts for 86 percent of the world’s refugees being hosted in developing regions and 6 percent in Europe.

As the absolute number of arrivals in the EU has nevertheless greatly increased, the EU strategy has been to address both the structural deficiencies of its internal migration and asylum policy and the migratory pressure at its external borders. This last strategic objective has been most notably tackled at the EU external policy level through increased cooperation with third countries. After the 2015Valletta Summit, the 2015 EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan and the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement, the European Commission proposed a new Migration Partnership Framework (MPF) which was endorsed by the European Council in June 2016. Presented as a new approach for more coordinated, systematic and structured cooperation with third countries, this contribution provides an overview of the MPF and its operationalization before undertaking a more critical assessment of its potential and prospects.”

To read the full article, please click here.