Ben Clerkin

Trump looks to make a killing out of Israel’s war

He promises a massive immigration crackdown if he returns to office as US sours on pro-Palestinian radicals


CLAREMONT, NEW HAMPSHIRE - NOVEMBER 11: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a campaign event on November 11, 2023 in Claremont, New Hampshire. The defense is scheduled to start presenting its case on Monday in Trump's fraud case. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

November 15, 2023 14:12

Donald Trump can’t help but look at the Israel-Gaza war with the shrewd eye of a businessman who thinks he can make a profit. 

He believes that the disturbingly high numbers of keffiyeh-wearing antisemitic protesters who have imposed themselves on university campuses and cities across America have created a fresh demand among voters.

It’s one that he intends to service by giving this new market -- he hopes a silent, seething majority -- everything they want. And so much more they might not.

If elected, Trump is promising to cancel the visas of foreign students who participated in anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian protests, resurrect his Muslim ban (which restricted entry from certain Muslim-majority countries and was repealed by Joe Biden on his first day in office) and expand ideological screening of visa applicants to block people with “undesirable attitudes”.

His vast new immigration crackdown would also see millions deported every year, internment camps built and the country scoured for illegal immigrants.

The New York Times, which broke the story, described it as “an assault on immigration on a scale unseen in modern American history”.

But Trump is betting that the Democratic party’s failure to stem the huge upswing of antisemitism coursing throughout US society will force many 2024 voters into his arms. Even if it means swallowing some of the most divisive immigration policies in America’s history.   

It has precedent. The “defund the police” movement in the wake of George Floyd’s murder did serious damage to the Democrats. It took time for the grown-ups in the party to regain control and override the inflammatory message from the same radical elements that are taking to the streets of major cities at the moment. Biden was forced to distance himself from the campaign in 2020 during his presidential run.  

Again it is the “Squad” of left-wing members of Congress. Again led by Rashida Tlaib, the Palestinian American Congresswoman from Detroit. In 2020 she sponsored a bill to defund the police. Last week she was censured by the House of Representatives for “amplifying Hamas propaganda”. She says Biden is supporting “genocide” in Gaza, has defended the “river to sea” chant as a “call” for freedom’ and still publicly blames Israel for the al-Ahli hospital bombing.

This time Biden will find overriding the radical uprising harder. Tlaib’s state of Michigan is one of five swing states where Trump is polling ahead of Biden. It is home to an estimated 240,000 Muslims, and Biden won it by 150,000 votes in 2020. He needs to tread carefully.

No such soft steps for Trump, who has taken a flamethrower to the issue. 

“The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and grave than the threat from within. Our threat is from within,” he said in a Veterans Day speech on Saturday. 

“We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.”

Biden’s re-election team said Trump had embraced the language of Adolf Hitler by using the word “vermin” to refer to his political enemies.

In America, such populist language propels you towards the office of the president. In the UK it gets you fired, Suella Braverman has discovered. But the demand that Trump thinks he has spotted in the US is equally as likely to exist in the UK.

It comes as MIT this week failed to follow through on its vow to suspend pro-Palestinian students who refused to disperse amid fears of violence towards Jewish students, because they might be deported. 

The college walked back its threat to suspend them due to “serious concerns about collateral consequences … such as visa issues”.  

Have the tectonic plates shifted? Many voters’ fears have only increased about sending their children to American colleges where they face indoctrination into the progressive cult. They feel aliens in their own country when they see thousands of angry protesters waving Palestinian flags. But is it enough for them to swallow the bitter pill of Trump’s threat of a wide-ranging immigration crackdown? We will know in a year.  

November 15, 2023 14:12

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