Donald Trump's 'Muslim ban' is no more deserving of protest than 16 countries' ban on Israeli citizens, says Tory MP

Former cabinet minister suggests 'protestors' should be turning their focus to 16 Muslim states too

Benjamin Kentish@BenKentish
Wednesday 01 February 2017 16:31
Theresa Villiers on trump ban

A travel ban on Israeli citizens by Muslim countries should be protested as well as Donald Trump’s decision to bar people from seven predominantly Islamic countries, a senior Conservative MP has said.

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers made the suggestion at Prime Minister’s Questions.

She asked Theresa May whether she thought opponents of the new US President’s immigration policy were wrong to overlook similar measures in other countries.

“In the light of the fact that most of the countries covered by the Trump ban have a total exclusion on the admission of Israeli citizens, shouldn’t the protestors also be calling for that ban to be lifted,” she said.

Theresa May replied that it was “absolutely right that this House should be aware of the discrimination and the ban that exists around the world and, as she refers to, particularly for those who are Israeli citizens.”

She said: “We’re consistent with our approach, we don’t agree with that approach and it’s not an approach we will be taking.”

The Prime Minister also suggested that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would be reluctant to condemn the ban on Israeli citizens.

“I wait for the day when the Right Honourable gentleman opposite actually stands up and condemns it too,” she said.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn told The Independent: “Jeremy opposes all immigration bans based on religion, ethnicity or country of origin. In relation to the Israel-Palestine conflict, he supports a negotiated settlement based on UN resolutions to bring an end to and resolve all aspects of the conflict.

Israeli citizens are currently banned from entering 16 states including Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. Mr Trump’s executive order temporarily barred travel to the US from all of those countries.

The other countries which ban Israeli citizens are Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Protests against Mr Trump’s policy took place across America and other countries around the world including the UK. Even members of his own Republican Party have expressed doubts about it.

Attorney generals in 16 US states have declared the policy illegal and a federal judge ordered the ban be overturned.

Three states – Washington, New York and Massachusetts – are now taking legal action against the Trump Administration over the policy.

Mr Trump, meanwhile, has continued to defend the ban. In a recent tweet, he said: “Everybody is arguing whether or not it is a BAN. Call it what you want, it is about keeping bad people (with bad intentions) out of country!”

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