Update, September 20:

As the Jewish Rosh Hashana arrives, my best wishes to all ilw.com readers for a Happy New Year. L'Shana Tova!

As the New Year begins, let every American hope that the Supreme Court will finally strike down Donald Trump's Muslim ban Executive Order once and for all, and that America will not repeat the sad history of racial and religious bigotry that it engaged in by barring Jewish immigrants during the Holocaust and the years leading up to it.

Never Again!

The following is a revised and expanded September 18 version of my original September 16 comment:

On September 15, Donald Trump tweeted the following with respect to his six-country Muslim ban which is still under consideration by the Supreme Court:

"The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!"


The above is an unmistakable reference to Trump's original, December 2015 call for a world wide ban on entry by Muslims into the United States. That proposal, as well as his "watered down" Executive Order versions issued after taking office as president, have brought on a storm of condemnation from across the political spectrum, including many leaders in Trump's own party.


Certainly, Trump's original world-wide ban proposal, if not the later versions, was just about as "large". "tough" and "specific" as one can imagine.

Therefore the president's latest tweet raises a serious question as to whether he has ever given up the idea of a world-wide Muslim entry ban as his ultimate goal.

Trump's comment also brings back disturbing memories of a period, beginning almost 100 years ago, when America did in fact impose what a amounted to virtually a world-wide ban on members of another unpopular religious group of the period - adherents of the Jewish religion and everyone else who had Jewish ancestry.

As every student of America's immigration history and of American history in general knows well, this ban was accomplished through enacting the 1924 Johnson-Reed "national origins" quotas immigration act. This law, in effect, limited immigration to populations from northern Europe, known as "Nordics" in the racially motivated parlance of that time, and drastically reduced immigration quotas for Eastern and Southern Europe where most of the world's Jewish population lived (as well as virtually eliminating immigration quotas for all other areas of the world outside the "Western Hemisphere").

Just as Trump's call for a ban on Muslim immigrants grew out of ongoing attempts by US politicians and media figures to exploit prejudice against all of the world's 1. 6 billion Muslims in general, using 9/11 and subsequent attacks by jihadist extremists an excuse, the 1920's ban against Jewish immigrants was based on widespread anti-semitism.

Jews in general were accused of being racially, religiously and culturally inferior, and of being "Bolsheviks" or belonging to an "international Zionist conspiracy". They were attacked by politicians and in the media as being dangerous, disloyal and unfit to assimilate into American society, just as Muslims are now being accused of not only being potential terrorists but of wanting to "impose Sharia law" in the United States.

Anti-semites of that time also had a famous and wealthy businessman, Henry Ford, as one of their leading exponents - but far from the only one. For more on Henry Ford's attacks against the Jews and their influence on the 1924 Johnson-Reed Immigration Act, see:


The effects of America's 1924 ban on Jewish and other non - "Nordic" immigration were pervasive, reaching far beyond the boundaries of the United States itself. They included inspiring the racist, and ultimately genocidal ideology of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi followers.

Noted Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs describes these effects in chilling detail in his March 19 article:

The Muslim ban and American history


He writes, concerning the enactment of the 1924 immigration law which imposed an almost complete ban on Jewish immigration to the US:

"During this process, there was an attentive and approving observer abroad, Adolf Hitler. Hitler praised the new U.S. immigration policy in 'Mein Kampf', writing among other things that 'There is currently one state in which one can observe at least the weak beginnings of a better conception...The American Union...simply excludes the immigration of certain races.'"

No one can possibly have any doubts about which people were included among the "races" which the future German Fuehrer was referring to in the above passage.

Professor Sachs also writes concerning the history of the above law:

"in fact, in the 1930's, the Nazi lawyers looked to various aspects of U.S. racial legislation - including the immigration codes based on country of national origin...as role models for Germany's race-based citizenship, which of course culminated in the Nuremberg Codes."

Trump's Muslim ban cannot be fully understood in any of its various versions without reference to this supremely shameful part of America's past, which every scholar of that period with any amount for credibility agrees added to the death toll of 6 million Jews in Hitler's gas chambers and ovens during the Holocaust.

Ironically, even though few if any commentators make any reference to this, by barring almost all immigration from Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the 1924 Johnson-Reed Act also excluded virtually the entire Muslim world from immigrating to the US as well. Admittedly, that "Muslim ban" of almost a century ago was not as "specific" as the one which Donald Trump is now trying to impose.

In about three weeks from now, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments concerning the legal validity, or lack of it, regarding the latest, six-country version Trump's Muslim ban order. Will the nation's highest Court be willing to consider the dark history behind Trump's Muslim ban in rendering its decision?

(Disclaimer: My comments should not be taken as a suggestion that Trump is in any way anti-Jewish or supports any form of genocide. Nothing could be further from the truth.)

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law