Take the oft-used analogy about Syrian refugees being just like Jews trying to escape Germany 1930s. Anne Frank was also denied an entry visa, you know? (If anything, the analogy works better when talking about Middle East Christians, who have no place to escape, but that’s another story.) Ian Tuttle at National Review did a fantastic job debunking this argument, though it has only become more popular. An Atlantic piece headlined “The Objectification of Muslims in America,” teeming with the usual synthetic outrage about “bigotry,” we are told that Muslims immigrated to America around the same time as Jews, and yet, “discussions about Muslims in the United States are not the same as most discussions of Catholics or Jews or other religious minorities.”
There is a shockingly obvious reason for this incongruity: Islam is not the same as Catholicism or Judaism—or Lutheranism or Calvinism or Buddhism or atheism, for that matter. Blowing past this troublesome little fact might be helpful when smearing Republicans, but this moral equivalence doesn’t change reality. Whether Americans were anti-Semites or wary of immigration or just suspicious of Nazi infiltrators in the late 1930s, the two groups you’re talking about embrace wholly different sets of values. One of these groups has excelled (and excels) at assimilation, while the other harbors many beliefs at odds with Western ideals—especially in the post-1979 world.
Taking these factor into considerations when debating immigration and foreign policy is not tantamount to arguing that the United States should ban all Muslim immigration forever, or arguing that we should infringe the civil rights of Muslims, or even that we should send ground troops to take down ISIS.