Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Convicted Liar Lies About Obama’s “Shameful” Refugee Policy

Elliott Abrams, convicted for lying before Congress during the Reagan years, has willfully misinterpreted President Obama’s recent comments on refugees in order to repeat the far-right cliché that the president is anti-Christian.

Print Friendly

LobeLog

Elliott Abrams’ conviction for lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra hearings should offer some indication of the neoconservative’s loyalty to the truth. But that setback certainly hasn’t discouraged Abrams from taking shortcuts with facts in the greater interest of scoring dubious points in the right-wing blogosphere.

Yesterday, Abrams took to the website of Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard to accuse President Obama of calling the provision of assistance to Christian refugees “shameful” even “while [the State Department] claims that’s exactly what it’s doing.”

Indeed, Obama did call something shameful, and the State Department does prioritize assistance to persecuted religious minorities, even if Abrams was a bit fuzzy on that point when he declared that “the Obama administration has abandoned Middle Eastern Christians and other minorities during years of violent assaults.”

But Obama wasn’t criticizing that policy, and Abrams appears to be willfully misinterpreting Obama’s words in order to repeat the far-right cliché that the president is anti-Christian.

Obama was, however, criticizing the mainly Republican push to exclude Muslim refugees on the basis of religion. Abrams selectively excerpted Obama’s statement and misrepresented what the president actually said. Here’s what Abrams quoted Obama as saying in the Weekly Standard:

And when I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims; when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution—that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

And here are the two paragraphs of additional context that Abrams conveniently chose not to quote or paraphrase lest they undermine his highly tendentious thesis:

When Pope Francis came to visit the United States, and gave a speech before Congress, he didn’t just speak about Christians who were being persecuted. He didn’t call on Catholic parishes just to admit those who were of the same religious faith. He said, protect people who are vulnerable.

And so I think it is very important for us right now—particularly those who are in leadership, particularly those who have a platform and can be heard—not to fall into that trap, not to feed that dark impulse inside of us.

Indeed, that “dark impulse” is something that Abrams is reinforcing by making the argument, as he did yesterday, that “in the United States and Western Europe, Christian refugees have not become terrorists…” (a factually inaccurate statement, as Jim pointed out yesterday) and by proposing to devise tests to “verify that people who claim to be Christians are indeed Christians—from asking them questions about their religious upbringing, to the fact that Muslims but not most Middle Eastern Christians are circumcised…”

If Elliott Abrams is wondering, which he probably isn’t, about what Obama meant by the “shameful” reactions to the plight of Muslim refugees, he could look at the map of 26 states whose governors have said they won’t accept Syrian refugees. Or he could look at his own suggestion that confirmation of circumcision be used as a litmus test for determining the religion of refugees and who is more or less deserving of asylum protection.

Those are the proposals that Obama was probably referencing when he said “We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Established in Baltimore in 1897, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is the oldest Zionist organization in the United States—and also among the most aggressively anti-Arab ones.


U.S. Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis is a retired U.S Marine Corps general and combat veteran who served as commander of U.S. Central Command during 2010-2013 before being removed by the Obama administration reportedly because of differences over Iran policy.


Mike Pompeo (R-KS) is a conservative Republican congressman who was voted into office as part of the “tea party” surge in 2011 and chosen by Donald Trump to be director of the CIA.


Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas and an evangelical pastor, is a 2016 Republican presidential candidate.


David Albright is the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-proliferation think tank whose influential analyses of nuclear proliferation issues in the Middle East have been the source of intense disagreement and debate.


The former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House has been a vociferous proponent of the idea that the America faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists.”


Billionaire investor Paul Singer is the founder and CEO of the Elliott Management Corporation and an important funder of neoconservative causes.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

President Trump and his Iranophobe supporters are itching for a war with Iran, without any consideration of the disastrous consequences that will ensue.


Print Friendly

The war of words and nuclear threats between the United States and North Korea make a peaceful resolution to the escalating crisis more difficult than ever to achieve.


Print Friendly

The new White House chief of staff, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, is anything but non-partisan or apolitical. For the deeply conservative Kelly, the United States is endangered not only by foreign enemies but by domestic forces that either purposely, or unwittingly, support them.


Print Friendly

The prospects of Benjamin Netanyahu continuing as Israel’s prime minister are growing dim. But for those of us outside of Israel who support the rights of Palestinians as well as Israelis and wish for all of those in the troubled region to enjoy equal rights, the fall of Netanyahu comes too late to make much difference.


Print Friendly

Rich Higgins, the recently fired director for strategic planning at the National Security Council, once said in an interview on Sean Hannity’s radio program, that “more Muslim Americans have been killed fighting for ISIS than have been killed fighting for the United States since 9/11.”


Print Friendly

This is how the Trump administration could try to use the IAEA to spur Iran to back out of the JCPOA.


Print Friendly

President Trump seems determined to go forward with a very hostile program toward Iran, and, although a baseless US pullout from the JCPOA seems unlikely, even the so-called “adults” are pushing for a pretext for a pullout. Such an act does not seem likely to attract European support. Instead, it will leave the United States isolated, break the nuclear arrangement and provide a very reasonable basis for Iran to restart the pursuit of a nuclear deterrent in earnest.


RightWeb
share