Interfaith Dialogue on Trump's Foreign Policy

February 7, 2020

Within a week of Trump’s unveiling of his so-called “peace plan” with Israel, we held a powerful panel with policy experts and advocates, Professor David Myers of New Israel Fund, Dr. Nayyer Ali, and Dr. Laila Al-Marayati at the Islamic Center of Southern California to discuss Trump’s foreign policy.

Our panelists focused on the repercussions of Trump’s recent plan between the U.S. and Israel. Professor Myers noted that the normal rules of democracy are no longer in play and that Trump is not merely a symptom, but a causal factor of this illiberal democracy. The same is true for Israel. According to Dr. Nayyer, illiberal democracy emerges when some members of a state (in the case of Israel, it’s the Jewish population) enjoy more privilege than others. Dr. Nayyer, in fact, drew parallels with apartheid South Africa’s Bantustan solution and Israel’s plans for herding Palestinians into a designated territory, where they will not have any real independence. 

We ran overtime with our hour-long session to discuss the hard-hitting realities of American and Israeli policy toward Palestinians. Our audience members, comprising our interfaith community members and the young and elderly alike, were deeply engaged in the conversation, asking our panelists pertinent questions. Many remained at the ICSC till after the program concluded to discuss their thoughts with other attendees. 

Trump’s peace plan is validating Netanyahu’s dangerous policies. MPAC President, Salam Al-Marayati, identified the root of our foreign policy conundrum: Washington needs to acknowledge and consult the expertise in our communities when engaging Muslims or passing policies on Muslims outside the U.S. 



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