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Right-wing media invoke “great replacement” conspiracy, smear Palestinian refugees from Gaza as potential terrorists

Right-wing media erupted in fury after a CBS News report detailed a potential plan by President Joe Biden’s administration to admit some Palestinians in Gaza as refugees into the U.S. 

Figures including Charlie Kirk and Laura Ingraham fearmongered that Palestinians are “terrorist sympathizers” and baselessly claimed that this is a scheme to bring in Democratic voters.

  • As millions of Palestinians in Gaza face a dire humanitarian situation, the Biden administration has considered admitting some with U.S. ties as refugees

    • CBS News reported that the Biden administration is considering bringing some Palestinians in Gaza to the U.S. as refugees. The Palestinians who would be potentially brought over to the U.S. would have “immediate family members who are American citizens or permanent residents.” This consideration is one of a series of ideas for resettling Palestinians living in Gaza, and it would require “coordination with Egypt, which has so far refused to welcome large numbers of people from Gaza.” [CBS, 4/30/24]
    • Some Palestinians living in Gaza have been trying to permanently relocate due to ongoing warfare and dire humanitarian concerns, including impending famine. Human Rights Watch said last month that an estimated 2.3 million people are still trapped within the city while over 34,000 people have been killed as a result of Israel’s war in Gaza. [ABC News, 12/10/23; Reuters, 4/24/24; Human Rights Watch, 4/1/24; The Guardian, 4/20/24]
  • Right-wing pundits attacked Palestinians, calling them “brainwashed,” antisemitic, and a threat to America

    • The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro called Palestinians a “destabilizing force” and accused the United States of not vetting refugees before bringing them to the country. Shapiro called Palestine “the most pro-terror region on the planet” and said letting Palestinians into the U.S. “is totally nuts.” He added: “And when Joe Biden says these people are vetted? No, they’re not. By whom? By whom are they vetted? Using what metric are they vetted?” [Daily Wire, The Ben Shapiro Show, 5/1/24]
    • Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk said taking in refugees from Gaza would mean “endangering” Jewish people in America. [Salem Media Group, Charlie Kirk Show, 5/1/24]
    • Newsmax host Rob Schmitt said Palestinians are indoctrinated to “hate the Jews, to hate the West, to hate the whites, to hate Americans.” Schmitt continued, “We’re gonna just bring potentially thousands of these people into this country and just hope for the best?” [Newsmax, Rob Schmitt Show, 5/1/24]
    • Host Sean Hannity argued any potential immigrant from the West Bank or Gaza has been “brainwashed into hating the Jews.” [Premiere Radio Networks, Hannity Radio, 5/1/24]
    • Hannity repeated the claim he had made on his radio show that Gazans are “subject to anti-Jewish, anti-American indoctrination” while hosting his Fox News show. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/1/24
  • Some attacked potential refugees as “terrorism-prone” or “terrorist sympathizers”

    • Kirk claimed Biden wants to bring “terrorist sympathizers” and “third-worlders from Gaza” to the United States. [Salem Media Group, Charlie Kirk Show, 5/1/24]
    • Todd Bensman, who is a fellow at the anti-immigrant hate group Center for Immigration studies, claimed the Palestinian people are a “high-density terrorism-prone population.” Bensman called Palestinians from Gaza “the last population that I would ever bring into this country.” [Newsmax, Rob Schmitt Tonight, 5/1/24; Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 5/3/24]
    • Fox News host Jesse Watters: “Have you seen the polling on Palestinians? They … support October 7. They support 9/11. It’s like a ticking time bomb. Of course Joe Biden says come on in.”  [Fox News, The Five, 5/1/24]
    • Washington Examiner’s Zachary Faria argued against taking in Gazan refugees because “we have enough antisemitic, terrorist sympathizers on our college campuses right now.” ” [Washington Examiner, 5/1/24]
    • Newsmax host Eric Bolling said that “Gazans, by definition, are terror supporters.” He said: “Now they want to take Gazans — Gazans, by definition, are terror supporters. Gazans voted in Hamas as their government. They support the terrorists of Hamas and now we’re supposed to take these people in?” [Newsmax, Eric Bolling The Balance, 5/1/24]
  • Right-wing media figures also promoted the white nationalist “great replacement” theory in relation to Palestinian refugees

    • Townhall’s Rebecca Downs wrote that in bringing Palestinians in as refugees, Biden would be “bringing over future potential Democratic voters.” She wrote, “The Biden administration would thus not just be bringing over future potential Democratic voters, but be bringing over ones who are among a population that we know supports Hamas and their attack against our ally in the Middle East.” [Townhall, 4/30/24]
    • Fox News political analyst Newt Gingrich said Biden wants to “change and destroy traditional American culture.” When asked by Sean Hannity why Biden would allow Gazan refugees in the country, Gingrich said, “The Biden team really deeply wants to weaken America, and wants to undercut America, and wants to do everything they can to change and destroy traditional American culture.” [Fox News, Hannity, 5/1/24]
    • Host Laura Ingraham claimed Democrats need to “import so many more voters … whether they are from south of the border or from Gaza.” She claimed the Democratic Party needed to do this in order to save its coalition, which is on “the verge of collapse.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 5/1/24]