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Donald Trump Knows Where His Jews Are
This attempt to 'fight anti-Semitism' couldn't backfire, could it?
Donald Trump is reportedly all set to sign an executive order that's ostensibly aimed at cracking down on anti-Semitism on college campuses, or at least allowing the Education Department to punish schools that take part in or tolerate boycotts of Israel. But the particular mechanism Trump's using to shoehorn protections against anti-Semitism into civil-rights laws has plenty of people on the internets worried, because what the fuck is this fuckery?
The New York Times 'splainers the order's ostensible rationale:
Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 , the department can withhold funding from any college or educational program that discriminates "on the ground of race, color, or national origin." Religion was not included among the protected categories, so Mr. Trump's order will have the effect of embracing an argument that Jews are a people or a race with a collective national origin in the Middle East, like Italian Americans or Polish Americans.
Well isn't that nice? Nothing bad could possibly come of an official declaration that American Jews are a whole 'nother nationality, could it? Sure, maybe Donald Trump already talks about Jews as if they're not really Americans, but there's no way this could have any untoward implications, apart from perhaps inflaming that old anti-Semitic slander that Jews are always a people apart, foreigners in their own land. Gosh, wonder if anyone's ever written a book on the matter?
The Times takes some pains to explain that the order Trump plans to sign is based on prior legislation proposed by Nice Good People like an aide to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and that it's merely aimed at getting around the inability of authorities to crack down on anti-Semitism because "religion" isn't listed in the civil rights laws. Mind you, whatever the origins of the language, Donald Trump has a real knack for turning seemingly innocuous mechanisms of government to evil ends -- that's Stephen Miller's entire modus operandi, twisting immigration law to end immigration.
It's no surprise that people on Twitter found the idea of defining American Jews as a "nationality" a tad unsettling in the current political climate:
It is really, *really* frightening for us to be defined as a nationality. The trope of "dual loyalism" is classic a… https: //t.co/h33lfIVkos
— Rabbi Emily Cohen (@Rabbi Emily Cohen) 1576021067.0
Love to have the racist president tell me what my national identity is.
— Peter A. Shulman 📚 (@Peter A. Shulman 📚) 1576023332.0
Do we get new passports or just a yellow star? https: //t.co/pIrOZEnSGG
— Peter Gleick 🇺🇸 (@Peter Gleick 🇺🇸) 1576026197.0
There's simply not much reason to trust Donald Trump with defining what or who is a Jew. Sebastian Gorka already tried that, although thankfully he has no power.
There's plenty of reason to distrust Donald Trump, Friend of the Jews, since just last week he spewed a bunch of anti-Semitic tropes at the national summit of the Israeli American Council, a pro-Israel group. Trump explained that all the rich Jews -- is there any other kind? -- will have to vote for him, or Elizabeth Warren will raise their taxes, and Jews hate to lose money, don't you see?
"A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well. You're brutal killers, not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me, you have no choice," he said [...]
"You're not going to vote for the wealth tax. ...Yeah, let's take 100% of your wealth away. No, no. Even if you don't like me, some of you don't. Some of you, I don't like at all actually. And you're going to be my biggest supporters because you'd be out of business in about 15 minutes if they get it," Trump said.
While he was at it, he also accused some American Jews of not loving Israel enough , which really puzzles him because he thinks it's their home country.
Even if it's only used by the Education Department to push schools to "fight anti-Semitism," the redefinition seems mostly aimed at going after the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to push Israel to change its policies toward Palestinians. The rightwing government of Israel and US opponents of BDS insist the movement is inherently anti-Semitic, a view that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos shares. So even in its narrowest interpretation, the order is aimed at tamping down free speech on campus. Ain't that a fine little irony?
You know, if Trump really wanted to fight anti-Semitism, he could maybe not encourage anti-Semites. Campus protests against Israel don't warrant the redefining of any Americans' nationality. You know what DOES worry Jews? Shit like the murders of six people in and outside a kosher market in Jersey City yesterday, which police say was explicitly motivated by anti-Semitism.
Quick, someone explain how saying "Jewish" is a "nationality" will prevent that shit?
Now that liberal Jews are pointing out there could be broader consequences to the dubiously well-intentioned executive order, that just means Trump has all the more reason to sign it. Now he can brag that he's standing up for Israel and opposing anti-Semitism, and his online Flying Monkey Brigade can exult in what a great job he's doing of triggering the Jews.
And for all the explainering that there's nothing to worry about, this is just an administrative fix and it isn't declaring Jews to not be real Americans, we do have a bit of concern: Does Donald Trump know that?
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