by Erielle Davidson · December 12, 2019
Just one day after two Black Hebrew Israelites targeted a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, killing one police officer and three private citizens, President Trump signed an executive order designed to address growing antisemitism on college campuses. The Order permits the federal government to deny funding to universities that don’t properly address the rising epidemic of Jew-hatred on their campuses.
Of course, the left is melting down Twitter with embarrassing hot takes.
The order directs those departments enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to adopt the definition of antisemitism formally recognized by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Title VI states, “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Jewish Insider obtained a draft of the executive order, titled “Combating Anti-Semitism.” The EO opens by stating that the Trump “administration is committed to combating the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States and around the world.” It notes the alarming rise in anti-Semitism on college campuses. “Anti-Semitic incidents have increased since 2013, and students, in particular, continue to face anti-Semitic harassment in schools and on university and college campuses.”
The EO does not, contrary to The New York Times’ initial reporting, label Judaism a category of “national origin.” It instead states that antisemitism will be treated as harshly as any other discrimination against individuals on the basis of their race, color, or national origin. It orders that Title VI be enforced “against prohibited forms of discrimination rooted in anti-Semitism as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VI.”
It also allows for departments enforcing Title VI to consider “‘Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism’ identified by the IHRA, to the extent that any examples might be useful in determining whether a discriminatory event has actually taken place. According to IHRA’s Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, such examples include “accusing Jews of dual loyalty, denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of Nazism, and using classic anti-Semitic symbols to portray Israel or Israelis.”
In predictable fashion, media outlets rushed to criticize Trump’s EO before its full release on Wednesday, declaring with spastic breathlessness that the president’s order was akin to Nazism because allegedly, the document was supposed to define Judaism as a “national origin.” There are several things wrong with these critiques–beyond the obvious left-wing bias such that corporate media figureheads’ brains seem to be falling out of their heads whenever Trump so much as breathes.
“When news of the impending executive order leaked, many rushed to criticize it without understanding its purpose,” Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, stated in a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday. “The executive order does not define Jews as a nationality. It merely says that to the extent that Jews are discriminated against for ethnic, racial or national characteristics, they are entitled protection by the anti-discrimination law.”
Despite the hallucinations of the permanently Trump-scarred left, even if the EO had defined Judaism as a nationality, it would not have been an incorrect assessment. Relatively recent ahistorical and revisionist views on Judaism notwithstanding, it has long been understood to be “simultaneously a religion, a culture, and a nationality.” This is particularly true if you are describing a nation as a group of people sharing a common language, history, and culture.
Although I have not constructed the Venn Diagram in its entirety, I have a sinking suspicion that those declaring the Jews do not comprise a nation run roughshod with the same individuals who pen fruitless thought pieces on how Israel should not exist. Just a hunch.
Trump’s EO “Combating Anti-Semitism” arrives as antisemitism continues to proliferate on college campuses, largely under the guise of “anti-Zionism.” Just a few weeks ago, a former Israeli soldier arrived at Vassar to deliver a speech and was met by raucous protesters from the school’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. The crowd enthusiastically chanted, “from the river to the sea,” a popular anti-Zionist refrain that advocates for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the nation of Israel (in other words, from the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea — which is, of course, all of Israel).
There are countless more instances in which antisemites, masquerading as anti-Zionists, have engaged in open antisemitism on an American college campus, unfettered by the bloated administrations of some of our allegedly “top schools.” Earlier this year, New York University opted to award its chapter of SJP with the President’s Service Award, an honor given to a student group that has “positively impacted the NYU community through significant contributions to either community service and civic engagement or student leadership and campus programming.”
But this group has repeatedly engaged in Jew-hatred, sometimes in mind-bendingly bizarre ways. In 2014, members of NYU’s SJP chapter sent out fake eviction notices to Jewish students at NYU in order to “protest Israeli policies.” Just last year, they crashed an Israeli Independence Day event, stole the flags, and burned them. SJP is cultivating some sort of culture, indeed, but it’s certainly not one we should be encouraging on our college campuses.
Earlier this year, when Chelsea Clinton attended an NYU memorial honoring the victims of the Christchurch mosque shooting, she was confronted by members of NYU’s SJP chapter, who accused her of “Islamophobia” by questioning whether Rep. Ilhan Omar’s statements regarding Jews buying political influence were antisemitic.
If pointing out antisemitism is now “Islamophobic,” American universities will no doubt have their work cut out for them. However, such behemoth institutions, with their mazes of diversity officers and “Student Success Managers” and “Health Promotion Specialists,” are largely to blame for their own woes. Under the weight of their own administrative excesses, they fail to see what is directly in front of them, or perhaps, more perniciously, they simply don’t care.
As Leil Leibovitz emphasized his Tablet article entitled “Get Out” back in May, American universities, in all their attempts to indulge the fantasies of far-left antisemites, are destroying their bonds with the American Jewish community and shunning the principles of rational thought and critical human inquiry that once made them excellent. In the words of Leibovitz, it’s time for Jews to “get out.”
American universities are openly breaking their bonds with the Jewish community by embracing active discrimination against Jewish students and rejecting their intellectual, emotional, and moral attachments to the values of equal human dignity, universal rights, critical inquiry, and rational thought… Now is the time for all of the good people involved—students, parents, donors—to get out, and fast.
Trump’s EO solves what had perpetually been a problem for enforcers of Title VI, who were unable to respond with any real teeth to incidents of anti-Semitism on college campuses. As Kenneth Marcus, the assistant secretary of civil rights in the Department of Education, noted in an essay nearly a decade ago titled “A Blind Eye to Campus Anti-Semitism?” enforcement issues have stemmed largely from issues of legal categorization.
The lack of a coherent legal conception of Jewish identity has rendered the Office for Civil Rights (henceforth, OCR) unable to cope with a resurgence of anti–Semitic incidents on American college campuses, of which the Irvine situation is enragingly emblematic. The problem stems from the fact that federal agents have jurisdiction under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act over race and national-origin discrimination—but not over religion. And because they have been unable to determine whether Jewish Americans constitute a race or a national-origin group, they found themselves unable to address the anti-Semitism at UC-Irvine. This confusion has led to enforcement paralysis as well as explosive confrontations and recriminations within the agency.
The left’s anger towards the EO designed to combat antisemitism was particularly virulent, in part due to the fact that the left has spent the last three years marketing itself as having seized the moral high ground on tackling Jew-hatred, despite the fact that anyone with a set of eyes and a brain can tell that this a far cry from reality.
No matter how many times the left screams that Trump is a Nazi, it will not change the fact that the vast majority of antisemitism on college campuses is being perpetrated by radical leftist groups. No matter how many times the left shouts that Trump hates Jews, it is the majority of Democratic House leadership that has met with rabid antisemitic hate preacher Louis Farrakhan—several times.
No amount of inane, baseless deflection will undo Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ (D-N.Y.) “great” phone call with aspiring UK Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn, whose victory, if it were to come to fruition, would compel nearly half of U.K. Jews to “seriously consider” leaving the country. Indeed, there isn’t enough political spinning in the world to undo the damage the Women’s March caused the Democratic Party in this area. They ripped the mask off of the Democratic establishment, exposing the party’s perpetual coddling of Marxist, antisemites in exchange for votes from the radical left.
Just this past week, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) was the headliner at an event hosted by American Muslims for Palestine, a group that regularly peddles antisemitic conspiracy theories and has among its supporters many who seek the annihilation of Israel. “AMP has its organizational roots in the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), an anti-Semitic group that served as the main propaganda arm for Hamas in the United States until it was dissolved in 2004,” stated the Anti-Defamation League to Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon. “Since its creation in 2005, AMP continues to work closely with some former IAP leaders who currently hold positions as AMP board members.”
The reason corporate media hasn’t given ample coverage to attacks on Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn is the same reason that mainstream media outlets haven’t asked Tlaib about her latest speech. When the perpetrators are on the left, calling out antisemitism is no longer politically rewarding.
I applaud President Trump for doing what the American left (and British left) seem incapable of doing — ensuring Jews are treated with equal dignity. You would think such an endeavor would be uncontroversial, but the left has shown us otherwise.
The Federalist · by Erielle Davidson · December 12, 2019