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The New York Times reports, “Trump to Sign Order Targeting Anti-Semitism on College Campuses”:

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The order will effectively interpret Judaism as a nationality, not just a religion, to trigger a federal law penalizing colleges and universities deemed to be shirking their responsibility to foster an open climate for minority students, according to the officials, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the matter before the announcement.

Zionists may imagine that this is to their advantage. For anti-Zionists, it is an example of what was foreseen and then experienced by Jews around the world as the political Zionist movement took root.

From Edwin Montagu to Rabbi Elmer Berger to American Jewish Committee presidents Joseph Proskauer and Jacob Blaustein, the conflation of the ethnic and faith identity of Judaism (already a difficult combination) to a nationality was seen as a long-acting poison.

Montagu wrote to his fellow UK Cabinet members in 1917 — when considering issuing the Balfour Declaration — that “Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed…”

I assert that there is not a Jewish nation. The members of my family, for instance, who have been in this country for generations, have no sort or kind of community of view or of desire with any Jewish family in any other country beyond the fact that they profess to a greater or less degree the same religion. It is no more true to say that a Jewish Englishman and a Jewish Moor are of the same nation than it is to say that a Christian Englishman and a Christian Frenchman are of the same nation: of the same race, perhaps, traced back through the centuries – through centuries of the history of a peculiarly adaptable race….

“When the Jews are told that Palestine is their national home, every country will immediately desire to get rid of its Jewish citizens,” Montagu continued, “and you will find a (Jewish) population in Palestine driving out its present inhabitants, taking all the best in the country, drawn from all quarters of the globe…”

When the Times broke the story, Jewish- and Palestinian-American Twitter-sphere erupted. “American Jews” and “Judaism” became top Twitter topics. Some examples:

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Reaction on twitter to Trump’s acceptance of an antisemitism definition defining Judaism as a nationality.

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Reaction on twitter to Trump’s acceptance of an antisemitism definition defining Judaism as a nationality.

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Last Saturday night, Trump’s speech to a pro-Israel group in Hollywood, Florida, was headlined by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “President Donald Trump slammed American Jews who he said did not sufficiently ‘love Israel.’” Speaking to the Israeli American Council National Summit 2019, Trump said (per the White House transcript):

So many of you voted for people in the last administration. Someday you’ll have to explain that to me, because I don’t think they liked Israel too much. I’m sorry. (Applause.) I don’t think they liked Israel too much….

We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more. I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more. Because you have people that are Jewish people, that are great people — they don’t love Israel enough. You know that. You know that. (Applause.) …

A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well. You’re brutal killers. (Laughter.) Not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me; you have no choice. You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that. (Laughter and applause.) You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax..

Trump proposes an older, European and Arab model of tolerance for Jews as protected outsiders, if they support the rulers and perform financial functions for them in the society.

A reward offered is American support for Jews’ “real” home country, Israel. That is why Trump is so disturbed by American Jews who do not sufficiently “love Israel.”

That the Jewish “nationhood” proposition is being promoted by the Trump regime — known for anti-American intolerance and general malignance — is a final endorsement, an anti-hechsher (anti-koshering) one might say, to Jewish nationalism.

The partnership of Trump and Jewish nationalists is contrasting with the expansive, embracing, tolerant American creed. The intersectionality of Trumpism and Zionism is fortuitous, one might say, for clarity.

abba solomon

Abba Solomon