UPDATE: The actual executive order issued today does not contain language consistent with what Haberman and Baker reported Tuesday. Which is good news for everyone, but suggests Haberman and Baker either had bad information or intentionally misunderstood.
Earlier today, New York Times reporters Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker published news that Donald Trump was planning a little executive order which would "effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion...".
And immediately I think to myself that there is something seriously wrong with this and why are Haberman and Baker selling this as some kind of initiative to sell something clearly anti-Semitic as something that is supposed to be protective of Jews? Also, where had I heard this before?
Oh, here is where, as Steve Chipman reminded me.
Yes, that's right. David Duke. And why would David Duke care about this, anyway? I think we all know the answer to that. He is looking for Jewish nationalists, and if he doesn't find them, he's happy to have them invented so he and his fellow white nationalists can single them out for harassment, derision and more.
In the article, Haberman and Baker quote Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League. His concerns are purely about anti-Semitic episodes in the United States, and he applauded the move as one which would minimize the number of them.
“Of course we hope it will be enforced in a fair manner,” he told the Times. “But the fact of the matter is we see Jewish students on college campuses and Jewish people all over being marginalized. The rise of anti-Semitic incidents is not theoretical; it’s empirical.”
I understand Greenblatt's anxiety about anti-Semitism. But this is not the answer. This is quite similar to Hitler's Denaturalization Act.
Here's the basic problem. Singling Jews out for anything is singling Jews out for everything. Assigning some sort of murky "race or nationality" simply "others" them more than they all are.
Further, Donald Trump is so deeply anti-Semitic -- see the video above for just one example -- that the way he truly feels about Jews is evident in the way he speaks about them: Derisive and stereotypical.
The Twitter backlash was pretty immediate:
Here's one that sums it up well:
There are serious consequences to an order like this, which is not at all about the BDS movement, pro-Palestinian protests on campuses or anti-Semitism: