Analysis

Trump’s ‘Anti-Semitism’ executive order fights anti-Zionism, not anti-Semitism

Boston anti-racist counter protest. Liberation photo.
Boston anti-fascist counter protest. Liberation photo.

The Party for Liberation and Socialism extends our deepest condolences to the victims of the shootings at the JC Kosher Market in Jersey City, New Jersey. The murders of Mindel Ferencz, Moshe Deutsch and Douglas Miguel Rodríguez at the Jewish market reflect a rise in anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia in particular and racism in general since the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. The daily racist derision of immigrants, Muslims, and nationally oppressed people by Trump beginning with his election campaign and then reinforced under his administration are responsible for a climate that encourages neo-fascist and right-wing elements to act violently on their racist beliefs.

Early this week, the Trump administration issued an “Anti-Semitism” executive order defining Judaism as more than a religion. The order effectively confers upon Jewish people, beyond a shared religious belief, nationhood and thus protection under the Civil Rights Act. The order also expands the definition of anti-Semitism to include anti-Zionist activity.

That Donald Trump would confer nationality on Jewish people is more than what the Zionist leaders of Israel could ever had hoped for from the president of the United States. But Trump and his administration have no concern for Jewish people or for fighting anti-Semitism.

If Trump was concerned about anti-Semitism, how could Reverend Robert Jeffress, an anti-Semitic evangelical Christian minister be invited to speak at the White House Hanukkah celebration? Jeffress’s bigoted view of all non-Christian believers is summed up best by a sermon he gave in 2009 where he stated: “Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, not only do they lead people away from the true God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in hell. You know, Jesus was very clear. Hell is not only going to be populated by murderers and drug dealers and child abusers. Hell is going to be filled with good religious people who have rejected the truth of Christ.”

If one were to think having Jeffress speak was an oversight or mistake on the part of the administration, Trump’s own narcissistic words reveal Trump’s absence of concern for Jewish people when speaking at the same White House celebration: “I’d watch him on different shows, and I’d say, ‘I like that guy. Man, he talks really great about me. And I like people that talk well about me.”

Despite Trump’s egotism, the imperialist system is only interested in securing its position in the Middle East and fortifying the Zionist state of Israel as a means to that end. For the imperialist empire, backing Israel and supporting anti-Semites are not contradictory, and that is also fine with the leaders of Israel despite their claim to be the defenders of Jewish people.

The executive order has very little to do with combating the rise in violence against Jewish people in the United States and more to do with suppressing the growing movement of solidarity with the Palestinian people for national liberation and ending genocidal policies of the Zionist state of Israel. The passage of the “Nation-State of the Jewish People” law by the Israeli Knesset in May 2018 declared that national rights in Israel only belong to Jewish people, nodding to continued expansion of Zionist settlements in the West Bank. This has further isolated Israel internationally and made it an even more hated colonial project. The Palestinian people have responded with renewed resistance and acts of resistance such as the Great March of Return movement. Worldwide solidarity is growing as seen in the growth of the Boycott Divest and Sanction movement initiated by Palestinian civil society. 

The continuing support by the Trump administration of the genocidal actions of the Zionist state, coupled with the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and efforts to pass federal legislation suppressing Palestinian voices in the United States, has been met with opposition from both inside and outside the U.S. Jewish community.

The equating of any criticism of Israeli, that is anti-Zionist activity, with real anti-Semitic activity, like the killings in Jersey City or the murder of 11 people in Pittsburgh at L’Simcha synagogue in October of 2018, does a disservice to Jewish people the world over who reject the policies and actions of the state of Israel 

In a press release issued by Jewish Voice for Peace, a national Jewish organization opposed to Zionism, Rabbi Alissa Wise, acting co-executive director, exposed the true intent of the executive order stating:

Three days ago, Trump said Jews would vote for him because they like money. And yet now he suddenly pretends to care about Jewish safety? He has never cared about stopping antisemitism — this Executive Order is about silencing Palestinians and the people who speak up with them. The Executive Order is his way of forcing through a deeply unpopular and unconstitutional bill. …

The best way to fight against anti-Semitism and all forms of racism and xenophobia, including Islamophobia, is not to rely on pronouncements by the imperialist government of the United States, but is through a multi-national mass movement that directly confronts racism in all its manifestations, including Zionism and anti-Semitism.

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