December 13, 2019

Anti-Semitism EO

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order aimed at combating anti-Semitism on college campuses. The order states, “While Title VI does not cover discrimination based on religion, individuals who face discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin do not lose protection under Title VI for also being a member of a group that shares common religious practices. Discrimination against Jews may give rise to a Title VI violation when the discrimination is based on an individual’s race, color, or national origin.” White House

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the EO would define Judaism as a nationality. This was incorrect, and the original story has since been edited to reflect this. Twitter, New York Times

See past issues

From the Left

The left is skeptical of Trump’s motives, citing his previous comments about Jews, and worries that the executive order will be used to stifle criticism of Israel.

“President Trump has regularly and repeatedly suggested that America is not the country of American Jews. Israel is ‘your country,’ he says, and Netanyahu is ‘your prime minister’... Just a few days ago, Trump proffered a cavalcade of anti-Semitic stereotypes in a speech before the Israeli American Council, lambasting American Jews for their insufficient love of both him and Israel, calling Jews ‘not nice people’ who would nonetheless be compelled to vote Republican in order to protect their wealth…

“That the same administration that has cried about ‘free speech on campus’ when it comes to protecting the rights of racist provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos is suddenly a lot more invested in student safety when it might help suppress pro-Palestinian protests provokes fears that it primarily sees the charge of anti-Semitism as a tool to bludgeon wayward Democrats.”
David Schraub, The Atlantic

“The draft text suggests concerns about treating Jews as non-Americans were overblown. But is also is a sign that the Trump administration might be willing to expand ongoing efforts to attack the speech rights of Palestinian campuses on campus, an extension of an illiberal trend in organized pro-Israel advocacy that should trouble all of us…

“The Trump Department of Education has already launched several investigations into pro-Palestinian campus speech under the auspices of Title VI. It’s possible this could escalate after the executive order. ‘In the last year alone, the Department of Education has launched investigations into alleged anti-Semitism at Rutgers University, Duke University, the University of North Carolina, and Williams College… If found to have enabled anti-Semitism on campus, these universities could forfeit millions of dollars in federal funding. Yet, in each case, the ‘anti-Semitic’ speech being investigated is criticism of Israel.’”
Zack Beauchamp and Ian Millhiser, Vox

“Mr. Trump’s executive order points agencies to the definition of anti-Semitism prepared by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. This definition includes several examples of speech that should be covered by the First Amendment, like ‘claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.’ For this reason Kenneth Stern, the lead author of the definition, wrote in The Times that it shouldn’t be applied to higher education. The agency’s definition was prepared for data collectors writing reports in Europe, not for government officials policing campus speech.”
Editorial Board, New York Times

Some, however, note that “The order only directs agencies to consider the IHRA’s list ‘to the extent that any examples might be useful as evidence of discriminatory intent.’ In other words, applying double standards to Israel alone would not trigger a Title VI investigation. Instead, the IHRA’s list would only come into play after an individual is accused of overt anti-Semitism with an ethnic component, and then only as evidence of bigoted intent…

“In fact, it’s unclear whether Wednesday’s order will have any impact, given that it mostly just reaffirms the current law… It restates the federal government’s long-standing interpretation of Title VI to encompass some anti-Jewish bias. And it raises the faint possibility that, in some case down the road, a student’s sharp criticism of Israel may be used as evidence of anti-Semitic intent after he has been accused of targeting Jews because of their perceived race or nationality. Is this order red meat for Republicans who believe colleges are increasingly hostile to Jews? Probably. Will it quash the pro-Palestine movement on campuses or impose an unwanted classification on American Jews? Absolutely not.”
Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

“The main question about the strike isn’t moral or even legal—it’s strategic. Soleimani was a supremely powerful leader of a state apparatus, with his own cult of personality, but he was not a terror kingpin. His death doesn’t decapitate anything. He had the blood of tens of thousands of people—overwhelmingly fellow Muslims—on his hands, but he was only the agent of a government policy that preceded him and will continue without him…The only reason to kill Soleimani is to enter a new war that the United States can win… [Yet] No one seems to have thought past the action itself…

“What would [a] war [with Iran] look like? How will Iran fight it? How will the U.S. respond? What credible allies will we have, after Trump’s trashing of the nuclear deal thoroughly alienated Europe? Who will believe any intelligence about Iran’s actions and intentions from an administration that can’t function without telling lies?…What is our war aim, and how can it be aligned with Trump’s obvious desire to be rid of any entanglement in the region? What will happen if Jerusalem becomes a target and Israel enters the conflict? What will the American people accept by way of sacrifice, when nothing has prepared them for this? There’s no sign that anyone in power, least of all the president, has even asked these questions, let alone knows how to answer them.”
George Packer, The Atlantic

“By declaring that the United States will respond with airstrikes to any attacks on American targets or assets, Mr. Trump is drawing a bright red line that Iran cannot cross. And yet, Iran relies on a network of proxy actors from Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Must they all respect Mr. Trump’s red line? There are plenty of hotheads in those proxy forces that will be incensed by the assassination, the same way young men with weapons and minimal discipline often are… Mr. Trump can’t keep an entire region from crossing his red line, making violent conflict all the more likely if the president holds to it…

“It is crucial that influential Republican senators like Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Mitch McConnell remind Mr. Trump of his promise to keep America out of foreign quagmires and keep Mr. Trump from stumbling further into war with Iran.”
Editorial Board, New York Times

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

From the Right

The right generally supports the executive order, and criticizes the erroneous reporting by the New York Times.

From the Right

The right generally supports the executive order, and criticizes the erroneous reporting by the New York Times.

“Juxtapose the treatment of an actual anti-Semitic attack by two black perpetrators affiliated with a black supremacist group with the media and Twitter Left’s treatment of Donald Trump’s executive order (EO) targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses. Trump’s EO is merely an extension of longstanding bipartisan policy that suggests that Jews ought to be protected on college campuses by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964…

“Even if the EO had labeled Jews a ‘nationality,’ that would have been perfectly in line with Jewish law and tradition. Jews are not merely a religious group. They are in fact a group with shared ancestry, a shared culture, and a shared history. You can join the group by converting, but while religious and philosophic Judaism is a key component of Jewish identity — and the most key component when it comes to standing to speak on Jewish issues, generally — Jewishness isn’t just religion.”
Ben Shapiro, Daily Wire

“This is one of those journalistic errors that would not have been made if not for the left-leaning media’s pre-existing hostility to Trump. If the Times had been told a similar story about an EO to be issued by President Obama (and this appears to be based on Obama-era policy) the paper would have carefully checked the ‘nationality’ claim before printing it. But because Trump is presumed to have bad intent at all times, they ran with an explosive claim that wasn’t true. Great work, guys! I wonder why so many Americans don’t trust the media?”
John Sexton, Hot Air

“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 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.”
Erielle Davidson, The Federalist

Some note that “Civil liberties groups have raised alarms that the executive order could suppress constitutionally protected speech. They’re right to be concerned… Vile, hateful, and racist words are constitutionally-protected forms of expression. As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education states, ‘[T]he definition [of anti-Semitism] and examples reach core political speech protected by the First Amendment’...

“The order would be far better if it did not refer to a list of anti-Semitic ideas—even if the ideas in that list are vile. Title VI is aimed at conduct, not speech. The bottom line is relatively simple—since Jews are being targeted on the basis of their ‘shared ancestry,’ they should receive protection under Title VI, but extending that protection does not repeal a single syllable of the First Amendment. Title VI can and should exist in harmony with free speech, and the administration should revise its draft order to remove the possibility that universities will use it to impose new speech codes on students and faculty.”
David French, The Dispatch

Others posit that “The latest executive order is a welcome way of addressing well-founded concerns about anti-Semitism and discrimination on campus. As with other executive orders, it’s possible that the government will interpret and enforce it in a over-bearing way. However, there is no reason to assume that it will… It’s worth noting in this regard that Trump has already signed an executive order protecting free speech on campus.”
Paul Mirengoff, Power Line Blog

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“While running for president in 2000, George W. Bush derided ‘nation building’ and said American foreign policy should be ‘humble’ rather than ‘arrogant.’ As president, Bush brought us the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq… While running for president in 2007, Barack Obama rejected the idea that the president has the authority to wage war without congressional authorization whenever he thinks it is in the national interest… As president, Obama did that very thing in Libya… A few years before his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said the U.S. should withdraw immediately from Afghanistan… As president, he sent more troops to Afghanistan…

“Three men with little or no foreign policy experience entered an office where they were surrounded by experts, and they quickly shed their initial skepticism of military intervention… we should worry about a president with little knowledge of the world whose military decisions are driven by anger or domestic political considerations. But it's not clear to me that such a president poses a bigger danger than the experts who have been disastrously wrong more times than we can count.”
Jacob Sullum, Reason

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