Trump wants anti-Semitism redefined. An executive order perhaps already signed is all about stifling legitimate criticism of Israel.
It’s about wanting the Jewish state absolved of occupation, colonialism, and apartheid crimes against humanity.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) affirmed self-determination as an essential principle of international law.
Colonial occupation is in clear violation. UN General Assembly Res. 151, the Declaration on Colonialism, condemns the practice “in all its forms and manifestations,” including illegal settlements.
According to the Apartheid Convention (1973), the practice is state-sponsored “inhuman” racism “committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”
That’s what Israeli repression of the Palestinian people is all about—Gazans harmed most of all by suffocating siege, cross-border incursions, frequent terror-bombing incidents, and naked aggression at Israel’s discretion.
Ignored by the Jewish state, the US and other Western countries is that self-determination is a universal right, affirmed by the UN Charter and other international law.
The West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza are illegally occupied territories, Palestinians ruthlessly persecuted by Israel.
Land seizures and dispossessing Palestinians are flagrant international law violations. So are breaches of Security Council resolutions, Israel guilty time and again, accountability never forthcoming.
All of the above are relevant to Trump’s expected executive order. It’s notably all about wanting legitimate criticism of Israeli high crimes silenced, notably on college campuses by student activists for equity and justice—targeting them and others a flagrant First Amendment violation.
According to the Constitution Center, presidential executive orders (EOs) have “much of the same power as federal law.”
Congress can pass legislation to override an EO, a super-majority needed in case of a presidential veto.
The Congressional Research Service explained that there is no direct “definition of executive orders, presidential memoranda, and proclamations in the US Constitution. There is, likewise, no specific provision authorizing their issuance.”
Every US president since George Washington issued EOs. During WW II, Franklin Roosevelt authorized internment camps for Japanese Americans.
In 1861 during the Civl War, Lincoln suspended habeas rights by this way.
Two EOs were used for his Emancipation Proclamation that didn’t free a single slave at the time. He wanted them deported at war’s end to maintain America as a white supremacist society.
He was a war criminal. He suspended the Constitution and habeas rights, forcefully closed courts, arbitrarily ordered arrests, conscripted US citizens without congressional authorization, and closed newspapers opposing his policies.
Glorifying him as a great president ignores his dark side, the same true of all US warrior presidents and others beholden to privileged interests exclusively at the expense of the public welfare.
Executive branch and congressional support for Israel is overwhelmingly one-sided. Few in Washington dare criticize its actions, no matter how egregious. The same goes for establishment media.
According to AP News, citing three unnamed US officials, “Trump is set to sign an executive order Wednesday targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses,” adding, “Officials say the order will broaden the federal government’s definition of anti-Semitism and instruct it to be used in enforcing laws against discrimination on college campuses.”
Henceforth, will advocacy for Palestinian rights and wanting Israel held accountable for denying them be criminalized—and not just on college campuses?
According to the NYT, Trump’s order “will effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion.”
It’ll permit withholding federal funds from colleges and universities that fail to crack down on criticism of Israel that Trump’s EO calls anti-Semitic.
It aims to stifle BDS activism on college campuses, a vital global initiative to counter its persecution of the Palestinian people.
Separate and unequal is fundamental Israeli policy, Muslims especially demeaned.
The Trump regime’s definition of anti-Semitism matches the State Department’s, falsely calling it criticism “of the state of Israel.”
It considers the legitimate global BDS movement and other groups critical of Israel anti-Semitic.
Congressional Anti-Semitism Awareness legislation was introduced this year and earlier but not passed.
Anti-Zionism and anti-Israel are unrelated to hostility and bias toward Jews.
Israel is a nation-state, Judaism a religion. Some of Israel’s fiercest critics are Jews, clearly not self-hating ones.
Calling Jewish state critics anti-Semitic is a long-ago discredited canard.
The same goes for criticizing Zionism, tyranny by another name. The ideology is extremist, undemocratic, hateful, ruthless, racist, destructive, and hostile to peace, equity and justice.
It’s contemptuous of fundamental legal, moral and ethical principles; Jews unacceptably considered a chosen people superior to others.
Anglo-Zionism is a hugely destructive force threatening everyone everywhere. Israeli persecution of Palestinians is well documented—criticizing both a moral and ethical obligation.
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights executive director Yousef Munayyer slammed Trump’s EO, calling it part of a campaign “to silence Palestinian rights activism” by equating legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, adding, “Israeli apartheid is a very hard product to sell in America, especially in progressive spaces, and realizing this, many Israeli apartheid apologists, Trump included, are looking to silence a debate they know they can’t win.”
Three years ago this month, in response to the proposed congressional Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016 legislation, the ACLU said the following: “The bill poses a serious threat to the First Amendment free speech rights of those on campus who may hold certain political views,” adding, “[T]he First Amendment prevents the federal government from using its great weight to impose severe penalties on a person simply for sharing a political viewpoint critical of Israel.”
On Tuesday, Jewish Voice for Peace said “Trump doesn’t care about Jewish safety. [His] Executive Order is about silencing criticism of Israel,” adding that his EO “will usher in a climate of fear on college campuses, where university administrations will be incentivized to silence student activism, faculty research, and teaching about Palestine—while white supremacist organizing, which has been steadily increasing under Trump, will go unchecked.”
Unobstructed speech, press and academic rights are fundamental. Compromising them is the hallmark of totalitarian rule, the slippery slope where the US and other Western societies are heading—Trump’s new EO the latest example.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.