By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz December 11, 2019
“I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing.” Genesis 12:2 (The Israel Bible™)
Once again, President Trump is attaching himself to the words of the Bible by passing an executive order which explicitly enacts God’s promise to Abraham; the Jews are a nation. One prominent American Israeli rabbi noted the sole Biblical character who referred to Judaism as a religion; Haman. President Trump announced that he will be signing an executive order on Wednesday intended to withhold federal funding as a means of forcing universities to cope with growing anti-Semitism on campus. First reported in the New York Times, the order will effectively define Judaism as a race or nationality and not just a religion. The order empowers the Education Department as described in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which allows the department to withhold funding from any college or educational program that discriminates “on the ground of race, color, or national origin.” Religion was not included among the protected categories, so Mr. Trump’s order will have the effect of embracing an argument that Jews are a people or a race with a collective national origin in the Middle East.
The new executive order will be based on the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism which includes a section on anti-Semitism relative to Israel based on the three ‘D’s’: Demonization, Double-Standard, and Delegitimization.
- Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis
- Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
- Blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions
- Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
- Multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations
- Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist
The State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism includes the disclaimer, “Criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.” The NYT article noted that “critics complained that such a policy could be used to stifle free speech and legitimate opposition to Israel’s policies toward Palestinians in the name of fighting anti-Semitism.”
Former Likud Member of Knesset Rabbi Yehudah Glick who was born in the U.S. noted that the Presidential executive order would align U.S. higher education with a Biblical fact. “Judaism is a nationality,” Rabbi Glick said. “This should be absolutely clear now that we are back to normal and have returned to our homeland and have our own language. That is the simple definition of nationality.” “When God first called out to Abraham, he said that he wanted to establish him as a nation. And both of his sons, Ishmael and Isaac became the fathers of nations. It would be hypocritical to say that the Arabs as the descendants of Ishmael are a nation and the Jews as the descendants of Isaac and Jacob are not.” “He promised the land to a nation as a homeland. We need to be a nation in order to fulfill all our functions as a nation; to be a source of blessing for the other nations, to establish a house of prayer for all the other nations, to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
Towards this end, Rabbi Glick established the Shalom Jerusalem Foundation. He notes that defining Judaism as a religion is a sign of evil. “There is only one place in the Bible where Judaism is referred to as a religion,” Rabbi Glick pointed out.
Haman then said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people, scattered and dispersed among the other peoples in all the provinces of your realm, whose laws are different from those of any other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; and it is not in Your Majesty’s interest to tolerate them. Esther 3:8 The Hebrew word that is translated here as “laws” is actually דת (dat; faith or religion). “The only person who ever thought Judaism was a religion was Haman,” Rabb Glick said. “What is unique in this nationality is that it is composed of people who follow the Jewish religion and bless the other nations of the world. The redemption progress is clearly underway and the other nations are beginning to recognize the Jews as a nation with Jerusalem as our nation’s capital and the world center for faith in God.”