The news that President Donald Trump intended to sign an executive order to, as CNN put it, “interpret Judaism as a nationality and not just a religion,” was seemingly out of nowhere. “It’s an order that would allow Trump to take further steps to combat anti-Israel sentiments and divestment movements on college campuses by requiring colleges and universities to treat those movements as discriminatory in order to keep their funding,” CNN wrote.
Trump was expected to sign the executive order on Wednesday.
To many people on social media, the move from a man who famously called Nazi sympathizers “very fine people” didn’t seem to follow, well, any logic.
But buried deeper in the story was the report that the executive order “would trigger a portion of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 that requires educational institutions receiving federal funding to not discriminate based on national origin.”
Bear in mind that the Civil Rights Act was created specifically with Black people in mind. It intentionally addressed racial discrimination in employment, protected Black voters and addressed segregation, police brutality and freedom of speech.
Amazingly, all of those aforementioned scourges affecting Black people, in particular, are still flourishing decades after the act became law in 1964.
Jared Kushner, the president’s son in law, reportedly was the person pushing for Trump to sign this loophole into order so that, according to CNN, “the Trump administration believes will fight what they perceive as anti-Semitism on college campuses.”
The order signed by Trump sparked a larger conversation on social media over whether the controversy over the move was actually rooted in anti-Semitism. The logic being that Jewish advocates said there shouldn’t be any controversy at all for something extends protects to a religious minority.
However, there was also a rising chorus of voices on social media expressing skepticism. One tweet wondered “that if Trump would do this, what’s to stop him issuing an Executive Order declaring “Islam is not a religion” (a widespread right-wing trope spewed by groups tied to John Bolton and Michael Flynn)?”
Another reason to be leery of this move: Trump’s untrustworthiness is already well known, but Kushner is no angel, either. Ivanka Trump‘s husband has been involved with his fair share of scandals, too, including everything from the Russia investigation to being exposed as a slumlord. There is more than enough reason to be skeptical of this duo.