In the past several years support for the human rights of Palestinians has grown substantially, especially on US college campuses. Israel is being criticized and even boycotted for its violation of international law in its treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in which it surrounds a prison of 1.6 million people, half of them children, in an open air concentration camp, in the territory of the West Bank, which it conquered and now militarily occupies, and in Israel proper where Palestinians are a discriminated against minority.

In response to this growth of support for Palestinians, on December 11th, President Donald Trump signed an executive order changing the 1964 Civil Rights Act and implying for the first time that  the 7 1/2 million American Jews who live here are not a religious group, but a nation and a race.

The implication of this is that they are an “other” with dual loyalties not just to the United States but loyalty to Israel. The dual loyalty accusation is an anti-Semitic  trope with an old and ugly history.

Presidential advisor Jared Kushner wrote a New York Times OpEd defending his father-in-law’s policy equating anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

This was done in order for the Department of Education to suppress the free-speech rights of Palestine solidarity activists on campuses who may now be labeled as anti-Semitic for their activities, and their schools may be denied funds unless the activists are shut down.

There has been an outpouring of protest by Jews themselves against what Trump has done.

This is a good sign. Many young Jews are coming to understand the plight of the Palestinians and no longer blindly support Israel. This fight is not over.

—Michael Steven Smith

    Call host, Law And Disorder Radio heard Mondays on WBAI at 9 AM, 99.5 FM

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