The New York Times mired itself in more controversy while trying desperately to put a negative spin on President Trump’s recent executive order fighting anti-Semitism on college campuses.
White House reporters Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman launched the misinformation last week in “Trump Targets Anti-Semitism and Israel Boycotts on Campus” (click “expand”):
President Trump plans to sign an executive order on Wednesday targeting what he sees as anti-Semitism on college campuses by threatening to withhold federal money from educational institutions that fail to combat discrimination, three administration officials said on Tuesday.
The order will effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion, to prompt a federal law penalizing colleges and universities deemed to be shirking their responsibility to foster an open climate for minority students. In recent years, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions -- or B.D.S. -- movement against Israel has roiled some campuses, leaving some Jewish students feeling unwelcome or attacked....But 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.
After accusing Trump of possibly “emboldening white supremacists like those in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017,” they cited pertinent anti-Semitic examples from campus, before again misleading about what the Executive Order would do:
....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, like Italian Americans or Polish Americans.
But that’s wrong, insisted many who read it, including Slate. Twitterati who initially reacted with fear based on Times reporting admitted the order did not redefine Judaism as a national origin. Hot Air argued “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.”
But The Times didn’t get the message. Last Friday came “Unease at Trump’s Order To Tackle Anti-Semitism.”
Left-wing Max Fisher’s “Interpreter” column Monday used convoluted reasoning: “An Order Combating Hate Revives Questions of Identity”:
The order is ambiguous as to whether it sees Jews as a distinct nationality or a minority race, but either interpretation aligns with Mr. Trump’s preoccupation with defining, and policing, the boundaries of identity.
And the order’s creation of special status for Jews, but not other religious minorities, follows Mr. Trump’s habit of welcoming some demographic groups into the rights and protections of American identity and excluding others. Tellingly, the singling out of Jews for special protection in the order left some feeling still more exposed.
Fisher waved away the long-standing Jewish tradition of identifying with Israel:
The Israeli national narrative, of a long-forgotten homeland waiting to be rediscovered by a citizenry scattered by history, implies a Jewish identity that is innately ethnic and national. Still, American Jewish attitudes toward Israel are cooling; national fealty, for many, is a stretch.