For Immediate Release
Contact: Sarah Clements, West End Strategy Team
Rabbi Jack Moline: Trump’s Executive Order Will Violate the Establishment Clause and Hinder Free Speech – Not Reduce Anti-Semitism
WASHINGTON – Today, President Trump plans to sign an executive order that purports to combat anti-Semitism, but in reality, does nothing but enhance anti-Semitic stereotypes and hinder free speech. In response, Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement:
“From the beginning of President Trump’s administration, we have seen – and called out – a trend of politicizing and weaponizing anti-Semitism. The President has consistently refused to acknowledge any role in fanning the flames of this bigotry that remains on the rise. Now, just days after Trump deployed anti-Semitic tropes in a speech, including ones about money and dual loyalty between America and Israel, he plans to sign an executive order that further weaponizes anti-Semitism and limits free speech.
“This political theater is not only counter-productive, but it endangers the very people such advocates claim to defend. The executive order that President Trump has signed is in violation of the establishment clause. Its implication that Jewish Americans have a national identity separate from their American identity is clear. What standing does any government authority have to declare what Judaism is or is not? With all due respect to the decision-makers who wrote this executive order, the Jewish community does not need President Trump to codify what Jews are into law. The president is changing Jewish status in an artificial way for callous political purposes.
“Additionally, we remain cautious of this executive order, given that it would allow this administration to pull funding from programs that they deem as discriminatory against the Jewish community, under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. While on the surface this seems like an attempt to hold institutions accountable for the very real issue of anti-Semitic incidents on campuses, we have seen what this will actually look like under this administration. Just months ago, Trump’s Department of Education threatened to pull federal funding for the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, in part because of the so-called ‘considerable emphasis placed on understanding the positive aspects of Islam.’ This administration uses anti-Semitism as a shield to ostracize others, squash dissent, and bolster political support for Israel. And that will only backfire against the Jewish community.
“Anti-Semitism has a significant impact on the lives of American Jews, contributing to a culture in which Jews are afraid to openly express their faith. In a nation founded by those seeking religious freedom, we cannot allow this phenomenon to become normalized. More than address anti-Semitism, this executive order will only violate the establishment clause and hinder free speech on campuses.”
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.