#DisloyalJews and #DisloyalToTrump Hashtags Considered Harmful

So, now you know that I spent way too much time in software development. (For the “considered harmful” bit, see here.)

But beyond that, I’m here to weigh in (surprise!) on the latest developments in Trumpland. (I won’t ever link to anyone in Trumpland directly, however. You’ve got Google or Bing or whatever; you can figure it all out.)

This episode should make it plain to those not intentionally fooling themselves that the current President of the United States is an antisemite. Exactly what kind of antisemite is up for grabs, but it is also irrelevant. He’s the sitting president, and he’s making unambiguous statements concerning the loyalty of 78% of American Jews while sitting in the Oval Office with a Romanian leader. (The Romanians were among the fiercest of the Nazi collaborator regimes.)

Loyalty/disloyalty to whom? It doesn’t matter whether he thinks it’s disloyalty to Israel, or the country, or to him personally, or the broader Jewish people. That he didn’t specify makes it worse: it provides the thinnest veneer of deniability, while signaling exactly what it means to those who would do harm to Jews.

(Charges of disloyalty are centuries-old antisemitic moves. I’m not getting into the full history here. You’ve got Google. Or even better, just read Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg’s Twitter thread on it: https://twitter.com/theradr/status/1163904979628769280?s=21)

Christian groups are entirely too quiet about all of this — and to be clear: we see you in your silence.

Christians, you need to call in your people.

So, frankly, do a few secular groups. As a Humanistic Jew and a Humanist Celebrant, I’m not terribly impressed at the moment by the silence of my fellow travelers in the secular world, as charges of disloyalty for ethnic and religious identities, or lack of them, are pretty plainly serious issues for secularists.

Responses to this from most of the Jewish community is as one would expect: Jewish organizations (too slowly, and in predictably milquetoast fashion) have made public statements condemning the President’s statement. Jewish Twitter is afire, including folks using #DisloyalJews or #DisloyalToTrump hashtags as a way of subverting the disloyalty charge.

I’m never, ever going to use one of these tags, whether they assert loyalty to the country or disloyalty to the President, because I’ll never, ever concede an inch on the loyalty claim. No one should. We should never concede the argument to anyone who seeks to harm us or others as groups. If nothing else, because the Constitution makes it plain that disloyalty is something the government has to prove, one person at a time.

Don’t concede the argument. Push back — not just for American Jews, but for all minority communities who are treated to “go back to where you came from” slurs.

Loyalty — true loyalty — demands this much.