Donald Trump: Causing a Frenzy and Making Friends in the Jewish World

With a single stroke of his presidential sharpie, Donald Trump sent the entire Jewish world into a frenzy, debating whether America’s 45th president had just changed the definition of Judaism in America from a religion to a nationality or race. He did not. The executive order Trump had signed on Wednesday includes nothing to indicate such a shift. The only change that could result from Trump’s executive order, which adopted a broader definition of anti-Semitism, is an easier time for those wishing to go after colleges for creating a hostile environment for pro-Israel students.

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The Role of Orthodox Jews in Republican Politics

Orthodox Jews are Trump’s strongest—and only—reliable support base within the Jewish community. Polling shows that more than half of those identifying as Orthodox voted for Trump in 2016. The president also enjoys strong approval ratings within the Orthodox community since taking office. This unlikely political alliance, between a segment of the population focused on family values and religious insularity and the flamboyant New York businessman-turned-politician, has many explanations:

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Aid to Israel: Has J Street Changed the Game?

J Street, the left-leaning pro-Israel lobby, wrapped up its three-day conference in Washington, DC last week. In an email to supporters summing up the meeting (and making a pitch for donations), the group’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami announced, “We’ve changed the conversation” about Israel, noting that the conference brought the issue of Israel to the Democratic presidential race agenda and that candidates have discussed, among other issues, their plans to “employ U.S. leverage to combat settlement expansion.” Or, in other words, J Street made using American foreign aid to Israel into an issue Democrats are willing to fight for.

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