By Miles Jaye
Is Donald Trump Jewish? Does his Trump genealogy include Jewish roots? Would it matter? To whom? Would it matter to his extreme right wing, nationalist, neo-Nazi, Confederate Flag waving, Swastika wearing, goose-stepping, pick-up truck driving base– Trump supporters who shouted “Jews will not replace us” at the infamous Charlottesville rally? No doubt, all fine people.
What is Jewish? The Oxford English Dictionary defines Jewish as relating to, associated with, or denoting Jewish people or Judaism. I’ve always found “Jewish” to be an interesting term as there is no similar term such as Muslimish or Christianish, to identify or classify a group or race of people. Typically, the suffix -ish suggests something is like or similar to a thing, but not actually that thing, right?
Judaism is defined as the monotheistic (mono-one; the-God) religion of the Jewish people. Practitioners of Judaism adhere to a “covenant” made between God and Abraham and a very specific set of “laws” revealed to Moses, set down in the Torah.
Hebrew is defined as 1. an ancient people descended from Jacob, the grandson of Abraham. 2. A religious sect. 3. A Semitic language spoken by adherents to the Hebrew faith.
You’ve heard the term Anti-Semitic, but what exactly is Semitic? (Pay close attention to the ending of this definition.) Relating to or denoting a family of languages that includes Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic and certain ancient languages such as Phoenician (Greek) and Akkadian (Assyrian; Babylonian), constituting the main sub-group of the Afro-Asiatic family. 2. Relating to peoples who speak Semitic languages, especially Hebrew and Arabic. Afro-Asiatic? Might I be Jewish? Is it possible or even likely that I am a Hebrew? So, what is Anti-Semitic?
Half of the New Testament is devoted to letters from the Apostle Paul of Tarsus (modern day Turkey), to an overwhelmingly Greek audience– Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Thessalonians. What then is to be made of Akkad or Akkadian? Sargon the Great’s Akkadian Empire is considered the world’s first empire, dating back to more than 2,000 B.C. Akkad is modern day Iraq.
If Trumps were Jews, they would most likely have been Yiddish speaking German Ashkenazi Jews. Spanish speaking Sephardic Jews settled across Northern Africa in Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia. Mizrahi Jews settled in Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as across the Middle East in Turkey, Syria, and Persia (modern-day Iran). They spoke Arabic, Persian, Aramaic and are said to date back to the original followers of Judaism.
Is it coincidence that both Jews and Africans have been similarly despised, ostracized, and oppressed down through the centuries and around the world? Hitler constructed his brand of White Supremacy on the premise of Aryan superiority. He hated and held as inferior, all Jews, Asians, Africans, Gypsies and those with physical deformities or handicaps– sound familiar?
A 1929 Nazi pamphlet described Hitler’s pure-white Super Race in this way: “The Aryan race is tall, long legged, slim. The race is narrow-faced, with a narrow forehead, a narrow high built nose and a lower jaw and prominent chin, the skin is rosy bright and the blood shines through… the hair is smooth, straight or wavy– possibly curly in childhood. The color is blond.”
Ironically, Hitler was dead wrong, or Trump wrong in his assumptions and assertions about Aryans. The term Aryan refers to people of the Indo-Iranian and Indo-European cultures of Iran, Afghanistan and India, none of which fit his description of Aryan or of a pure white race. Aryan actually refers to the upper class, upper crust, privileged, society Indians– Brown Privilege!
Interestingly, Fred Jr., President Trump’s recently deceased older brother not only pledged a Jewish fraternity at Lehigh College, but he’s also known to have boasted to his fraternity brothers that his dad was Jewish. Ivanka is Jewish. Both Donald Jr. and Eric married Jewish brides, Lara and Vanessa. Fred Trump Sr. was reported to be among the largest donors to Israel and the Jewish community. Donald Trump is reported to be the state of Israel’s most reliable and most generous friend in the White House in American history.
None of this proves that Jews were in the Trump bloodline, or mine, for that matter. It only suggests possibilities and offers a reminder that things are not always as they seem. People adapt and adjust as it suits them, as circumstance and opportunity may provide, or as mere survival may require. Fred Sr. changed his name from Friedrick to Fred for more amenable business dealings. Politicians change from one party to another for political expediency. Folks convert from one faith to another in order to marry. Black folks “pass” when their complexions allow, and non-Blacks choose to be Black when it’s convenient. The Diaspora, African, Asian, European, Jewish, or otherwise, makes the world a very small and complex place. I don’t know much about many things, but I’m curious about everything.
The more I study and learn the more beautiful people are to me and the more I despise ignorance as the iron from which the weapons of hate and oppression are forged.
That’s what’s on my mind!
By Miles Jaye