The dynamic I find interesting between the ultra-right in Israel and the right-wing Trump presidential campaign in America is that at this precise moment, according to the powerful Israel ultra-Orthodox Rabbinate, which controls civil liberties in Israel (or rather, lack thereof) Ivanka Trump is not considered a Jew. Her conversion rabbi, though Orthodox, is not on their approved list. So, according to the law in Israel, Ivanka Trump Kushner and her children are not deemed Jewish.
Don’t get me wrong, I loathe the patriarchal control the misogynist Rabbinate has over Israel, both in public and private life. It is a degrading, corrupt, and unjust system.
But there is something interesting to note about the premise of Orthodox conversion. You are mandated to forgo all other allegiances, including your own family, when you convert. Your first priority and loyalty must be to God, observance of the 613 mitzvahs (commandments) and unswerving devotion to the Jewish people, as a whole. It’s hard and that’s why traditionally, Judaism has never been a religion that proselytizes, and in fact, there is a rejection process before anyone is permitted to convert as an Orthodox Jew.
So, where in the world is Ivanka? She’s been touted as a feminist (I find that hard to believe) and possibly even a candidate for the vice presidency. As her brother has pointed out on behalf of the Trump campaign, Ivanka will turn 35 a whopping week before the elections, making her candidacy legitimate.
I’m not saying that she doesn’t deserve to have a relationship with her family. But she is standing silently by, while fellow Jews on both sides of the aisle (including an Orthodox, conservative Republican journalist mom) are receiving death threats by anti-Semites, as a direct result of her father’s rhetoric.
That silence, coupled with her eager participation in a campaign that has direct engagement with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, that actively promotes and escalates anti-Semitism (and misogyny, racism, et al) is neither very Jewish nor feminist or Jewish feminist.
The ADL has called out her father. Perhaps it’s time he stopped using her Jewishness as cover, and she started using her Jewishness to unequivocally reject the vicious anti-Semitism of many of Trump’s supporters, and to instill far better values in her father’s campaign.
One additional question of particular concern to Israelis and world Jews…what happens if Donald Trump is elected and the Rabbinate continues to humiliate his daughter and grandchildren, especially given that he is both notoriously fickle and vindictive? Especially as he is at best, stubbornly tone deaf to anti-Semitism.
Ivanka Trump is only too happy to stand beaming on the podium, rally after rally. It seems well past time for her to grab that powerful microphone for just a hot minute and use it to stand up for the Jews, including her own children.