Ivanka Trump’s Instagram account is one of the few areas in which Judaism, politics, and Harry Potter are all intertwined.
The Trump family just can’t seem to catch a break with plagiarism. To begin with, Donald Trump lifted his campaign theme from Ronald Reagan’s “let’s make America great again,” and Melania Trump’s RNC speech featured entire paragraphs from Michelle Obama’s DNC speech, and now Ivanka Trump has run into problems of her own. In an interesting side note, Bill Clinton just suggested that “make America great again” is racist, despite the fact that he used it as a slogan for decades.
Ivanka’s Instagram account posted a picture a few days ago featuring an inspiring quote: “If not me, who? If not now, when?” This quote probably sounds familiar to many, but what is shocking is who Ivanka attributed it to: Emma Watson. In her defense, this quote has been falsely attributed to many over the course of the years, and Watson did in fact say it in a speech in 2014. Interestingly, the image that Trump posted has her own logo in the bottom of it, which meant that it was (ironically) not lifted from someone else’s account, but that someone found the quote, and thought that Watson was its creator.
This quote has been used or attributed in some form or fashion to figures as wide-ranging as George Romney, Robert F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and Mikhail Gorbachev, so Watson is now being added to this litany of people. But the question of who originally said it remains unanswered.
The originator of this quote is Rabbi Hillel, one of the most famous Jewish sages. The original quote is: “If I am not for me, who will be for me? And when I am for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, then when?”
Interestingly, Rabbi Hillel’s other most popular saying has also been copied by many throughout the years. It is now known as the Golden Rule. The origins of the Golden Rule can be found in the Torah when it states “Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” Hillel was challenged to summarize all of the Torah while standing on one leg, and he responded by saying “that which is hateful unto you do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole of the Torah, The rest is commentary. Go forth and study.”
While Ivanka is following in a storied tradition of mis-attributing this quote, her plagiarism troubles fit right at home with her family’s.