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President Donald Trump signed an executive order today that would reclassify Judaism as both a nationality as well as a religion which under federal law means that government funding can be withheld from colleges and universities that fail to combat anti-Semitism on their campuses.

The order calls on government departments enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism which states “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” The reclassification allows the Education Department, under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to withhold funding from college or educational programs it believes are discriminating in an anti-Semitic way. The law states that the Education Department can take such action against a program that discriminates based “on the ground of race, color or national origin” — but not on religion. In making the change, the Trump administration would be recognizing Jews as having a collective national origin.

The order comes largely in response to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which uses harassment and intimidation to turn Israel’s supporters against the country and distorts reality to threaten Jewish people, has become prominent on some U.S. college campuses. As a result, Jewish students are being subjected to blatant anti-Semitism and threats. For example, at New York University, following the student government’s passage of a resolution supporting BDS, the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life was temporarily closed after a student issued threatening messages on social media expressing his desire for Zionists to die. A University of Michigan professor also refused to write a letter of recommendation for a qualified student to study abroad solely because she was seeking to study abroad in Israel.

Christians in Defense of Israel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “President Trump has now extended to Jewish students very strong, meaningful protection from anti-Semitic discrimination. Sadly, every day, Jewish students on college campuses face outrageous attacks on their Jewish identity and beliefs. The rapid increase in such incidents in recent years is of great concern. We are grateful that Israel and the Jewish people have a strong ally in President Trump,” said Staver.

Author: Liberty Counsel


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