President Trump Signs Executive Order Protecting Jewish Americans

On Wednesday afternoon President Donald Trump signed an executive order that officially recognizes Judaism as both a race and a religion, granting government protections as an official protected class.

The President, accompanied by lawmakers and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, said that the order “makes clear” that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act would “apply to institutions that traffic in anti-Semitic hate.”

The Executive Order also calls for the government departments enforcing Title VI to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which is as follows:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

The EO is aimed at federally-funded universities and colleges and will require the Department of Education, when reviewing whether there has been a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to consider this widely accepted definition of antisemitism as part of its assessment of whether an incident or activity may be antisemitic, according to The Jerusalem Post. As such, according to an explanation of the EO provided by the Anti-Defamation League, criticism of Israel could be considered antisemitic if it becomes “intentional, unlawful, discriminatory intimidation and harassment against Jews.”

“We began to focus on this issue in the late winter/spring of this year when we were alarmed frankly at a rise in antisemitic rhetoric, including unfortunately from leading political figures,” a administration official told JP. “We looked at the data, and we saw that there’d been a rise in antisemitic incidents, and we began a policy process to figure out physically what we could do on the subject.”

The order allows the government to withhold funding from universities it believes are discriminating in an anti-Semitic way. Title VI originally gives protections based “on the ground of race, color or national origin”- but religion is not protected. Now, thanks to the EO, Jewish students don’t have to worry about being excluded because of their faith (and now, race).

The Anti-Defamation League’s chairman, former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., called the move a “truly historic and important moment for Jewish Americans.”

“President Trump has extended to Jewish students very strong, meaningful legal protection from anti-Semitic discrimination,” he said. “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.”

One interesting thing to note about this EO is that it aligns U.S. higher education with biblical fact by recognizing the Jewish people as a race.

Rabbi Yehudah Glick, who was born in the U.S., stated that “Judaism is a nationality”. Although President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has insisted that this order “does not define Jews as a nationality.”

“When news of the impending executive order leaked, many rushed to criticize it without understanding its purpose,” Kushner wrote in the New York Times op-ed published Wednesday. “The executive order does not define Jews as a nationality. It merely says that to the extent that Jews are discriminated against for ethnic, racial or national characteristics, they are entitled protection by the anti-discrimination law.”

Still, Glick, and others, are extremely enthusiastic about this EO:

“This should be absolutely clear now that we are back to normal and have returned to our homeland and have our own language,” Glick said. “That is the simple definition of nationality.”

“When God first called out to Abraham, he said that he wanted to establish him as a nation. And both of his sons, Ishmael and Isaac became the fathers of nations. It would be hypocritical to say that the Arabs as the descendants of Ishmael are a nation and the Jews as the descendants of Isaac and Jacob are not.”

“He promised the land to a nation as a homeland. We need to be a nation in order to fulfill all our functions as a nation; to be a source of blessing for the other nations, to establish a house of prayer for all the other nations, to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

Critics of the Executive Order say that it could stifle free-speech, but the law doesn’t prevent people from being jerks to Jews. It merely makes it possible for federally funded schools to lose funding if they don’t protect their students, regardless of their nationality and race.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel tweeted:

Trump’s anti-democratic, anti-Palestinian exec order would abuse federal funding to bully universities into suppressing freedom of speech in support of Palestinian rights.

We salute principled academics and students defending the right to education and academic freedom for all.

The Orthodox Union, an Orthodox Judaism advocacy group, also praised the EO, with President Mark Bane saying it “not only recognizes but also provides a course of legal action against the scourge of anti-Semitism that has for too long been festering on our nation’s college campuses,” according to NBC News.

“Those who seek to use our academic institutions as places to stoke anti-Jewish sentiment are now on notice: There will be consequences for their racism,” he finished.

The President signed the order following one of two separate Hanukkah ceremonies at the White House.

“In the LORD all the descendants of Israel Shall be justified, and shall glory.”
-Isaiah 45:25 NKJV