Trump to sign order to interpret Judaism as nationality
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to include discrimination against Jews as a violation of law in certain cases, with an eye toward fighting anti-Semitism on college campuses.
It’s an order that would allow Trump to take further steps to combat anti-Israel sentiments and divestment movements on college campuses by requiring colleges and universities to treat those movements as discriminatory or risk losing their funding.
The order would apply in cases where anti-Semitism is involved and applies only to discrimination concerns. A senior administration official told CNN on Wednesday that the order “does not ‘define’ Judaism at all. The (order) represents a legal judgment that discrimination against Jewish people is sometimes covered by Title VI.”
A White House official confirmed to CNN on Tuesday that the order would interpret Judaism as a nationality and not just a religion. The executive order released on Wednesday was not that specific.
The order released Wednesday evening interprets Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance” — as protecting from anti-Semitism. The Department of Education can withhold federal funding from any college or educational program that violates Title VI, according to the Civil Rights Act.
“While Title VI does not cover discrimination based on religion, individuals who face discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin do not lose protection under Title VI for also being a member of a group that shares common religious practices,” the order states. “Discrimination against Jews may give rise to a Title VI violation when the discrimination is based on an individual’s race, color, or national origin.”
Religion is not covered in that portion of the law. Muslim, Hindu and Sikh students are also protected from discrimination under Title VI based on their shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.
The definition of anti-Semitism will be adapted from the State Department, according to the order. The State Department cites the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which defines anti-Semitism as “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 US is a member of the alliance.
Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, pushed for the executive order, according to The New York Times, which