President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Wednesday, Dec. 11, targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses, the White House said and The Associated Press reported.
The order will define Judaism as a nationality in addition to a religion, according to The New York Times.
In the order, Trump is expected to tell the Department of Education to consider the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism—which can include criticism of Israel—when evaluating discrimination complaints under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
Title VI bars discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin at colleges and universities that receive federal funding. One official said Trump’s order would make it clear that Title VI will apply to anti-Semitism as defined by the IHRA. That definition says anti-Semitism may include “targeting of the state of Israel,” according to The Associated Press.
The order would allow the Department of Education to potentially withhold funding from colleges and universities if they fail to combat anti-Israel rhetoric for insufficient action on anti-Semitism.
The Associated Press reported, “The order was not intended to limit freedom of expression and was not aimed at suppressing the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement known as BDS that aims to support Palestinian aspirations for statehood by refusing to purchase Israeli products or invest in Israeli companies. The movement is on the rise, sparking tension on many college campuses.” Rep. Ihan Omar (D-Minn.) introduced a bill in July to support the BDS movement, which got criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.
“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has stepped up department enforcement against perceived anti-Israel bias in recent months, including ordering Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to redesign their joint Middle East studies program,” the Hill reported.
President Trump will be joined by Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) as well as Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) for the signing, The New York Times reported.
The Republican Jewish Coalition applauded the move, with the group’s chairman, former Sen. Norm Coleman, calling it “a truly historic and important moment for Jewish Americans” and hailing Trump as “the most pro-Jewish President” in the nation’s history.
Include reporting from The Associated Press