President Donald Trump signed an act preventing the funding by taxpayers of institutions that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin and that promote anti-Semitic hatred.
“This is our message to universities: If you want to accept the tremendous amount of federal dollars that you get every year, you must reject anti-Semitism. It’s very simple,” Trump said, according to the video tweeted by the White House on Dec. 11.
The executive order also works against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement that many believe works to delegitimize Israel as a sovereign nation.
This movement has been promoted in some universities and its activities have been counterproductive for Jewish students, so the provision ensures their protection.
White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner clarified the meaning of the order signed by the president.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 11, 2019
“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,” according to NBC News.
According to a senior official, the executive order was formulated as a way to counter the increase in anti-Semitic incidents since 2013.
“The Domestic Policy Council began to focus on this issue in the late winter-spring of this year, when we were alarmed, frankly, at a rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric, including, unfortunately, from leading political figures,” quoted NBC.
Evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress also told the White House that Trump is “the most pro-faith president in history.”
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz also described the event as historic.
“For 65 of my 81 years I have spent at universities all over the country and all over the world, there is no more important event in those 65 years to turn universities away from being bastions of hatred and discrimination than this executive order being signed today,” the professor celebrated, the White House reported.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), of which the United States is a member, illustrates what is considered anti-Semitism, in the Department of State version.
“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews,” the text points out.
“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 text reads.