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Executive Order Will Frame Judaism as a Nationality

In a move designed to strengthen response to anti-Semitism on campuses
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2019 8:01 AM CST
President Donald Trump is seen in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, in Washington.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – President Trump plans to sign an executive order Wednesday that will classify Judaism as a nationality, a move that will add teeth to federal efforts to fight anti-Semitism on college campuses. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination based on race, color, or national origin but not, notes CNN, religion; those who violate that can lose out on federal funding from the Department of Education. The order will reportedly make use of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of anti-Semitism, which covers "targeting of the state of Israel." The New York Times reports that's what the State Department uses, but it's a definition that has been knocked by some as "too open-ended and sweeping."

The AP predicts free-speech advocates will be no fans of the order, though an unnamed official says that it wasn't the intention and the goal is not to clamp down on the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement known as BDS, which uses a boycott on the purchase of Israeli goods or the investment in Israeli companies as a means of supporting Palestine's desire for statehood. But the head of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights frames the order as another step in an effort to "to silence Palestinian rights activism" by, as the Times puts it, "equating opposition to Israeli treatment of Palestinians with anti-Semitism." (Read more executive order stories.)

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