Trump passes executive order combatting anti-Semitism on college campuses

Photo – From left: Mark Levin, Newsmax Media President Christopher Ruddy and Center President Fred Fleitz at the White House Hannukah party.  

Yesterday marked a historic day for the United States and the Jewish people when President Trump approved a consequential executive order combating a recent surge in antisemitism. Fred Fleitz, President of the Center for Security Policy, said this led to an exceptionally festive mood at last night’s Hanukkah party at the White House.

The executive order directs governmental departments enforcing Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. The IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism states “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.”

This widely accepted definition includes contemporary examples of antisemitism. According to IHRA, manifestations include perpetuating the ‘dual-loyalty’ trope, comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis and claiming the state of Israel is inherently a racist endeavor. 

Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and educational institutions which receive federal funding. Under Trump’s executive order, the Department of Education could therefore take direct action against antisemitism on college campuses. 

Trump’s announcement is timely as this year marked a disturbing rise in verbal and violent attacks against the Jewish population in America.  The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism released a report indicating “assault, harassment and vandalism against Jews remain at a near-historic levels in the U.S.” In a similar report by the American Jewish Committee, more than 80% of Jewish respondents disclosed having witnessed an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2019.