Dec. 11 (UPI) — President Donald Trump signed an executive order seeking to extend protections under the Civil Rights Act to prevent anti-Semitic discrimination during a Hanukkah event at the White House on Wednesday.
Under the executive order, discrimination against Jewish people may constitute a violation of 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 funded through federal assistance but does not include a provision for discrimination based on religion.
“It shall be policy of the executive branch to enforce Title VI against prohibited forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VI,” the executive order states.
Appearing in the East Room of the White House before about 300 assembled guests for the Hanukkah event, Trump said the order would target “institutions that traffic in anti-Semitic hate.”
“If you want to accept the tremendous amount of federal dollars you get every year you must reject anti-Semitism,” Trump said.
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz also spoke at the event on Wednesday night, hailing the order as “one of the most important events” in the battle against anti-Semitism.
Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, published an op-ed in The New York Times stating that the order would adopt the definition of anti-Semitism put forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2016. Thet definition includes “the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity,” denying “the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor” or comparing “contemporary Israeli policy to that of Nazis” as examples of anti-Semitism.
Kushner also responded to criticism that followed news of the proposed order on Tuesday night that suggested it would classify Judaism as a nationality.
“The executive order does not define Jews as a nationality,” he wrote. “It merely says that to the extent that Jews are discriminated against for ethnic, racial or national characteristics, they are entitled to protection by the anti-discrimination law.”
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel said the order would suppress support for Palestinians.
“Trump’s anti-democratic, anti-Palestinian exec order would abuse federal funding to bully universities into suppressing freedom of speech in support of Palestinian rights,” the organization tweeted.