Trump stirs controversy with new Judaism definition

A panel of experts from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America discuss anti Semitism in the media campus and public life

The Anti-Defamation League, a group that fights anti-Semitism, welcomed the executive order.

"My executive order prohibits federal funding to any college or university that spreads, promotes, tolerates or supports anything having to do with anti-Semitism", Trump said.

Trump signed the executive order at a Hanukkah reception at the White House, the first of two Wednesday.

Under the order, the Department of Education will 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.

"That is our opinion to universities: If you would like to take the enormous number of federal dollars that you receive each calendar year, you need to reject anti-Semitism".

Cary Nelson, the Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Emeritus at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign and a prominent figure in the movement opposing an academic boycott against Israel, said the IHRA definition is enormously useful.

In addition to these incidents, college campuses have seen movements like BDS, which encourage worldwide boycotts and sanctions against the state of Israel, emerge in the last decade. "He's a shanda", the group said on Twitter, referring to the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who played a leading role in advancing the order.

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The order has caused waves of panic among Jews and non-Jews who see the move for what it is - an attempt to stifle pro-Palestine activism on college campuses by slandering their work as anti-Semitism, and to further isolate Jewish people in the US political landscape by setting them apart from other groups as a "protected" class of people.

Supporters have said it is vital for combating growing anti-Semitic expressions that have created a hostile environment for Jews and Israelis in many American universities. "It's just more antisemitism", the movement added. According to the New York Times , the initiative for the executive order came from David Krone, who had served as chief of staff for Senator Harry Reid when he led Democrats in the Senate.

"Everything Trump does that he thinks is good for the Jews is ultimately bad for the Jews", she said. This significant change carves out the protection of Jews as separate and different from the protection of all other religious groups in the United States by implying that Judaism is a nationality, worthy of protection under that category within Title VI. It's very simple, "said Trump".

As Jewish activists and students of history, when we learned of Trump's executive order, we immediately thought of another white supremacist government that politically isolated Jews to attack a different nation's movement for liberation in a similar way.

But critics have warned it may play into anti-Semitic tropes by treating Jewish people as a nationality other than American-a charge the White House has vehemently denied. Evangelicals are fervently pro-Israel, not due to their love for Jews, but because they believe that the establishment of a Jewish state in the Middle East will help usher in the second coming of Christ.

Blue and White party co-chairman MK Yair Lapid seen during a vote on a bill to dissolve the parliament, at the Knesset, in Jerusalem on December 11, 2019. That organization says that criticism of Israel cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic, but that claims that Israel is racist, for example, can be viewed as anti-Semitic. A draft copy of the executive order was published Wednesday by Jewish Insider. In a New York Times op-ed, he wrote: "If this bill becomes law ... students and faculty members will be scared into silence, and administrators will err on the side of suppressing or censuring speech". The order is generating concern that it will stifle free speech by those who oppose Israel's policy toward the Palestinians.

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