Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism

The Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism is an executive order which was announced on December 10, 2019 and signed the next day by U.S. President Donald Trump. The said purpose of the order was to prevent antisemitism by making it easier to use laws which prohibit institutional discrimination against people based on race, color or national origin to punish discrimination against Jewish people,[1][2] including opposition to Israel uniquely as a Jewish nationstate (the right of a Jewish country to exist) without opposition to other nation-states.[3] The definition of anti-Semitism which is used in the executive order was written by the Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which defines anti-Semitism as, “...a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”[4]

CNN claimed that a White House official had indicated that the order would define Judaism as a nationality rather than a religion in the United States, but the order which was ultimately released did not contain this definition of Judaism.[1] The new order did not define Judaism as a nationality nor did it define Judaism as an ethnicity, nor did it change the way in which complaints of Title XI violations are handled.[5] The act does not mean that all anti-Semitic incidents can be classified as a Title XI violation, it only specifies that the Office of Civil Rights must review incidents to determine if they should be enforced under Title XI.[5]

Background edit

Cases of anti-Semitism, particularly on college campuses, have increased since 2013 according to the executive order. A 2006 report by the United States Commission on Civil Rights found that anti-Semitism remained prevalent on college campuses and was often found in the context of anti-Israel and anti-Zionism protests. In the recommendations of the report, the USCCR called for the Office of Civil Rights to fully enforce any discriminatory actions against students of any religion, race, or national origin.[6]

Anti-Semitism Acts of 2018 and 2019 edit

The introduction of the executive order followed the introduction of two acts in Congress – the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018 and the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2019. The aim of these bills was to broaden the definition of anti-Semitism in attempts to enable its enforcement as a Title XI violation. These acts were controversial at their times of introduction in congress, prompting the ACLU to write a letter opposing the initial bill from 2018. In the letter the ACLU argued that the definition of anti-Semitism used in the bill extended to criticism of Israel and Zionism, thus limiting free speech.[7]

Reception edit

The order set off a firestorm of criticism among many Jewish and Palestinian leaders.[8] Some American Jews praised the order,[3] while others objected to defining Judaism as a nationality (as the order was initially indicated to do, though it ultimately did not), claiming that "Trump's reclassification of Judaism mirrored sentiments used by white nationalists and Nazi Germany" and that "the move appears to question whether Jews are really American". Some decried the order as a political stunt, and called on Trump to more directly address the threat of white nationalism.[3][1][2] Groups such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Republican Jewish Coalition, and the Orthodox Union were supportive of the order.[3]

Trump and Anti-Semitism edit

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump was accused of anti-Semitism numerous times. In a speech at the Israeli-American Council in 2019 Trump referenced classic anti-Semitic tropes in his appeal to Jewish voters.[9] Discourse around Trump’s relationship with Judaism in America was recently revived. In October 2022 Trump called for American Jews to, “appreciate Israel before it’s too late,” aligning with his past claims that American Jews no longer love Israel.[10]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Trump to sign order to interpret Judaism as a nationality". CNN. December 11, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Baker, Peter; Haberman, Maggie (December 10, 2019). "Trump Targets Anti-Semitism and Israeli Boycotts on College Campuses". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c d Smith, Allan (December 11, 2019). "Trump to sign executive order targeting college anti-Semitism, Israel boycotts". NBC News.
  4. ^ "Romanian Chairmanship" (PDF). International Holocaust Remembrance Association. 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Questions and Answers on Executive Order 13899 (Combating Anti-Semitism) and OCR's Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964" (PDF). United States Department of Education - Office of Civil Rights. January 19, 2021.
  6. ^ "Findings and Recommendations of the United States Commission on Civil Rights Regarding Campus Anti-Semitism" (PDF).
  7. ^ "Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018". ACLU.
  8. ^ "Jews angry over Trump's reported decision to define Judaism as nationality". Business Insider. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  9. ^ "Trump Goes Full Anti-Semite in Room Full of Jewish People". Vanity Fair. December 9, 2019. Retrieved October 27, 2022.
  10. ^ "Trump attacks American Jews, says they must 'get their act together' on Israel 'before it's too late'". NBC News. October 16, 2022. Retrieved October 27, 2022.

External links edit