THE RUNDOWN | US President Donald Trump will sign Wednesday an executive order that recognizes Jewish students as a class protected from discrimination and racism, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
The order will allow the administration to pull government funds from educational institutions that fail to tackle anti-Semitism and anti-Israel boycott movements.
Fierce criticism against the Jewish state has permeated through American colleges campuses in recent years, according to reports.
The presidential order adopts the “working definition” of anti-Semitism published in 2016 by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), of which the United States is a member.
The definition includes more traditional tropes of anti-Semitism, as well as paragraphs relating to criticism of Israel, such as demanding the country “act in a manner not expected of any other democracy” or comparing it to Nazi Germany.
Any enforcement of the order is expected to lead to legal challenges both locally and federally, according to Haaretz.
But recognizing Jews as a protected special class has caused concern for advocates of separation of state and church. As JTA reports, the executive order would de facto classify Jews as an ethnic group, in addition to being a religious minority.
Moreover, critics deem the order as an attack on free speech. The New York Times cites executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Yousef Munayyer, who said that the move is part of Trump`s campaign “to silence Palestinian rights activism.”
The signing of the order will coincide with scheduled White House Hanukkah parties.