US President Donald Trump signed an historic Executive Order on Wednesday. Under the new order, Jewish college and university students will now be recognized as a protected class similar to other official ethnic minorities under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which bans discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs and at institutions that receive federal funding.
“This action makes clear that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act which prohibits the federal funding of universities and other institutions that engage in discrimination applies to institutions that traffic in anti-Semitic hate,” the president said. “So this is a very powerful document that we’re signing today and it’s been a very big story over the last number of days.
“As you know they had almost universal support in Congress and yet they didn’t get it done and this has gone on for years and years . . . but there was always a roadblock,” Trump commented.
“This year there’s no roadblock because I’m doing it myself – it’s much easier. And we have support from many in Congress.
“This is our message to universities: If you want to accept the tremendous amount of federal dollars that you get every year you must reject anti-Semitism. It’s very simple.”
It is likely there will be a great deal of push-back from numerous universities who will attempt to test the limits of the new executive order, particularly those on whose campuses there are active chapters of the international anti-Zionist “Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organization.
“My administration will never tolerate this oppression, persecution or silencing of the Jewish people. We have also taken a firm stand against the so-called divestment and sanctions movement, or BDS. We forcefully condemn this anti-Semitic campaign against the State of Israel and its citizens. We renew our pledge, ‘Never again,'” the president vowed.
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz was also invited by the president to say a few words before the order was signed. Visibly moved by the event taking place, Dershowitz said, “For 65 of my 81 years I have spent at universities all over the country and all over the world, there is no more important event in those 65 years to turn universities away from being bastions of hatred and discrimination than this Executive Order being signed today. It is a game changer,” he emphasized.
“It will go down in history as one of the most important events in the 2,000 year battle against antisemitism,” Dershowitz went on. “Thank you Mr. President, you did a great, great job. The people who helped you do this did a great, great job, and you will be remembered by history for all time for having signed this very important order. Thank you.”
(The above was a reference to presidential son-in-law and senior White House aide Jared Kushner and his wife, White House adviser Ivanka Trump, who Trump remarked had both spoken about the importance of addressing the issue of “BDS and anti-Semitism” since the start of his administration.)