Photo Credit: Texas Military Department
Texas Governor Greg Abbott awards Purple Heart to Texas National Guardsmen, September 24, 2015.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott last Wednesday signed “Executive Order No. GA-44 relating to addressing acts of antisemitism in institutions of higher education,” saying in a press release that “Some radical organizations on our campuses engaged in acts that have no place in Texas. Now, we must work to ensure that our college campuses are safe spaces for members of the Jewish community.”

Here’s a portion of the order:

WHEREAS, on October 7th of last year, the terrorist group Hamas committed unspeakable and heinous acts when they launched a surprise attack on Israel; and 
WHEREAS, this attack killed over 1,200 innocent civilians including women, children, and approximately 30 American citizens, and Hamas took over 250 individual hostages, including at least 10 Americans; and
WHEREAS, immediately after the October 7th attack, Governor Abbott reiterated his longstanding support for Israel and the Texas Jewish community and took initial steps to address acts of antisemitism in Texas, including authorizing $4 million in additional grant funds to protect synagogues and Jewish schools, prohibiting state agencies from purchasing goods from the Gaza Strip or entities that support Hamas, and directing the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission to educate Texans about the Israel—Hamas War and antisemitism; and 
WHEREAS, Texas will continue to stand with Israel and support our Jewish neighbors in Texas; and WHEREAS, incidents of antisemitism have increased since Hamas’ attack, and the proliferation of antisemitism at public universities is particularly concerning; and 
WHEREAS, while many Texas universities have acted quickly to condemn antisemitism and foster appropriate discourse on the terrorist attacks against Israel and the ensuing Israel—Hamas War, some radical organizations have engaged in unacceptable actions on university campuses; and 
WHEREAS, protected free speech areas on Texas university campuses, as well as the buildings and parking lots of Jewish student organizations, have been covered in antisemitic graffiti; and 
WHEREAS, multiple protests and walkouts have been staged by universities’ student organizations, with students chanting antisemitic phrases such as “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which has long been used by Hamas supporters to call for the violent dismantling of the State of Israel and the destruction of the Jewish people who live there …

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, hereby direct all Texas higher education institutions to do the following: 

1. Review and update free speech policies to address the sharp rise in antisemitic speech and acts on university campuses and establish appropriate punishments, including expulsion from the institution. 

2. Ensure that these policies are being enforced on campuses and that groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Committee and Students for Justice in Palestine are disciplined for violating these policies. 

3. Include the definition of antisemitism, adopted by the State of Texas in Section 448.001 of the Texas Government Code, in university free speech policies to guide university personnel and students on what constitutes antisemitic speech.


Part 2 is huge because it “disciplines” pro-Hamas groups, which could range from financial curbs on their funding, and their removal from the approved groups on campus, all the way to criminal prosecution.

Part 3 is huge, seeing as Section 448.001 of the Texas Government Code defines “Antisemitism” according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s 2016 “Working Definition of Antisemitism,” which include anti-Zionist speech and actions as examples of antisemitism.

The Executive Director of the CAIR chapter in Texas Mustafa Carroll said in a statement, “This order not only undermines the principles of free speech and academic freedom but also perpetuates a harmful narrative that equates criticism of Israeli policies with antisemitism.” 

Welcome to Texas, tie up your horse at the designated area.

Sacha Roytman, CEO of Combat Antisemitism Movement, praised the governor’s new order, saying, “We thank Governor Abbott for his leadership in taking this crucial step to ensure a safe learning environment for Jewish students in Texas.”


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