Trump signs executive order

Adam Perez and Jake White

On Dec. 11, President Trump signed an executive order aimed to combat the rise of anti-Semitism on college campuses. In this order, Judaism will now officially be interpreted as a race and nationality in addition to a religion. This means that acts expressing anti-Semitism are now included as a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In addition, colleges that do not take enough steps to combat anti-Semitism and rallies perpetuated by the controversial Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement are at risk of losing all federal funding.

Jewish students will join Muslim, Hindu and Sikh students as the religious groups that are also protected under Title VI. This act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in any programs that receive federal funding. Religious groups were originally not included for protection, but Muslim, Hindu and Sikh students were given protection due to their shared ancestry.   

This act effectively defines the BDS and any other groups that do not recognize Israel as a sovereign nation as anti-Semitic. Parties that have also defined the BDS as anti-Semitic include Germany’s Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party of Australia.

The Executive Order has resulted in mixed reactions from WHS students, with some praising it and others disavowing it.

Senior Adam Schwartz believes that the order is a step in the right direction. “I think the executive order is a great move by President Trump because it combats the active BDS organizations on college campuses across the country, and those organizations create a hostile environment for any Jewish student, Zionist or not, as the number of anti-Semitic incidents across the country has grown significantly,” said Schwartz.

However, some students, including senior Majeed Assadi, are not in support of this order. “Boycotting is a form of free speech,” said Assadi. “Whether or not you agree with Israel’s policy has nothing to do with it. This is infringing upon the rights of American citizens to boycott a foreign government with which they don’t agree.”

It has yet to be seen what impact this executive order will have on the fight against anti-Semitism. President Trump believes this is a step in the right direction, but the issue of whether this order takes away freedom of speech will continue to be debated.