The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis — applauds President Donald J. Trump’s signing on December 11, 2019 an executive order at a Hanukkah celebration at the White House that made Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act apply to anti-Semitic acts.
The executive order takes indirect aim at the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that has generated intense controversy on college campuses and has caused Jewish students on campuses across the United States to feel bullied, threatened and intimidated. Title VI bans discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs and activities at colleges and universities that receive federal funding. The executive order will extend the ban to discrimination against Jews.
The order suggests that those charged with enforcing Title VI consider the definition of anti-Semitism adopted by International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which states:
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The order points to the Alliance’s “Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism.” Among its examples is “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” The order provides that discrimination against Jews may give rise to a Title VI violation. The order provides guidance to law enforcement, campus officials and others trying to fight hate. The White House said it was spurred by a rise in anti-Semitic incidents since 2013, and that it was looking for a way to ensure that colleges treat anti-Semitic acts seriously.
Rabbi Yaakov Spivak, a presidium member of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, stated, “We, as rabbis, praise President Trump for standing up to hatred and anti-Semitism. Hate in Jersey City killed two Jewish people, as well as a police detective and a store employee. Hate in Beverly Hills caused the desecration of a synagogue. Hate is not a partisan issue; it is a human rights, civil rights issue. As a nation of laws, America must use the law to combat and eradicate hate. The President’s message is clear: there is no room for the poison of anti-Semitism, bigotry or hate in America. G-d bless President Trump for demonstrating the leadership and the courage to take positive steps to stem the rise of hate in America.”