President Trump on Wednesday will sign a new White House executive order that will make it easier for federal agencies to combat and prosecute a rising tide of anti-Semitic violence, particularly on America's college campuses.
The new order, announced Tuesday by the administration, will clarify portions of the Civil Rights Act to empower federal agencies to consider anti-Jewish bias when it investigates potential hate crimes. The order will effectively ensure that federal investigators consider anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic motivations when investigating infractions related to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race and national origin.
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Senior Trump administration officials said they undertook the effort after witnessing a disturbing rise in the number of anti-Semitic hate crimes, particularly on U.S. college campuses where pro-Israel students are routinely being targeted for attack.
The announcement comes amid a flurry of anti-Semitic attacks across the United States and Europe, including at Jewish centers, synagogues, and areas frequented by Jewish people.
The White House was "alarmed by the rise in anti-Semitism," according to one senior administration official who briefed reporters on the new order.
This includes rhetoric "from leading political figures," according to the administration official, who appeared to be referring to the recent promotion of anti-Semitic stereotypes by leading Democratic politicians such as Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.).
Officials noted the sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents on American college campuses, which have hit historic highs in recent years. With its clarification of the Title VI statutes, the administration is hoping to "stem the tide."
The new executive order will enshrine the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of anti-Semitism into Title VI, officials said.
This will make it clear to investigating authorities that violent acts against Jews must be considered when investigating civil rights infractions, a rule that will be critical for American universities that receive federal funds.
"There are people who command a megaphone who are mainstreaming comments that are alarming," one administration officials told reporters. "We figured out how to address it and that's how we ended up here."
Republican Jewish Coalition national chairman Norm Coleman praised the administration for the move.
"Today’s executive order will have a real, positive impact in protecting Jewish college students from anti-Semitism," Coleman said.