A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism

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Evan Vucci

President Donald Trump speaks about the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Washington.

Jewish Insider has obtained a draft of the executive order that President Donald Trump will sign this afternoon at the White House.

As first reported by The New York Times on Tuesday, the order formally calls on government departments enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

The order calls for the enforcement of “Title VI against prohibited forms of discrimination rooted in anti-Semitism as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VI.” The order also calls on departments enforcing Title VI to consider “‘Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism’ identified by the IHRA, to the extent that any examples might be useful as evidence of discriminatory intent.”  

Initial reporting indicated that the order would include language defining Judaism as a “national origin,” setting off a frenzy among major Jewish organizations, activists and lawmakers. The draft text of the order obtained by JI makes no such reference.

Of note: There is no mention of Israel in the text of the executive order draft shared with JI. However, IHRA includes as contemporary examples of antisemitism the accusation of dual loyalty, using symbols associated with antisemitism to characterize Israel or Israelis and “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” IHRA also notes in its working definition that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

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