There’s nothing extraordinary about President Trump adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism.
France just did it earlier in December.
But the Left responded to it with hysteria, claiming that it would shut down free speech on campuses (the biggest threat to campus speech remains the Left) by anti-Israel activists, and that it was somehow anti-Semitic at the same time.
Behind the meltdown is the simple reality that campus anti-Semitism is getting worse. And administrations refuse to deal with it. And there are two main reasons for that.
1. The anti-Semitism is often coming from groups on the Left. And few administrations are willing to confront hate groups like SJP and MSA chapters even when they invite bigots and Holocaust deniers to campuses.
2. Anti-Semitism often falls into a definitional loophole. The Left finds that convenient because it can play the card when it chooses and dismiss it when it doesn’t.
The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is more relevant to the kind of anti-Semitism that the Left tends to engage in. And bringing Title VI to the party serves notice that the loophole is closed and that colleges won’t get a definitional pass on anti-Semitic harassment by the Left.
Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. The Department of Education could cut federal funding for institutions that fail to remedy antisemitic incidents that fall under the title, once the EO is made.
A senior administration official said on Tuesday that often antisemitism on campuses is hidden in an anti-Israel agenda. By campuses that receive money from the government adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism in cases of discrimination, students who will feel that they are being bullied on college campuses would be able to complain to their institution’s administration, who will then need to decide if the incident is considered antisemitic.
“There’s been a lot of un-clarity surrounding the application of Title VI to Jewishness because of a question about whether Jewishness is primarily a religion, in which case Title Six does not not apply to antisemitic discrimination, or whether it’s a race or national origin,” the official said. “[After] rigorous legal review, this executive order will clarify that Title VI applies to antisemitism.”
He went on to explain the the policy of the executive branch is to enforce Title VI in order to prohibit discrimination rooted in antisemitism “as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination,” noting that this will be language used in the order.
The Left has been claiming that the order is itself somehow anti-Semitic. The truth is that the Left is protecting its right to be anti-Semitic.