President Donald Trump will take action Wednesday against the rising tide of anti-Semitism, signing an executive order targeting the alarming increase of anti-Semitism on American college campuses.
The order will define Jews as a nationality or ethnic group, not just a religious class, the Washington Post reported.
The updated classification will have a significant impact, allowing the government to consider anti-Semitic discrimination a violation of the Civil Rights Act. Specifically, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and national origin.
"There's been a lot of unclarity surrounding the application of Title VI to Jewishness, basically, because of a question of about whether Jewishness is primarily a religion — in which case Title VI would not apply to anti-Semitic discrimination — or whether it's a race or national origin. This EO will clarify that Title VI applies to anti-Semitism," an administration official told reporters Tuesday, according to the Post.
The New York Times reported that Trump decided to take action because Congress has long stalled bipartisan legislation meant to combat the problem.
"Today's executive order will have a real, positive impact in protecting Jewish college students from anti-Semitism," Republican Jewish Coalition national chairman Norm Coleman told the Washington Free Beacon.
In defining what is anti-Semitic, the executive order will mandate the Department of Education use the definition from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the Post reported. The definition includes "claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor," which critics believe will stifle the free speech rights of Palestinian activists.
Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told the Times the order is meant "to silence Palestinian rights activism."
Trump will sign the order during a time when the anti-Israel movement — Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions — continues to gain support on college campuses. The movement is meant to cripple Israel and de-legitimize Israel's right to exist.