(AP/John Minchillo)
Donald Trump

In his latest move in favor of Israel and American Jews, the US president will sign an executive order targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses. “He deserves  our gratitude,” says major pro-Israel philanthropist Miriam Adelson.

By AP, JNS and United with Israel Staff

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Wednesday targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses, the White House said.

The order, which is likely to draw criticism from free speech advocates, will broaden the federal government’s definition of anti-Semitism and instruct it to be used in enforcing laws against discrimination on college campuses, according to three U.S. officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly preview the move.

The president’s order would allow the government to withhold money from campuses deemed to be biased against Jews.

“The order will effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion, to prompt a federal law penalizing colleges and universities deemed to be shirking their responsibility to foster an open climate for minority students. In recent years, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has roiled some campuses, leaving some Jewish students feeling unwelcome or attacked,” says the New York Times.

In the order, Trump is expected to tell the Department of Education to consider the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism — which can include criticism of Israel — when evaluating discrimination complaints under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Title VI bars discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin at colleges and universities that receive federal funding. One official said Trump’s order would make it clear that Title VI will apply to anti-Semitism as defined by the IHRA. That definition says anti-Semitism may include “targeting of the state of Israel.”

Still, a second official insisted the order was not intended to limit freedom of expression and was not aimed at suppressing the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement known as BDS that aims to support Palestinian aspirations for statehood by refusing to purchase Israeli products or invest in Israeli companies.

A third official said the order was a response to an alarming rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents on campuses and would mean that Jewish students who are discriminated against for their religion have the same kind of recourse as black students who are victimized by racism.

The Republican Jewish Coalition applauded the move, with the group’s chairman, former Sen. Norm Coleman, calling it “a truly historic and important moment for Jewish Americans” and hailing Trump as “the most pro-Jewish President” in the nation’s history.

Miriam Adelson Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump awards Miriam Adelson the Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House, Nov. 16, 2018. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

Introducing US President Donald Trump at the 2019 Israel American Council summit in Miami, Florida on Saturday night, Dr. Miriam Adelson, a physician and – together with her husband Sheldon – a major pro-Israel philanthropist, called the American leader “the No. 1 friend of the State of Israel.”

Last year, Trump awarded Adelson the Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House.

“Perhaps more than anyone in today’s hectic and divided world, President Trump deserves our gratitude—as proud Israelis, as proud Americans, and as proud Jews, no matter what our politics are,” Adelson said.

“President Trump has shown global leadership in the face of evil, by withdrawing from the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran and increasing sanctions against it.

“And he has always—always—backed Israel and the Jewish people,” she continued.

‘Where his Predecessors Faltered, This President Has Delivered’

“Where his predecessors faltered, this president has delivered, by finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal and beloved capital and moving the U.S. Embassy there. Where his predecessors shut their eyes to reality, this president has demonstrated strategic vision, by recognizing the Golan Heights as Israel’s sovereign territory. And, just last month, his administration gain made history by declaring that there is nothing wrong—and everything right—about Jews living anywhere in the ancient Jewish homeland,” she said.

According to Adelson, American Jews “owe President Trump our sincere and heartfelt thanks—without apology or hesitation….

“President Trump has already gone down in the annals of Jewish history — and that is before he has even completed his first term in office.”

At the event, Trump brought New York University student and pro-Israel activist Adela Cojab onstage. Cojab took legal action against NYU six months ago, only two weeks before graduation, resulting in the launch of an investigation against the university for failing to protect its Jewish students from anti-Semitic harassment, including assault.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon welcomed the US administration’s announcement. “This is the right move in the fight to tackle anti-Semitism head-on. In the face of hatred, one must not remain silent, but respond strongly. This will target the BDS movement that has grown in recent years; if academic institutions do not act against this anti-Semitic movement, they will pay a heavy price. ”