Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism

  • The President signed an executive order focused on anti-Semitism on college campuses, drawing both praise and concerns about implications for free speech on campuses.
  • The executive order instructs agencies to “consider” a definition of anti-Semitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in investigating complaints of discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • The executive order reiterates that “discrimination against Jews may give rise to a Title VI violation when the discrimination is based on an individual’s race, color, or national origin.”
  • The IHRA definition is controversial in higher education because it encompasses some forms of anti-Israel speech.
  • Advocates of campus free speech rights argued that instructing federal agencies to adopt the IHRA definition to aid in their enforcement of Title VI could curtail speech critical of Israel.