Trump to sign order penalizing colleges over perceived anti-Semitism on campus: report

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial ‘quickly’ in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it’s possible agents acted in ‘bad faith’ in Trump probe MORE is expected to sign an executive order Wednesday targeting perceived anti-Semitism on college campuses that would in effect treat Judaism as a national identity as well as a religious or ethnic one, according to The New York Times.

The order would empower the Department of Education to potentially withhold funding from campuses for insufficient action on anti-Semitism if they fail to combat anti-Israel rhetoric, the newspaper reported.

The order echoes legislation with bipartisan support, currently stalled in Congress, that targets the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

It includes in its definition of anti-Semitism “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination,” citing “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” as an example, according to the Times, citing three White House officials.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosFailed charter schools cost federal government almost 5M in nine years: report Pelosi gets standing ovation at Kennedy Center Honors On The Money: Economy adds 266K jobs in strong November | Lawmakers sprint to avoid shutdown | Appropriators to hold crucial talks this weekend | Trump asks Supreme Court to halt Deutsche Bank subpoenas MORE has stepped up department enforcement against perceived anti-Israel bias in recent months, including ordering Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to redesign their joint Middle East studies program.

Trump will be joined by Sens. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump GOP senators unveil bill to expand ‘opportunity zone’ reporting requirements McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug bill MORE (R-S.C.) and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordTrump’s legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Israeli, Palestinian business leaders seek Trump boost for investment project The Hill’s Morning Report — Schiff: Clear evidence of a quid pro quo MORE (R-Okla.) as well as Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsControversy on phone records intensifies amid impeachment GOP lawmaker closes: Impeachment a ‘scam,’ Judiciary a ‘rubber stamp’ Tempers flare at tense Judiciary hearing on impeachment MORE (R-Ga.) for the signing, The Times reported. Democrats including Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerREAD: Articles of impeachment against Trump Trump, White House rip Democrats over impeachment articles GOP lawmaker criticizes Democratic counsel over facial expression: ‘Be very careful’ MORE (N.Y.), a proponent of the equivalent legislation who as chair of the House Judiciary Committee is leading impeachment efforts against Trump, is not expected to be present, according to the newspaper.

Free speech advocates and critics of both the executive order and the legislation have argued it could treat any criticism of the Israeli government or statements in support of Palestinian rights as anti-Semitic.

It also comes as Trump himself has been criticized for comments suggesting Jewish Americans owe Israel their loyalty, saying in a recent speech to the Israeli-American Council “you have people that are Jewish people, that are great people — they don’t love Israel enough.”

The speech was condemned by left-leaning Jewish organizations, with the advocacy group J Street tweeting that Trump was “incapable of addressing Jewish audiences without dipping into the deep well of anti-Semitic tropes that shape his worldview.”

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