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Trump's Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

"Trump doesn’t care about Jewish safety - this Executive Order is about silencing criticism of Israel”

WASHINGTON - The impending Executive Order by President Trump will do nothing to make Jewish students safer on college campuses, and Jewish Voice for Peace is appalled at this blatant attempt to silence criticism of Israel.

Trump’s Executive Order allegedly targeting campus antisemitism is the culmination of decades of attempts by anti-Palestinian organizations to suppress Palestinian organizing, advocacy, research and teaching on college campuses. The EO, which would codify a dangerous and overly broad definition of antisemitism into federal civil rights law, fails to offer any protection to Jewish students. Instead, it will usher in a climate of fear on college campuses, where university administrations will be incentivized to silence student activism, faculty research, and teaching about Palestine – while white supremacist organizing, which has been steadily increasing under Trump, will go unchecked. 

 

Rabbi Alissa Wise, Co-Acting Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, said: “Three days ago, Trump said Jews would vote for him because they like money. And yet now he suddenly pretends to care about Jewish safety? He has never cared about stopping antisemitism – this Executive Order is about silencing Palestinians and the people who speak up with them. The Executive Order is his way of forcing through a deeply unpopular and unconstitutional bill. Jewish Voice for Peace calls on members of Congress to immediately condemn this Executive Order and commit to overturning this authoritarian act.”  

 

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This EO essentially duplicates legislation that has failed to garner bipartisan support in the House or Senate for years. Opposition to the so-called “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act” has grown steadily, including objections from activists and free speech groups.  Most recently, over 250 Jewish students opposed the 2019 act. In 2016, over 60 Jewish Studies professors, and over 300 Jewish students, opposed this definition. When this definition was proposed by anti-Palestinian activists to the University of California in 2015, over 300 UC faculty came out in opposition, along with the LA Times editorial board, American Civil Liberties Union, and California Scholars for Academic Freedom.

 

The EO relies on the work of Kenneth Marcus, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Department of Education. Marcus, and his organization the Brandies Center, has long harassed students and faculty who disagree with his extremist and right-wing views on Israel. He openly advocates for defunding Middle East studies departments who are too critical of Israeli policy, and has, in his capacity as head of the Brandies Center, gone after individual students who protest Israeli actions. 

 

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Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.

JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.

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