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Trump Accused of Antisemitism for Executive Order Protecting Jews

Critics of President Donald Trump accused him of antisemitism Tuesday evening because of a poorly-worded tweet by the New York Times about an executive order to fight discrimination against Jews.

As Breitbart News reported, President Trump planned to sign an executive order Wednesday directing federal agencies to apply Title VI of the Civil Rights Act — which bans discrimination on the basis of “race, color, or national origin” — to Jews.

The move has long been supported by Jewish groups and was first undertaken by the Department of Justice in the Obama administration in 2010, which expanded the federal government’s interpretation of Title VI to cover religious groups. That decision was also implemented by the Department of Education under Obama.

However, the New York Times tweeted Tuesday evening that Trump’s executive order would redefine Judaism as a “nationality” — an error that evoked the antisemitic practices of totalitarian societies, such as the Soviet Union.

In response, left-wing critics of the president — celebrities, journalists, athletes, politicians, scholars — went into a frenzy, accusing him of antisemitism and white supremacy:

Matt Gertz at the left-wing Media Matters for America tried to rein in the hysteria, as did Yair Rosenberg of Tablet magazine — no fan of Trump, as the tweet below indicates, but wary of the misinterpretation of the Times article:

The underlying New York Times article, by Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker, was more accurate, though it conflated the executive order with efforts to stop the anti-Israel “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” movement.

Senior administration officials, speaking on background, said the executive order was addressing antisemitism as a separate issue from BDS, adopting an international definition of antisemitism that allowed for criticism of Israel.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.