ACLU Comment on President Trump's Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism

December 11, 2019 8:45 pm

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WASHINGTON — President Trump today signed an executive order on combating anti-Semitism. Below is comment from ACLU National Legal Director David Cole in response:

“Anti-Semitism is a real and present problem. Anti-Semitic harassment has no place in any educational institution, and is already prohibited under Title VI as interpreted by the Department of Education. People of all faiths must be protected against harassment and discrimination.

“But the government cannot equate speech criticizing Israel with unlawful discrimination. If the order were interpreted to do that, it would be unconstitutional. Speech criticizing the Israeli government, or any government, is political speech protected under the First Amendment, and cannot be suppressed. Agencies are permitted to consider such speech as evidence of discriminatory intent — but not to prohibit it.

“The ACLU has long defended the freedom of speech — if the administration attempts to undermine that freedom using this order, we will see it in court.”

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