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Trump to sign order recognizing Jewish university students as a protected class

Legislation effectively designates Jews as an ethnic minority; colleges that fail to comply could lose out on federal funding

US President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable on school choice in the Cabinet Room of the White House, December 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable on school choice in the Cabinet Room of the White House, December 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

JTA — US President Donald Trump will sign an executive order recognizing Jewish university students as a class protected from discrimination.

The legislation would effectively recognize Jews as an ethnic minority and not exclusively as a religious group.

The order, to be signed Wednesday, according to The New York Times, leapfrogs bipartisan legislation in Congress that would do the same thing.

Colleges that fail to tackle anti-Semitism under the order could lose out on federal funding.

Republican lawmakers are expected to attend the signing of the order, but Democrats, including those who pushed for the legislation, are not likely to attend.

The signing of the order will coincide with the White House Hanukkah parties.

Classifying Jews as a protected class under existing civil rights protections for other minorities has been vexed for years by church-state separation concerns.

More recently, the concern among civil libertarians is that adding Jews as a class could inhibit Israel criticism on campuses.

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