Edward S. Beck
Edward S. Beck

Thanks, Mr. President…from a Jewish liberal

We critics of Trump should pause, take a deep breath and be thankful for a move that will improve live on college campuses and elsewhere

It is no secret that I have not been a Trump fan for longer than I can remember. I consider myself a progressive Democrat liberal who has actively fought the haters, anti-Semites and anti-Israelists in the Democratic party with the understanding that there is nothing progressive about anti-Semitism or anti-Israelism. And, I have spoken out loudly and repeatedly about the racist, divisive and hateful rhetoric of Donald Trump and many of his followers and supporters. I am a fighter against anti-Israelism and antisemitism and of all bigotry wherever it rears its ugly head.

However, the President’s intention to classify Jewish people as a “nationality” for the purposes of enforcement of Title VI protections on college campus, regardless of what skeptics, many of my liberal colleagues and other pundits may say, is a major, impactful step forward in curbing anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism on campus.

Not only does this action now hold proponents of  hate and antisemitism accountable with financial consequences from the Federal government, such an action would make clearer the penalties for targeting Jews because now they would be a “protected minority” whereas before they were considered just a religion which is not necessarily a protected minority. So, discrimination against Jews on college campuses could result in loss of much needed Title VI taxpayer funds to colleges and hold faculty, administrators and students for allowing the hate speech and behaviors of anti-Israelism and antisemitism to persist.

For this I thank those in the Trump administration who have pushed this effort forward and hope that with this new interpretation we will see less incidents of hateful BDS, anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism on campus.

Some pro-Israel advocates, have told me that Jews are already protected by Title VI, but those of us who have been in the trenches know that rarely are the sanctions enforced because of the counter arguments that: 1) Religions are not a “protected minority” under Title VI and that 2) Most of the “hate speech” reported is protected under “freedom of speech and expression.” provisions. Making Jews a “protected minority” and a “nationality” affords more protections under Title VI. I am not a lawyer and some legal beagles may be quick to point that out, but I think this is a step in the right direct, liberal though I am.

I am asking my liberal colleagues to refrain from bashing the President on this one or ascribing purely personal political ambitions to this move. I believe this  is coming from a good and important place within the Department of Education and that it’s a potentially game-changing policy that could have a positive impact on college campuses and elsewhere.

It’s a policy I have been advocating for quite some time. I know some of the honorable players who have been quietly signing on board to support such a move, and I think those of us who are highly critical of the President in so many ways should pause, take a deep breath and be thankful for this development. If I can do it, so can you.

The fact is anti-Semitism, in whatever form it is expressed, should never ever have been allowed to be positively reinforced with taxpayer money under any constitutional protections in the first place and the haters have been doing a lot of damage to this country under previous protections given loopholes and inconsistent interpretations. This shores things up to a great extent and should be most welcome by Jews and all people of good will.

About the Author
Retired College Professor ( Penn State University and others), President Emeritus and Co-Founder Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. Professional and Community. Founder, Publisher and Editor Kol Central Pa, Residing in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
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