Abbott Orders Colleges To Combat Antisemitism

Gov. Greg Abbott | Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Wednesday requiring all Texas higher education institutions to revise their “free speech policies” to make antisemitism punishable by expulsion.

Abbott demonstrated his continued solidarity with the Jewish community residing in Texas as bouts of antisemitism have increased since Hamas launched its assault on Israel last year.

The executive order begins, “WHEREAS, on October 7th of last year, the terrorist group Hamas committed unspeakable and heinous acts when they launched a surprise attack on Israel….”

“Texas will continue to stand with Israel and support our Jewish neighbors in Texas,” added Abbott.

Abbott ordered that all colleges and universities in the state revise their free speech policies to address the subject.

“Texas supports free speech, especially on university campuses, but that freedom comes with responsibilities for both students and the institutions themselves,” the order reads.

Since the October attack against Israel, the number of antisemitic incidents nationwide has reached new heights, according to the Anti-Defamation League, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Case in point, on March 22, a press release from the State’s Attorney’s Office in Calvert County, Maryland stated that three 13-year-old middle schoolers were charged with hate-crime violations after they “displayed swastikas, made Nazi salutes, and directed offensive comments to a classmate because of the classmate’s religious beliefs.”

However, some social media users claimed the governor was focused on the wrong issue.

“Where’s the legislation to protect Christians?” challenged X user Isaac Garrahan, while @TheOnlyDSC asked, “There are illegals invading our country, planes falling out of the sky and bridges collapsing and THIS is your priority?”

“Courts literally ruled it is his responsibility to maintain and protect the Texas border and he is busy doing DEI executive orders,” responded @sidorova_iulia.

Others further accused the governor of hypocrisy for mandating protections for Jewish people after signing a law to ban DEI in higher education institutions.

@WomanDefiner commented, “More DEI laws passed by the GOP for only Jews. Fascinating.”

“Special laws that benefit one particular race and religion. For people who pretend the Constitution is so sacrosanct, how is this not a blatant violation of it?” wrote Daniel Haqiqatjou, a lecturer on Islam.

But Jewish advocacy groups and religious leaders praised the order, expressing gratitude for Abbott’s commitment to defending the Jewish community on college campuses.

Rabbi Stephanie Max, the executive director of Texas Hillel, an organization for Jewish students at the University of Texas, told Fox News Digital:

“We appreciate the governor’s efforts to ensure that Jewish students are able to express their full Jewish identities without fear of harassment, intimidation, or violence,” noting there had been “a number of [antisemitic] incidents in our campus community, including the recent vandalism of our building.”

The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) issued a statement reading, “We thank Governor Abbott for his leadership in taking this crucial step to ensure a safe learning environment for Jewish students in Texas.”

“This executive order mandates all universities in Texas to include the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism in their free speech policies, which from CAM’s research has shown to be one of the most effective tools for identifying and countering on-campus antisemitism,” it continued.

Abbott’s order singles out two groups that have allegedly committed acts of antisemitism: the Palestine Solidarity Committee and Students for Justice in Palestine.

DX contacted the Palestine Solidarity Committee and Students for Justice in Palestine for comment, but a response was not received by publication.

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