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Abbott signs executive order to combat antisemitism at Texas universities

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed an executive order Wednesday to combat antisemitism at universities in the state amid a surge in the problem across the nation and the world.

The order requires colleges to add a definition of antisemitism to their free speech policies and ensure those policies lay out clear punishments for antisemitic speech.

“Antisemitism is never acceptable in Texas, and we will do everything we can to fight it,” Abbott said. “The State of Texas stands with Israel and the Jewish community, and we must escalate our efforts to protect against antisemitism at Texas colleges and universities and across our state.”

Schools have been under intense pressure since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, which preceded a massive spike in antisemitism.

The issue has put top schools under congressional investigation, including Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University.

“Across the country, acts of antisemitism have grown in number, size, and danger to the Jewish community since Hamas’ deadly attack on October 7th. Texas took immediate action to protect Jewish schools, synagogues, and other key locations,” Abbott said.

“Many Texas colleges and universities also acted quickly to condemn antisemitism, but some radical organizations on our campuses engaged in acts that have no place in Texas. Now, we must work to ensure that our college campuses are safe spaces for members of the Jewish community,” he added.

Officials from Columbia will be testifying at a House hearing in April on the state of antisemitism at its campus.

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