Questions and Answers on Combating Anti-Semitism

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US Department of Education

Dear Education Leader:

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is pleased to release a technical assistance document titled Questions and Answers on Executive Order 13899 (Combating Anti-Semitism) and OCR’s Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is now available on OCR’s website. On December 11, 2019, President Donald J. Trump issued Executive Order 13899 Combatting Anti-Semitism. The Executive Order reaffirms that while Title VI of the Civil Rights Act does not cover discrimination based on religion, it applies with full force to acts of discrimination (such as discrimination based on race or national origin) against groups of people who also happen to share common religious practices.

The Executive Order reiterates OCR’s longstanding position that anti-Semitic discrimination and harassment is prohibited under Title VI.  The Executive Order also directs federal agencies to consider the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and IHRA’s contemporary examples of anti-Semitism to the extent that they might be useful as evidence of determining whether an act demonstrates discriminatory intent prohibited by Title VI. Notably, the Executive Order reaffirms OCR’s commitment to enforcing Title VI consistent with rights protected under Federal law and under the First Amendment.

We believe the Questions and Answers document will be a helpful resource for educators, administrators, students, and stakeholder organizations. If you have questions about the Questions and Answers document or require specific technical assistance, please contact the OPEN center at:


Kimberly M. Richey
Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights