President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday, Dec. 11, targeting a growing problem with anti-Semitic harassment on college campuses.

The order would allow the Department of Education to potentially withhold funding from colleges and universities if they fail to combat anti-Israel rhetoric for insufficient action on anti-Semitism.

The president said Wednesday that the order sends a message to universities: “If you want to accept the tremendous amount of federal dollars that you get every year, you must reject anti-Semitism. It’s very simple,” Trump said.

Under the order, the Department of Education will consider the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism—which can include criticism of Israel—when evaluating discrimination complaints under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The department could withhold funding from schools that it finds in violation of Title VI.

Title VI bars discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin at colleges and universities that receive federal funding. One official said Trump’s order would make it clear that Title VI will apply to anti-Semitism as defined by the IHRA. 

President Donald Trump, with First Lady Melania Trump, speaks during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, in Washington. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo)

“Jewish Americans strengthen, sustain, and inspire our Nation! As President, I will always celebrate and honor the Jewish people,” the president said.

The order comes as the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against the Israeli government becomes more prominent on some college campuses.

“My administration will never tolerate the suppression, persecution or silencing of the Jewish people,” Trump said. “We forcefully condemn this anti-Semitic campaign against the state of Israel and its citizens.”

President Trump signed the executive order at a Hanukkah reception at the White House, the first of two on Wednesday. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz were among those in attendance who spoke in favor of Trump’s actions.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House hosted by President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, on Dec. 11, 2019, in Washington. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo)

The Republican Jewish Coalition applauded the move, with the group’s chairman, former Sen. Norm Coleman, calling it “a truly historic and important moment for Jewish Americans” and hailing Trump as “the most pro-Jewish president” in the nation’s history.

Includes reporting from the Associated Press