There are many Federal and state provisions that address and protect against harassment, bullying, and discrimination based on a person’s race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age, or disability.

Key Federal laws include:

In December 2019, the Trump Administration issued an executive order extending Title VI protection to Jews, stating that “discrimination against Jews may give rise to a Title VI violation when the discrimination is based on an individual’s race, color, or national origin,” and that “It shall be the policy of the executive branch to enforce Title VI against prohibited forms of discrimination rooted in antisemitism as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VI.”  While further regulations supporting this order are still pending, the US Department of Education has issued some guidance for educators in the form of select questions and answers.

Examples of violations protected by these federal statutes include:

  • Discrimination at school or the workplace – whether by denying someone’s job or participation in a project based on them being (or perceived to be) Jewish,
  • Creating a hostile environment – for example, if a school or workplace fails to respond adequately to antisemitic incidents on campus,
  • Denial of service – when a restaurant, for example, refuses to serve people who appear Jewish
  • Online stalking and harassment – whether by using antisemitic images or promoting blood libels

In addition to federal and state laws, antisemitic acts may also be in violation of individual school or workplace policies, so it is always good to seek help from school administrators, HR professionals and other experts in the community.

First Amendment

Generally, the First Amendment protects nonviolent expressions of antisemitic views. However, government and public institutions have the leeway to restrict such speech based on its content (for example defamation or incitement), where it occurs, or how it is delivered. For example, student speech or expression may be prohibited if it disrupts or interferes with other students’ rights to learn, speak, associate, or assemble.

It is also important to remember that words may not mean much initially but, left unattended, they can easily lead to actions and, as history has proven time and again, ignoring them doesn’t always make the problem go away.

When confronted with what you believe to be illegal activity, there are many steps that you can take.

What to Do