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Jewish groups urge Obama to reinstate anti-discrimination provision

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Seven Jewish organizations signed on to a letter appealing to President Obama to reinstate a hiring anti-discrimination provision based on religion for organizations that receive government contracts.

President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order in 1965, prohibiting discrimination in government contracts. In 2002, President George W. Bush amended the order by signing an exemption for relgious organizations, essentially allowing for religious discrimination in hiring for government-funded jobs.

The seven Jewish organizations are part of 52 civil rights, religious and educational organizations that signed the letter, an effort led by the Anti-Defamation League. Among the signatories are the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Union for Reform Judaism.