Benign Neglect of Anti-Semitism

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

A government perpetually in search of victims may be writing off some genuine ones. Anti-Semitic incidents remain a problem on some U.S. campuses,” the Scholars for Middle East Peace (SPME) recently wrote in a letter to the U. S. Secretary of Education. “The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) conducts an annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, and reported that in 2008, the number of anti-Jewish incidents on campuses nationwide increased from those reported the previous year.”

“For example, at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, a student was reportedly harassed by fellow students with anti-Semitic slurs and was shot with a pellet gun. At the University of California, Santa Cruz, a building was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti alleging that Jews were behind the 9/11 attacks.”

In addition to the ADL, 11 other groups signed onto the letter including:

~American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists
~American Jewish Committee
~American Jewish Congress
~B’nai B’rith International
~Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life
~Institute for Jewish and Community Research
~Jewish Council for Public Affairs
~Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
~Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
~Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
~Zionist Organization of America

In 2004, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Education “announced that the agency would assert jurisdiction over claims alleging the harassment of Jewish students.” SPME Legal Task Force chair Kenneth L. Marcus, now at Baruch College, formerly headed the OCR.

“OCR has since retreated from this much-needed policy,” the scholars wrote in their letter. “In 2007, in response to a complaint filed on behalf of Jewish students at the University of California, Irvine, which alleged severe, pervasive and persistent anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation and discrimination, OCR concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over many of the allegations of the complaint.”

“At about that time, the Hon. Stephanie Monroe, then the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights, stated that OCR would not investigate allegations of anti-Semitic harassment unless the allegations included other forms of discrimination over which OCR has subject-matter jurisdiction.”

The policy trend that began during George W. Bush’s second term continues into the Obama years, the scholars contend. “The Hon. Russlynn Ali, Assistant Secretary Monroe’s successor, echoed this position in a July 2009 letter to Congressman Brad Sherman of California,” the SPME letter reads. “Assistant Secretary Ali stated that it is OCR’s policy that Title VI does not cover anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation, and discrimination.”

“In short, OCR has decided that it will no longer enforce Title VI in cases in which a Jewish student asserts racial or ethnic discrimination that takes place on the basis of the student’s status as Jewish.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

Benign Neglect of Anti-Semitism

By Malcolm A. Kline

A government perpetually in search of victims may be writing off some genuine ones. Anti-Semitic incidents remain a problem on some U.S. campuses,” the Scholars for Middle East Peace (SPME) recently wrote in a letter to the U. S. Secretary of Education. “The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) conducts an annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, and reported that in 2008, the number of anti-Jewish incidents on campuses nationwide increased from those reported the previous year.”

“For example, at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, a student was reportedly harassed by fellow students with anti-Semitic slurs and was shot with a pellet gun. At the University of California, Santa Cruz, a building was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti alleging that Jews were behind the 9/11 attacks.”

In addition to the ADL, 11 other groups signed onto the letter including:

~American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists
~American Jewish Committee
~American Jewish Congress
~B’nai B’rith International
~Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life
~Institute for Jewish and Community Research
~Jewish Council for Public Affairs
~Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
~Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
~Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
~Zionist Organization of America

In 2004, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Education “announced that the agency would assert jurisdiction over claims alleging the harassment of Jewish students.” SPME Legal Task Force chair Kenneth L. Marcus, now at Baruch College, formerly headed the OCR.

“OCR has since retreated from this much-needed policy,” the scholars wrote in their letter. “In 2007, in response to a complaint filed on behalf of Jewish students at the University of California, Irvine, which alleged severe, pervasive and persistent anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation and discrimination, OCR concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over many of the allegations of the complaint.”

“At about that time, the Hon. Stephanie Monroe, then the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights, stated that OCR would not investigate allegations of anti-Semitic harassment unless the allegations included other forms of discrimination over which OCR has subject-matter jurisdiction.”

The policy trend that began during George W. Bush’s second term continues into the Obama years, the scholars contend. “The Hon. Russlynn Ali, Assistant Secretary Monroe’s successor, echoed this position in a July 2009 letter to Congressman Brad Sherman of California,” the SPME letter reads. “Assistant Secretary Ali stated that it is OCR’s policy that Title VI does not cover anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation, and discrimination.”

“In short, OCR has decided that it will no longer enforce Title VI in cases in which a Jewish student asserts racial or ethnic discrimination that takes place on the basis of the student’s status as Jewish.”

 

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