web analytics
December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Protecting Jewish Students From Anti-Semitic Harassment


Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that colleges and universities redress racial and ethnic discrimination or risk losing their federal funding. Thus, if African American or Hispanic students are harassed on campus, they can complain to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is mandated to enforce Title VI and ensure that their schools fix the problem.

But Title VI does not clearly protect Jewish students, as we found out after the Zionist Organization of America filed a Title VI complaint with OCR on behalf of Jewish students at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

To correct this problem, Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) have introduced legislation that would require that Jewish students be protected from harassment and intimidation on their campuses. The legislation would add protection from religious discrimination to Title VI, which presently prohibits discrimination based on “race, color, or national origin.”

The Specter-Sherman bill will fill a legal loophole that right now effectively permits colleges and universities to ignore when Jewish students are harassed or discriminated against. Lawmakers should enact this bill quickly, so that Jewish students are assured a campus environment that is safe and conducive to learning, which all students deserve. Advertisement

The need for this amendment is highlighted by many troubling incidents of campus anti-Semitism. For example, at UC Berkeley last March, a Jewish student was holding a sign at a pro-Israel campus rally that read “Israel Wants Peace.” She was rammed from behind with a filled shopping cart. The attack was unprovoked and the victim required medical attention.

At UCI, a Holocaust memorial was destroyed, and swastikas have defaced campus property. Posters have depicted women in traditional Muslim garb saying, “God bless Hitler.” A Jewish student was told to “go back to Russia where you came from.” Jewish students have been threatened and physically assaulted. The campus regularly hosts one- to two-week-long events that demonize Israel and Jews. At the May 2009 event, a speaker compared Jews to Satan. Last May, this speaker referred to Jews as “the new Nazis.”

In October 2004, the ZOA filed a Title VI complaint with OCR on behalf of Jewish students at UCI. The complaint detailed years of increasing anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation and discrimination, and charged that the university had either ignored the problems or made token efforts to address them.

At the time the complaint was filed, OCR had clarified its policy for enforcing Title VI, concluding that the law applied to religious groups that also share ethnic characteristics, such as Jews. Based on this policy clarification, OCR proceeded with the ZOA’s case, rendering it the first case of anti-Semitism that OCR ever agreed to investigate under Title VI.

Soon after the investigation started, the leadership at OCR changed, resulting in a change in the agency’s Title VI policy. OCR reverted back to denying Title VI protection to Jewish students, perceiving Jews simply as a religious group and not also an ethnic group that would be protected from “racial” and “national origin” discrimination under the law.

As a result, even though OCR had overwhelming evidence that Jewish students were facing severe and persistent anti-Semitism at UCI, and that the university hadn’t responded adequately to the problem, OCR dismissed the ZOA’s complaint, concluding that many of the allegations fell outside the agency’s jurisdiction. Our appeal of that decision has been pending since April 2008.

Even now, with new leadership at OCR under President Obama, the policy of denying Jews the same protections as other minority groups has not changed.

The injustice of the UCI decision inspired the ZOA to advocate for a change in the law. We communicated with many members of Congress, educating them about the problems that Jewish students are facing on their campuses and about the law’s failure to afford them the same protections as other ethnic and racial groups. At our annual Advocacy Mission to Washington last April, these problems were a centerpiece of our lobbying efforts with lawmakers.

When Congressman Ron Klein (D-FL), co-chair of the Congressional Taskforce Against Anti-Semitism, convened a briefing last June on campus anti-Semitism and the federal government’s role in redressing it, the ZOA briefed congressional members and their staffs. The briefing led to letters from 38 members of Congress to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, urging the Education Department to enforce Title VI to protect Jewish students.

About the Author: Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Protecting Jewish Students From Anti-Semitic Harassment”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A message from an ambassador of the Palestinian Authority, Israel's "peace partner."
Palestinian Authority Envoy to Tehran Says Israel will be Destroyed
Latest Indepth Stories
School of Athens by Raphael (Aristotle on right holding his work, "Ethics")

2 basic aspects of Aristotelian thought remarkably like Jewish thought: “Involvement” & “Purpose”

Ben-Tsvi-122614

“Farming still allows some unique opportunities for mitzvah fulfillment that a city dweller never meets.”

Bill Cosby

It shakes our sense of justice when allegations against a famed role model are covered up or ignored

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Feiglin: Only true liberty will allow us to genuinely connect to our Jewish identity.

The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.

The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.

We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.

Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.

Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.

Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.

More Articles from Morton A. Klein
Morton A. Klein

Historically, legally, politically, and religiously Israel is the Jewish nation state.

John Kerry is full of 'nonsense,' says ZOA president Morton A. Klein

John Kerry says an Israeli-Peace peace pact is “important to “regional security and stability.” ZOA says he is full of nonsense: Arab wars on Israel have nothing to do with their own internal problems.

Imagine if the NAACP had responded with skepticism to the passage of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and urged African Americans to exercise their civil rights cautiously under this law. Title VI was landmark legislation when it was passed in 1964 to remedy racial and ethnic discrimination in programs receiving federal funding.

Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which controls Gaza, have formally signed a unity agreement.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that colleges and universities redress racial and ethnic discrimination or risk losing their federal funding. Thus, if African American or Hispanic students are harassed on campus, they can complain to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is mandated to enforce Title VI and ensure that their schools fix the problem.

Recent polls show that Americans, American Jews and Israelis disapprove of President Obama’s policies toward Israel. They oppose his administration’s condemning Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem; his UN speech supporting linkage of U.S. support for Israel’s security to Israeli concession to the Palestinians; his comparing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of Jews in his June 2009 Cairo speech.

Is J Street a pro-Israel group? The lobbying organization never tires of claiming it is.

Yet what pro-Israel group would invite a man to speak at its forthcoming conference who has called for Israel’s destruction, stating that “the establishment by force, violence and terrorism of a Jewish state in Palestine in 1948” was “unjust” and “a crime,” and vowed to “work to overturn the injustice”?

Today, under the Obama administration – as yesterday under the Bush administration – U.S. policy toward the Arab war on Israel is largely based on the notion that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction are genuine moderates who reject terrorism and accept Israel’s right to exist, and are therefore committed to building a Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/protecting-jewish-students-from-anti-semitic-harassment/2010/10/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: