web analytics
April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Protecting Jewish Students From Anti-Semitic Harassment


Share Button

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.

We’ve also led the effort to educate the public – through letters, articles, speeches, press releases, ads and petitions – about campus anti-Semitism and Jewish students’ right to legal protection.

Senator Specter and Congressman Sherman have taken a leadership role in ensuring that Jewish students are protected. We have worked closely with them on the issue, including helping to craft the language in the bill that was just introduced.

All of us should urge our representatives in Congress to support this bill so that an unjust gap in the law will finally be filled, and Jewish students will no longer have to tolerate anti-Semitic harassment on their campuses.

Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America; Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., is director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice.

Share Button

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.

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

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Border Police take charge of  Yitzhar's Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva while students are on vacation.
Brave Israel Police Stand Guard at Empty Yeshiva to Stop Violence
Latest Indepth Stories

Brandeis, which had to have known about her record of criticism of Islam, pulled the honor after pressure from a Muslim advocacy group and a number of faculty members and students.

Rabbi Paysach Krohn

Wherever I was invited around the world, I always met with people and let them know that I wanted to hear great stories.

Israeli flag

R. Hadaya strongly argues in favor of establishing a festive day in commemoration of the establishment of the state of Israel.

Palestinian boys stand behind mock jail bars during a rally calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails (but not from Palestinian Arab jails), in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on April 20, 2014.

The Palestinian Authority has jailed more than 350 Arabs for “security” reasons in just 2014.

Since Torah is the great equalizer, the great reconciler of divergent but valid opinions, this is also the place where common ground is reached.

Some American Jews feel their community has been hijacked from within by groups waging war against Israel seemingly in the name of the Jewish people.

Jerusalem only seems important in the Islamic world when non-Muslims control or capture the city.

Jordan’s king is adding fuel to the fire on the Temple Mount, blaming Israel for violence by Muslim Arab rioters.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

More Articles from Morton A. Klein
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.

Klein-051812

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.

As New York’s U.S. senator from 2001 to 2009, Hillary Rodham Clinton was a reliable and vocal supporter of Israel. She was especially strong on Jerusalem, stating in a September 2007 position paper, “I believe that Israel’s right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, must never be questioned.”

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: