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September 9, 2013 6:49 am

U.S. Government Fails to Enforce Law to Protect Jewish Students

avatar by Morton A. Klein and Susan B. Tuchman

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Anti-Israel protesters.

With the start of a new school year, there’s reason to be concerned: Anti-Semitism is a serious problem on some college campuses, causing Jewish students to feel threatened and even fear for their safety. Yet the U.S. government is not enforcing the law that should protect them.

Legal protection exists, at least in theory. After a six-year battle by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and others, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a 2010 directive that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act would be enforced to protect Jewish students and students of other religious/ethnic groups who are harassed at publicly-funded schools.

But OCR isn’t enforcing the policy, thereby undermining Jewish students’ legal right to a safe and non-hostile campus environment.

In one clean sweep, OCR recently dismissed three Title VI cases filed on behalf of Jewish students. All three relate to unrelenting anti-Semitism on University of California campuses, which university officials had largely ignored.

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In the case filed by the ZOA against UC Irvine, Jewish students were physically threatened and assaulted. One student was surrounded by Arab students who cursed and threatened, “I am going to kill you, you f__king Jewish bitch.” Another Jewish student endured screams of “Go back to Russia where you came from,” “Burn in hell,” and F__king Jew.” A Holocaust memorial was vandalized. Posters obscenely proclaimed that “Zionism is Nazism” and equated the Star of David with the swastika.

A huge sign on the main walkway said, “Israelis Love to Kill Innocent Children.” The Israeli flag was displayed dripping with blood. Speakers regularly vilified Jews and Israel, comparing Jews to Satan and referring to them as “the new Nazis.” These anti-Semites spoke from the center of campus, their speeches amplified, so they were virtually impossible to avoid.

Courageous Jewish students came forward and described these and other horrific incidents to OCR investigators. Students said they were afraid to openly express they were Jewish or pro-Israel. Some stayed away from campus, feeling isolated, unwelcome and afraid. Two former students told OCR that they left Irvine and transferred elsewhere because they could no longer endure the hostility.

Students also told OCR that they repeatedly tried to get university officials to address the problems, to no avail. One student wrote to administrators, demanding that her physical safety be protected. The only official who responded suggested that she visit the counseling center, as if she were the problem!

Given the evidence, it’s almost impossible to understand how OCR could conclude that Jewish students’ right to a safe and non-hostile campus environment had not been violated. But OCR did just that, in a cursory one-page letter.

OCR’s contemporaneous dismissal of the Title VI cases against UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz is also troubling.  At Berkeley, a Jewish student was holding a sign that said “Israel Wants Peace” when she was rammed from behind with a loaded shopping cart by someone with a known history of anti-Jewish incitement and intimidation. The student required medical attention. Jewish students were subjected to mock checkpoints, where anti-Israel students – dressed as Israeli soldiers and holding fake guns (itself a legal violation) – blocked the walkway, stopping students to ask if they were Jewish before deciding whether to let them pass. Administrators took no action when Jewish students repeatedly complained about feeling threatened and afraid.

At Santa Cruz, Jewish students were subjected to anti-Semitic hostility in the classroom that the university itself was promoting. Professors and academic departments funded and sponsored one-sided anti-Israel programs, and discouraged students from learning about perspectives that weren’t anti-Israel. One professor violated university rules by tearing down flyers announcing an event about Palestinian children being trained as suicide bombers. Despite numerous complaints, the university refused to address the hostile environment.

OCR’s indifference to anti-Semitism on the UC campuses is a far cry from how the government has responded to incidents targeting other minorities.

For instance, after acts hostile to African-Americans at UC San Diego, OCR and the Justice Department initiated an investigation on their own – even though university officials had already investigated the incidents and issued public condemnations, and the perpetrators were held accountable.

OCR’s failure to enforce Title VI to protect Jewish students may be a response to forceful pressure from outside groups who falsely claim that the rank anti-Semitism on campus is legitimate political discourse, and that enforcing Title VI to remedy a hostile environment for Jewish students will unconstitutionally stifle protected speech.

Let us be clear that Title VI is not being used to silence criticism of Israel. Students are complaining about threats and assaults, about vandalism, and about the promotion of Nazi-like propaganda lies about Jews and Israel, inside and outside the classroom. Students object to denials of Israel’s right to exist and calls for its destruction. These are all manifestations of anti-Semitism, according to the U.S. government’s own standards.

Let us also be clear that no one is calling for the suppression of free speech. We have consistently urged university officials to exercise their own free speech rights to publicly condemn anti-Semitic incidents, as well as the perpetrators.

We know from years of working with Jewish students that their colleges’ silence in response to anti-Semitism is as hurtful as the anti-Semitism itself, because it sends the message that demonizing Jews and Israel is acceptable and will be tolerated.

Our government seems to have abandoned Jewish students. Contact your representatives in Congress. They should be demanding that OCR take campus anti-Semitism seriously, and vigorously enforce Title VI, so that publicly-funded colleges will no longer tolerate the ugly environment harming Jewish students.

Morton A. Klein, is the National President of the Zionist Organization of America and Susan B. Tuchman, is the Director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Carl

    WHO COMPRISES THE OCR?? And what are the Deans who sit in their ivory towers collecting millions doing about this? The answer–NOTHING. If my child was bullied in this manner I would raise such a stink that these moron administrators would be out on their collective asses. OCR huh. I would make it my mission in life to make each one of these gutless individuals miserable. Jewish people should fight back with whatever means available and not just rely on the law to obtain results. Kahane had it right. Do unto them before they do it to you!!

    • Surly

      This all about MONEY. With dropping enrollment at so many schools it is hard to take action against those that pay cash for their education. If one check the demographic of the student body of these schools it becomes apparent that Arabs are worth more then law and moral’s.

      • Susan

        Wow. Never even thought of that!

  • Alison Weston

    Words fail me. Do these clowns have the slightest idea what they are doing or why? I would encourage them to Google Kasim Hafeez and hear what he has to say – once a radical anti-Israel and anti-Semitic Muslim, now a proud Zionist, he travels widely to spread his message. He was born in the UK, educated there, radicalised there. His Cape Town lecture was inspirational.

  • JOHN TRAIN

    Much of the responsibility for that lack of basic responsibility by the federal government is caused by the failure of the liberal Jewish faculty and much of the Jewish media to raise hell to protect the Jewish students.

    Both at Berkeley and at Irvine ( where I have personal knowledge), my Jewish faculty friends refused to acknowledge the many incidents that I personally witnessed. Further, the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles writers, for the most part, downplayed the actual incidents.

    My deep involvement with the black, Hispanic and Muslim communities showed me that they raise hell whenever any member complains. Thus, UC administration and the Fedsi are trained to respond to their every complaint and they are conditioned tto ignore the Jewish complaints.

  • Sharon Rappaport

    My children left the University of California system and went to Israel to complete their education.

  • Efram Paul

    There is no way our terrorist-in-chief, or his administration, would do anything to disappoint his terrorist brothers and sisters. Protect Jews? What do they think this is, a civil rights issue? To Jew haters like Obama, Jews are not deserving of civil rights, only his terrorist buddies. They receive preferential treatment in every way, shape, and form, up to and including the destruction of the first amendment. But protect American Jewish students? That would mean protecting and defending the laws and constitution of the United States, and we know what recent presidents think of that impediment to their will.

    • almondleaf

      you are an idiot

  • EG

    Ashamed UCI Alum. Class of 1990.

    They will never get a f—king penny from me.

    None.

  • Aimee Claire

    Wake up! Our country is clearly no longer a safe haven for the Jews! Political Correctness and our presidents acceptance for Muslim Jihadists that want to destroy our country – WILL destroy our country from the inside out! Jews be careful and ever watchful- history repeats itself! Gd forbid we find ourselves right back in another Holocaust! What we’re seeing are the stirrings!

    • zorka kelly

      Stand strong, in union, forget the history repeats itself this is negative, fight this, you have many of us standing with you, Yes, he does embrace Muslim’s, we are a very strong country, keep going, fight this!!!!

      • tara jueschke

        Bravo! I commend you for your decision.

    • rashid Zaidi

      Don’t worry there will not be another tragedy like it again, the Muslims are out to get anyone it is just a paranoia amongst Jews. You folks are the most powerful people on God’s earth, you can destroy any country at the push of a button, look at the middle east right now, what are you worried about, nothing will happen to you folks. If this country is for equal rights then others can speak or vent their feeling also, I guess.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    Hey, these are Obama’s Justice and Education Departments.

    Since Jews have overwhelmingly supported Obama in two presidential elecions, I guess the old adage applies: “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.”

  • Marjorie Francoz

    A sad & unfortunate situation that exits on many campuses makes their reputation disgusting!! Anti-semitism should be persecuted by those in charge at the Universities. where people are obviously prejudiced.

    We all have the right to live as we choose, as long as no harm is passed on to others. Not one positive thing comes of this sickening happening.

  • What is wrong with these Jewish students? Why don’t they fight back? Why aren’t they forming groups of Jewish supporters and confronting this anti-semetic behavior head on? It’s like lambs walking to the slaughter house again. Have they not learned anything from the Holocaust and the formation of the state of Israel? You suggest people should contact their congressmen…You’re joking right? As ineffective as congress is right now, you think that is a doable solution.
    No Jew should ever just crawl away frightened. STAND UP and FIGHT BACK!!!!

  • The United States is under assault from the Islamic World. It faces well financed, professionally run propaganda campaigns to advance Islam – Sharia for all. That means a full scale war against Jews.

    The Academic World was wooed and won by Arab money: University Chairs, scholarships, buildings, endowments, libraries – and “acceptable” Department Heads (who then hired the like-minded). Thus Leftist were indoctrinated and co-opted to tow the ” Elite Liberal” (pro-Islamic) line. Many Universities are now “pro-Palestinian” swamps.

    Muslim Brotherhood operators are especially strong on UC campuses, which is why the students get no school support. Muslim operators are in US positions of power, which is why the OCR denied them. Jewish students will face increased danger unless Jewish “defense” groups join the ZOA and publicly call attention to this un-American ( unmentioned in the media) Islamic assault.

  • Michael Mendelson

    What most are failing to understand is the root of the problem stems from social media. Facebook being the major factor with the pages & groups it allows. I’ve tried contacting the ZOA & have got ahold of the Miami location, yet the main one in California is who’s needed the most. Oct 14 we will hold a demonstration trying to get most of this type of content banned. A little more than a month away & looks like we are around 400 so far that will show up. Please take a quick moment to open this blog & feel free to contact me if you are willing to help. Such a shame that most of this is being done by concerned citizens. Where are the rest of the organizations ?

    http://removehatefromfb.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/exposing-facebooks-lack-of-morals/

  • Contact Alan Dershowitz with this story.

    • Michael

      And he will do nothing. He is aware of this.

  • As a People, we have gone collectively INSANE…

    http://douglasernstblog.com/2013/08/26/associated-press-admits-obama-is-in-over-his-head/

    Dorothy Meekins holds up the national flag with the picture of President Obama as she attends a rally commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

    http://dougernst.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/obama-flag.jpg?w=610

  • Fred

    USA Universities were a hot bed of anti Semitism in the thirties noiw kow towing to Arab money they are at it again. What happened to American “correctnes” that seem to mesmerise the world. Oy, wey it won’t go away.

  • Madness – sheer utter madness.

  • Bil

    Does it surprise you;when we have a muslim in the Whitehouse?

    • VIGILANTE

      Bi. you nailed it, barry hussein our fearless leader. This is an abomination. We need the “original” JDL as it was at the beginning, not the extremist group it turned into later.
      Jewish students should not be attending these Islamist Universities in the state of California. Are these events known and spread in the media in California, and if not, one would wonder why? If this happened at NYU, would there be an uproar, or would all of the f n ny braindead intellectual liberal Jews in NY, also put their heads in the sand. and applaud the UN Palestinian vote as did the THREE Rabbis (sic) at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side (Y”S”) yo. When you have educated enlightened “liberal’ besotted Jews, Rabbis (sic) no less, in NYC applauding the UN vote, when we have Hillel students going to the Egypt for humanitarian reasons and getting killed, and the three girls who were volunteers and acidified, one can only wonder why this atavistic love of the underdog persists despite so much empirical data as to it’s insanity. Phlanthropy at its worst, Jews literally and figuratively committing suicide.
      All Jewish students need to get the hell out of UC schools, If the extra tuition elsewhere is an issue, Michael Steinhardt should use some of his Birthright money for stipends for these Jewish kids so that they are not financially enduced to attend UC. anyway, half or more of the birthright attendandees are not halachically Jewish. (for those of the orthodox persuasion). An will nost likely not convert and not bring up Jewish children, A discussion for another time.

    • rashid Zaidi

      That is a very irresponsible statement, what has that to do for student harassment. It is experienced by others too on campi across the nation. The difference is nobody gets a response from complaints, the Jewish people do, as they are powerful and can force it upon authorities to look into such bad behavior by a few in a place of learning where none of this should happen. Besides Mr. Obama is not a Muslim, just because he is Black he is denigrated what a shame and you are writing about injustice, you yourself are a bigot.

      • A Zionist

        @rashid Zaidi

        Your statement is pegorative and offensive. It implies that the Jewish people (ie a collective of Jews) are more powerful than anyone else. This is known as the conspiracy libel and one of the three major libels against Jews, the two others being blood libel (Jews wish to harm non-Jews, at first Christians, especially boys and now Palestinians) and the economic libel (Jews are financially powerful), all leading to the anti-semitic world-view that Jews intend to dominate the world (via the media, financial organisations etc).
        There seems to be a cultural amnesia regarding anti-semitism that predates the Holocaust; and unlike any other forms of racism, anti-semitism has to be “proved” rather than accepted for what it is: Jew hatred. Today, this is played out by the left through the language of human rights, freedom of speech and democracy to single out the Jew-among-the Nations: Israel.
        The next time you feel inclined to single out “powerful Jews”, I expect you to provide empirical evidence for such malicious nonsense.

      • Jim Collins

        How’d that “million muslim march” go with only 50 people? You people have some balls desecrating September 11 when you perpetrated the crime yourselves.

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