Why Disparage a Policy That Protects Jewish Students?

Letter to the Editor

Published December 08, 2010, issue of December 17, 2010.
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It’s troubling that a professor of Jewish history at the University of California, Davis, would disparage the federal government’s new policy affording Jewish students the same civil rights protections that have been guaranteed to other minority groups for close to 50 years (“Federal Civil Rights Policy Expanded To Protect Jewish College Students,” November 12).

David Biale claims that “the Jews are a group with power.” Yet Jewish students have faced years of anti-Semitism on his own campus. In 2001, someone smashed the front window of the university’s Hillel house and set fire to the Israeli flag hanging from the building. In 2007, a campus sukkah was spray-painted with anti-Israel statements. This past February, a swastika was carved into the door of a Jewish student’s dorm room. Less than a week later, several more swastikas were spray-painted on other university buildings. According to the Anti-Defamation League, speakers at campus events have blamed Jews for the world’s problems and called for Israel’s destruction.

Anti-Semitism is a serious problem on other campuses, too, to the point that some students have feared for their safety. Until now, colleges and universities had no legal obligation to address the harassment and intimidation, leaving those “powerful” Jewish students at risk. All of us should commend the Department of Education for clarifying that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will finally be enforced to protect Jewish students.

Susan B. Tuchman
Center for Law and Justice
Zionist Organization of America
New York, N.Y.

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