Not the First Case
Your article (“Line Between Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic Protests Splits AJC,” Aug. 16) inaccurately stated that the 2009 complaint alleging a hostile environment at UC Santa Cruz was the first case of anti-Semitism that the U.S. Department of Education ever agreed to investigate under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
In fact, the first case was triggered by the Zionist Organization of America’s 2004 complaint against UC Irvine. Unfortunately, mid-investigation, the department decided not to protect Jewish students under Title VI and dismissed the case.
We welcome American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris’ retraction o f his subordinate Ken Stern’s written public statement criticizing the reinterpretation of Title VI to now protect Jewish students. Proudly, the ZOA led a six-year battle to effect this change. What continues to be troubling is that Jewish defense organizations are still debating whether this legal tool should be available to Jewish students. Of course it should be.
Jewish students face increasing campus anti-Semitism, including vicious hostility toward Israel that can have the same effect on them as a swastika or an ethnic slur — making students feel unwelcome or even physically unsafe on campus, and afraid to show that they’re Jewish or support Israel.
Now that there’s a legal tool available when campus administrators refuse to address these problems, Jewish students should use it in the same way that African Americans and other targeted groups have done for close to 50 years, since Title VI was enacted in 1964.
Morton A. Klein
Susan B. Tuchman
Director, Center for Law and Justice
Zionist Organization of America