The LDB urges Congress to end or mend Middle East Studies Funding


The Brandeis Center recently issued a public policy White Paper on “The Morass of Middle East Studies: Title VI of the Higher Education Act and Federally Funded Area Studies” to address shortcomings in Title VI of the Higher Education Act.  The LDB is particularly concerned about biased, politicized, anti-Israel and anti-American programming at Title VI Centers that violate both the letter and spirit of 2008 congressional reforms.  Many Title VI recipients were ideologically polarized institutions notorious for one-sided approaches hostile to the United States, the West, and Israel.  Some programs were reportedly so hostile towards Israel that they would not even remotely entertain views that contradicted their unrelentingly anti-Israel perspective.

The White Paper is comprehensive in content, which includes a brief history of Title VI from its Cold War origins through post 9/11 reform efforts, the current status of Middle East Studies programs, analysis of failures, and recommendations for more effective Title VI funding. In an analysis of Middle East Studies programs, the Center found that:

  • “No proper complaint-resolution procedure exists to ensure compliance with the HEOA’s key Diverse Perspectives requirement” – highlighting Congress’ Failure to Provide an Enforcement Mechanism.
  • The Department of Education has not indicated what is required by the Diverse Perspectives requirement or how it can best be implemented.
  • “The Department [of Education] does not ensure compliance with this requirement through well-established processes that it uses to monitor grantees actions under other programs.”

The Department’s failure to clarify the Diverse Perspectives requirement has meant that universities applying for Title VI funding do not know what must be done to achieve “diverse perspectives,” and government officials do not know what to look for in reviewing applications.  To address this, the White Paper offers recommendations to Congress, the Department of Education, and the universities, on how best to reform Title VI funding.


Today a coalition of national organizations, including the Louis D. Brandeis Center, issued the following statement concerning the issue of biased and highly politicized Middle East Studies programs funded under HEA Title VI.  The statement addresses the history, current problems, and proposed solutions ameliorate the bias programs of Title VI recipients. We, the undersigned, are…

The LDB Lauds ESA Research Network 31 on New Anti-Boycott Resolution

The LDB commended the European Sociological Association Network 31 after the Network passed the first pro-active anti-boycott resolution by a professional European academic association late last week. Kenneth L. Marcus, President of the Louis D. Brandeis Center commented, “This is a very important development, because it signals that some academics understand the problematic nature of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and are willing to say so publicly.  I hope that Network 31 becomes a model for other responsible academic associations.”

Brandeis Center Welcomes Guest Blogger Mike Gonzalez

LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus is pleased to announce the appearance of foreign policy analyst Mike Gonzalez  as new guest blogger on the  Brandeis Center Blog for a two-week period beginning September 15.  Mr. Gonzalez’s appearance underscores the immediate need to address Title VI funding to universities under the Higher Education Act. Mr. Gonzalez’ appearance comes as…

Groups Urge University of California to Monitor SJP Actions at So-Called “International Day of Action”

Earlier today, fifteen national organizations urged Chancellor Dirks of the University of California at Berkeley to monitor the behavior of Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP) and other student organizations involved in the so-called September 23 “Day of Action.”  The 15 organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of members and supporters nationwide, expressed deep concern about the safety and well-being of Jewish students around these events.  In the wake of the Israel-Gaza conflict, global antisemitism has reached levels not seen since the Holocaust.  Jews throughout the world are being targeted for threats, physical assaults and murder, and Jewish property for desecration and destruction.  The groups emphasize that they fully support academic freedom and students’ freedom of expression, but nevertheless caution that “these types of demonstrations can result in antisemitic rhetoric and violent behavior, creating a hostile and unsafe environment for Jewish students.”   Just days ago, the groups observed, a Jewish student at Temple University was punched in the face and called “baby-killer, racist, Zionist pig” and “kike” as he stood next to a table run by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).  The groups’ letter is as follows:

Dear Chancellor Dirks,

We represent 15 organizations with hundreds of thousands of members and supporters nationwide, who are deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of Jewish students on campuses across the country, particularly in light of the current unrest in the Middle East. We would like to bring to your attention a matter that directly affects Jewish students at UC Berkeley.

Dr. Hatem Bazian, a UC Berkeley lecturer in Near Eastern Studies, has posted to his Facebook page an announcement of an “International Day of Action on College Campuses: Free Palestine and End the Siege on Gaza,” which is to take place on September 23.  The posting includes the following message:

A call for activists and organizations on campuses across the world to organize massive protests on every college and university campus. Make Free Palestine and Ending the Siege on Gaza part of campus education by holding teach-ins, rallies, sit-ins, civil disobedience, and push for BDS activities.

Is the U.S. Next?

While everyday anti-Semitism has become part of the fabric of Western European life in a way it has not been since the 1930s, the situation in the U.S. is also becoming troubling. I would compare American manifestations of anti-Semitism to ugly boils on the body politic whose poisons have not yet entered the bloodstream.

Here is a survey of anti-Semitism around the U.S. during the Summer of 2014 that is far from complete:

• Jewish comedian Elon Gold, walking home from a Sabbath dinner in Los Angeles with his family, is verbally assaulted by a carload of “Middle Eastern men” shouting “Free Palestine!” and that his children should die. The Los Angeles police treat it as a “hate incident” but not “hate crime.”
• In New York, a carload of Palestinians or Palestinian sympathizers leave their car to assault a Jewish husband and wife, apparently because the man wore a yarmulke.
• In Chicago, a high-profile pro-Israel event featuring Jewish Mayor Rahm Emanuel is partly disrupted by pro-Palestinian protestors, many of them Jewish leftists.
• In Chicago, youngsters styling themselves “the incinerator clan” are given a slap on the wrist for taunting a Jewish eighth graders with a computer ap called “Jew Incinerator.”

Brandeis Center Introduces Resource Guide for Identifying Anti-Semitic Behavior on U.S. College Campuses

As the fall semester begins, The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law today introduced a resource guide to help promote civil discourse and prevent hateful and anti-Semitic activity on campuses. The LDB “Fact Sheet on the Elements of Anti-Semitic Discourse” was compiled in response to requests from U.S. university administrators who are seeking guidance…

Organizations Sign Statement Against Assault on a Student at Temple University

  We are deeply troubled by the physical assault against a Jewish student at Temple University.  Daniel Vessal, a CAMERA Fellow and member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, was punched in the face and knocked down and called “baby-killer, racist, Zionist pig” by individuals at the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) table that was part…