The University of California’s Board of Regents is set to vote on whether it should adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism at its next meeting at the end of July. The issue came to the forefront when UC President Janet Napolitano expressed her support of the definition and urged the Board of Regents…
On Monday, June 22, the AMCHA initiative launched a new webpage filled with testimonies from Jewish students who have been subject to anti-Semitic acts on college campuses across the country. An article in The Algemeiner states that “students at 47 colleges and universities in 20 states” recounted these incidents for the webpage. The testimonies detail…
An important decision is coming up at the end of July that could be a major step forward in fighting anti-Semitism on college campuses. The
University of California school system’s Board of Regents is set to vote at its next meeting, July 22-23, on whether it should adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism.
This comes after the President of the University of California, Janet Napolitano, came out in support of the definition and urged the Regents to accept it as well. A number of undergraduate student bodies within the UC school system, including University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) and University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) have adopted resolutions condemning anti-Semitism and including the definition.
Finally, a petition (see below) is being put forward by attorneys to urge the UC Board of Regents to adopt the definition and to push back against protests that it would infringe upon First Amendment rights. We urge all attorneys to read and sign the petition here.
Dear Member of the Board of Regents:
We are attorneys from around the country – private practitioners, public sector attorneys, and university faculty – who are deeply concerned about rising anti-Semitism, including on American college campuses. Unfortunately, the University of California (UC) has not been immune to the problem and, indeed, has played host to some of the worst anti-Semitic incidents. Over the last few years, Jewish UC students have reported being physically assaulted, threatened, and discriminated against. Jewish property has been defaced and destroyed. And Jewish student events have been disrupted and shut down.
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law’s (LDB) Law Student Chapter Initiative, started last year, continues to expand! Last week, LDB opened three new law student chapters in Chicago – at the University of Chicago, DePaul University, and Chicago-Kent College of Law.
“The recent rise in anti-Semitism on university campuses is undeniable and deeply disturbing,” says Josh Hammer, a second-year student at the University of Chicago and one of the new chapter’s founding members. “Vigorously combatting this pernicious trend is one of our generation’s great new challenges. It is my hope that our Louis D. Brandeis Center chapter at the University of Chicago Law School will help train our future lawyers in how to do precisely that.”
Fostering a new generation of leaders who share LDB’s mission, LDB chapters fill an important gap in American legal education, offer legal and educational opportunities that members seek, and provide a resource to other members of the university community. In turn, the chapters support LDB’s work to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism on college and university campuses. Brandeis Center law students assist Brandeis Center attorneys in monitoring colleges and universities around the United States to ensure compliance with federal and state civil rights laws that protect Jewish students from discrimination, harassment, and hostile environments. Since LDB is an equal opportunity organization, we welcome students of any race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, gender or disability.
Corey Celt, a first-year law student who will be clerking with the Brandeis Center in Washington, D.C. this summer, started the new chapter at DePaul after attending the LDB National Law Student Conference this past December. Celt expressed his excitement about starting the new chapter: “I truly believe that many people are not aware of the Anti-Semitism that takes place on college campuses; if they are, they may also not be aware that there are legal remedies and legal organizations here to help. Given that DePaul University is very active in public interest law and pro bono community service, I know we have a student body that embraces the missions of the Brandeis Center and believes that ‘Human Rights for the Jewish People and justice for all’ are causes worth working for.”
Chicago-Kent LDB Chapter President Paul Geske, also an LDB National Conference participant and founding member, says, “[t]he new chapter will help us empower our fellow law students by providing them with information and the tools to engage in Jewish, civil rights advocacy. The chapter will also be a springboard for connecting students with attorneys locally, and nationwide.” At Chicago-Kent, where students are particularly interested in legal practice, students were treated to a special presentation by Supreme Court litigator Alyza Lewin, who spoke about her experience litigating the “Jerusalem Passport” case. Alyza was introduced by Constitutional Law Professor Mark D. Rosen, who put the case into the context of Con Law, making it increasingly relevant for students.
LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus commented, “We are thrilled to recognize three new Chicago law school chapters this week. These are smart, passionate, dedicated students who share our mission to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all. I admire their commitment and look forward to supporting their efforts.”
The three new LDB Chicago chapters will join the chapter started in February at Loyola University-Chicago. We thank Chicago’s Decalogue Society of Lawyers for connecting us to such wonderful and passionate Chicago-area students, and hope that our two groups can continue to work together.
If you are interested in helping to organize an LDB law student chapter at your school, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Brandeis Center is an independent, non-profit civil rights organization that combats campus anti-Semitism. For more information on Brandeis Center activity, visit our website, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, read our Blog, and sign-up for our monthly publication, the Brandeis Brief!
HARTFORD, Conn., February 23, 2015 – More than half of 1,157 self-identified Jewish students at 55 campuses nationwide who took part in an online survey reported having been subjected to or having witnessed anti-Semitism on their campuses, according to a new report issued jointly by Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut) and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (Washington, D.C.).
The National Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students, which covered a variety of topics, was conducted in spring 2014 by a research team from Trinity College. Of the 1,157 students in the sample, 54 percent reported instances of anti-Semitism on campus during the first six months of the 2013-2014 academic year. The data provide a snapshot of the types, context, and location of anti-Semitism as experienced by a large national sample of Jewish students at university and four-year college campuses. The rates of victimization for students with different social characteristics – such as type of campus, year of study, academic major, demographics, religiosity, or politics – ranged from a low of 44 percent to a high of 73 percent. There was only a slight variation in the rates across the regions of the United States, strongly suggesting that anti-Semitism on campus is a nationwide problem.
The Trinity College researchers who led the team conducting the survey were Barry Kosmin and Ariela Keyes, public policy and law professors and the authors of other well-known national social surveys, including the American Religion Identification Survey (ARIS) series. Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) President Kenneth L. Marcus, former head of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and author of a forthcoming volume on The Definition of Anti-Semitism (Oxford University Press, 2015), provided recommendations on the report. Kosmin and Keysar pointed out that, historically, the most likely targets of anti-Semitism in the general population have been Orthodox Jewish males, who tend to be easily identified by perpetrators. However, this tendency does not seem to be the case on college campuses. Conservative and Reform Jewish students are more likely than Orthodox students to report being victims.
Membership in a Jewish campus organization also raises the likelihood of a student reporting anti-Semitism. According to Kosmin, “The patterns and high rates of anti-Semitism that were reported were surprising. Rather than being localized to a few campuses or restricted to politically active or religious students, this problem is widespread. Jewish students are subjected to both traditional prejudice and the new political anti-Semitism.”
Another finding was that female students were more likely than males to report anti-Semitism. “Jewish women seem to feel more vulnerable on campus, with 59 percent of female students versus 51 percent of males telling us that they have personally witnessed or experienced anti-Semitism,” said Keysar. “This gender gap is alarming and needs to be further explored,” she added. Kosmin and Keysar observed that while anti-Semitism is often linked to anti-Zionism, this survey was undertaken in the spring of 2014, before the summer 2014 conflict in Gaza that led to a worldwide flare-up in anti-Semitism. Numbers of participating students voiced concern that their experiences of anti-Semitism made for an uncomfortable campus climate.
In his foreword for the report, Marcus wrote, “We hear frequently from college students who find that their experiences of anti-Semitism are not taken seriously. A decade ago, Jewish college students spoke of the vindication that they felt when the U.S. Civil Rights Commission gave voice to their concerns,” added Marcus, who, as then-staff director, drafted the Commission’s announcement that campus anti-Semitism had become a “serious problem” at many universities around the country. “This report should provide a similar vindication, since it indicates that the scope of this problem is greater than most observers had realized.”
Record levels of anti-Semitism were reported in the UK in 2014 by the The Community Security Trust, a Jewish security charity, according to The Guardian. The charity runs an incident hotline that reported 1,168 anti-Semitic incidents against British Jews, which has doubled since 2013. Last month, the UK released a report that indicated anti-Semitic activity was on…
Because I am so pleased that First Lady Michelle Obama had the intestinal fortitude to stand tête découverte in Saudi Arabia.
It’s not too much to hope she may yet place a wreath at Paris’ Hyper Cacher market.
By Dilia Zwart and Kenny Liebowitz
The UK Home Secretary Theresa May recently proclaimed, “We must all redouble our efforts to wipe out anti-Semitism.” Her call to action came during a memorial service in London to remember those killed in the terror attacks in France this month, including four people in a kosher supermarket.
May urged the UK to increase efforts to combat anti-Semitism so that Jewish citizens would feel safe in the country. Her call to action reaffirms the UK’s commitment to combat anti-Semitism – seen also in a report on anti-Semitism the UK government issued last month.
The report detailed the government’s strategy for and progress in stemming the rising tide of anti-Semitism within Britain’s borders. Yet while the report and May’s affirmation are important steps forward in the fight against anti-Semitism, thegovernment should be criticized for not going far enough in defining the contours of anti-Semitism.
The report summarizes the UK government’s past and ongoing efforts to address five aspects of anti-Semitic activity: anti-Semitic incidents, anti-Semitic discourse, sources of contemporary anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism on campus, and addressing anti-Semitism. Furthermore, it details the UK government’s efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of hate crime prosecution, combat the use of the Internet to spread hate messages, and address anti-Semitism on school campuses.
But to assess and effectively fight anti-Semitism, it is important to define what constitutes actionable offenses; yet the report asserts the government has no intention to formally adopt the working definition it encourages other government and law enforcement agencies to adopt from the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).
The EUMC, now named Fundamental Rights Agency, is an organization that provides data on racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism in Europe, developed and disseminated a working definition of anti-Semitism in 2005. The definition included several examples of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere, as well as examples of ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel. Although EUMC’s successor agency no longer includes the definition on its website, the definition and its examples remain influential throughout the world.
We have received the following CALL FOR PAPERS which may interest our readers: International Workshop “Music as Resistance to Genocide” Organized by the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research in collaboration with the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 26 October 2015, Los Angeles, CA The Center for Advanced Genocide Research at the USC…
Blogger Glenn Greenwald vicariously shares Edward Snowden’s immortality for publishing the NSA leaks that ultimately led the ideologically-confused Snowden to become an intelligence asset of Vlad Putin. Not satisfied with this second-hand claim to fame, Greenwald then took it upon himself to repackage Snowden’s embarrassing revelations about the U.S. intelligence services into a bizarre expose…