Government-Created Anti-Semitism (Part 3)

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In a recent article written for The Tablet, Kenneth R. Timmerman said that when he traveled to Gaza, Amman, and Damascus in 1994, he kept asking Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders whether they thought the Jews had a plan to dominate the world. Timmerman recounted the enthusiastic answer one Hamas leader: “Yes, indeed. I have a copy right here.” The man then pulled down from a shelf his copy of an Arabic version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Says Timmerman: “It was a response I heard again and again.”

Why did that happen? How did a horrible anti-Semitic tract spread though the Muslim world? Once again, this was not a natural development; anti-Semitic hatred was cultivated by the Soviet government’s disinformation experts.

In 1948, when the state of Israel was re-established, Stalin hoped to fill it with Russian Jewish agents. His plan was to use them to transform Israel into a springboard from which he would launch Soviet expansion into the Middle East. In 1948, however, Golda Meir visited Moscow, and she was enthusiastically greeted by huge groups of Russian Jews. Soon, many of these Jews were promoting the idea of a mass emigration to Israel.

Government-Created Anti-Semitism (Part 2)

JewishCatholic2False accusations against Jews can lead to horrific ends, but so can false charges of anti-Semitism. The problem is that charges of anti-Semitism are almost always met with denial, and it can be difficult to separate legitimate from illegitimate claims. That makes it particularly important to expose false charges when they are uncovered. The importance is magnified when the false charges were made as part of a government plan to advance a political agenda.

Students, Professors, and Academic Freedom

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I would like to begin by thanking Ken Marcus for giving my colleague Avi Snyder and me the opportunity to guest-post for the Brandeis Center.

Avi and I work for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), a Washington, DC-based non-profit dedicated to academic freedom, academic excellence, and accountability in higher education.

Earlier this year, ACTA published Free to Teach, Free to Learn: Understanding and Maintaining Academic Freedom in Higher Education. Free to Teach integrates classic texts in the history of academic freedom—some stretching back nearly 100 years—with commentary from scholars and advocates who work on academic freedom issues. It also incorporates a series of case studies that examine particular controversies which posed challenges to advocates of academic freedom. In this way, Free to Teach aims to offer broad-based guidance to trustees, administrators, and the public on key issues related to academic freedom.

Israel Lives in a Dangerous Neighborhood, Struggles Against Terrorism and is Engaged in a Battle for Justice at the United Nations

Over the past sixty five years, Israel has faced and continues to face momentous challenges including wars, skirmishes, rocket attacks, terrorist murderous suicide bombings and assaults on her citizens, challenges to her legal status, boycotts, threats, accusations and demonization.

In the summer of 2000, Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization met at Camp David with President Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The Prime Minister offered to the Palestinians an agreement that included the establishment of the Palestinian state based on territorial borders that essentially constituted approximately 96% of the land located west of the Jordan River, known as the West Bank and included the Gaza strip on the Mediterranean.

Much to the chagrin of President Clinton and disappointment of PM Barak, Chairman Arafat did not accept the proposal and left the President and the Prime Minister essentially standing alone at Camp David.

Shortly thereafter, in late September 2000, the Palestinian uprising known as the Second Intifada commenced, bringing with it murderous suicide bombings and other attacks inside Israel, targeting busses, shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, University cafeterias and attacking people in their homes and in the streets.

In response, in order to protect her people, the Israeli government commenced construction of a terrorism prevention security fence, parts of which include concrete barriers akin to what we know as Jersey walls on our expressways, although portions are quite high and obtrusive in order to provide safety to vehicles and persons below.

This terrorism prevention security fence is called by some a “wall”; and was the centerpiece of a request of the UN General Assembly referring to the International Court of Justice a legal question worded as follows:

What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?

Brandeis Center Urges OCR to Protect Students from Religious Harassment & Bullying

Last night, the Louis D. Brandeis Center urged the Obama administration to use the Department of Education’s mandatory data-gathering program to protect religious minorities, including Jewish, Muslim and Sikh children, from harassment and bullying – just as it does for racial and ethnic minorities.  The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) had previously floated a proposal to do just that, following the Brandeis Center’s prior recommendations. But the Center also argues that more must be done to combat harassment and bullying than what OCR now proposes.

“It is imperative that OCR expand this program to include religious harassment,” the Brandeis Center told the Department in its formal comments last night.  “Indeed, it is unjustifiable that the federal government fails to collect this data when it collects data regarding other, similar forms of discrimination targeted at similar groups.”  The Center insisted however that OCR must do more than just collect data; it must also combat this harassment through its enforcement program, just as it does with other forms of discrimination.

The Education Department’s Mandatory Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) has been collecting school and district level data for over forty years and is now the biggest collection of its kind.  This data informs OCR enforcement activity as well as policy guidance for public schools.  Since 2009, OCR has collected data at the school level through the CRDC regarding harassment on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and disability.   The Brandeis Center argued that OCR must expand this program to include religious harassment and bullying.  Indeed, the Center argued that it is unjustifiable that OCR “fails to collect this data when it collects data regarding other, similar forms of discrimination targeted at similar groups.”

Religious harassment and bullying are a serious problem in the public schools, as the Center has repeatedly informed the federal government, and it is hard to address it without the kinds of data that are routinely gathered to address other forms of discrimination.  The Center told that Obama administration that it “is about time that the U.S. Department of Education takes notice of this problem.”  In its 2011 annual enforcement report, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced that, “Bullying based on students‘ religion is … a problem in America‘s schools.” The Commission documented numerous recent examples in which Muslim, Sikh and Jewish students were harassed and bullied because of their religion.  The Commission’s report was based in part on expert testimony  that Brandeis Center President Kenneth L. Marcus provided at the Commission’s public hearing.

Brandeis Center Congratulates Catherine Lhamon on Confirmation as OCR Chief

Today, the Brandeis Center congratulated Catherine Lhamon on being confirmed as the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The U.S. Senate confirmed Ms. Lhamon after President Obama nominated her earlier this year.

Ms. Lhamon has a very extensive background in civil rights. Most recently, she served as the Director of Impact Litigation at Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. Prior to that, Ms. Lhamon was at the ACLU of Southern California, where she practiced for a decade, eventually leaving as Assistant Legal Director. In an announcement, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter wrote “in those positions she has represented a broad cross section of Americans to protect fundamental rights on issues as varied as education reform, fair housing, and economic justice.” Lhamon has also taught at the Georgetown Law Center, specializing in Appellate Litigation, after having clerked for The Honorable William A. Norris of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Speech from Tammi Rossman-Benjamin will Highlight Campus Anti-Semitism

On June 30th, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin will deliver a talk at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California. Entitled “Campus and the New Anti-Semitism”, the talk will focus on “the hostile, anti-Israel climate which university students across the country are facing and the challenges of addressing campus anti-Semitism.” Rossman-Benjamin, a Brandeis Center…

The Sad Reality of Anti-Sikh Discrimination in a Post-9/11 World

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The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law has recently commended an FBI Advisory Policy Board recommendation that the agency track hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus, and Arab Americans – just as the Brandeis Center had previously urged in testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  The Brandeis Center, which is primarily focused on combating campus anti-Semitism has urged these steps to ensure proper protection for these communities, which have been increasingly vulnerable following the events of 9/11. According to LBD President Kenneth Marcus,

“federal post-9/11 outreach, policy and enforcement should always include Sikhs to the same extent as other groups. Moreover, and equally importantly, federal statistics programs should include Sikhs (and also Arabs) as a separate category, in order to track and better understand the volume of these incidents.”

Is Art Criticizing Suicide Bombers “Hate Speech”?

My second of three posts for the Brandeis Center examines the use of “hate speech” policies on college and university campuses. Specifically, I want to focus on several cases in which these policies have been used to censor or punish students and faculty for expressing speech even mildly critical of Islam. These cases demonstrate that “hate speech” policies, even if well-intentioned, are selectively applied in favor of Islam.

I’ll begin with a largely forgotten case that revolves around the story told in the video below, Portraits of Terror. The video tells the story of the artist, Joshua Stulman, whose exhibit of the same name was censored at Penn State University in 2006 by the university at the behest of two professors who claimed that the art violated Penn State’s policy against “hate speech.”

Free Speech on Campus and the Spirit of Louis Brandeis

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I was pleased earlier this year when Ken Marcus, President of the Brandeis Center, asked me to guest blog for the Brandeis Center regarding my recent book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, and my work as President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

The First Amendment and free speech has been a lifelong passion for me and the reason why I attended law school in the first place. During my time at Stanford Law School, I took every class I could on First Amendment law and completed six additional credits on the origins of the legal concept of “prior restraint” in Tudor England. In my experience, Oliver Wendell Holmes gets a lot of attention, but I believe that Louis Brandeis was the first truly great hero of freedom of speech in Supreme Court history.