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LDB Pleased to Participate in Civil Society Consultations

July 29, 2016

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) submitted a statement to several federal agencies as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Civil Society Consultation process, urging officialsto more effectively address campus anti-Semitism. This is a key component of LDB’s participation in the upcoming series of Civil Society Consultations, which are hosted on behalf of various federal agencies to ensure the implementation of recommendations from the United States’ 2015 Universal Periodic Review before the United Nations Human Rights Council. Anne Crowell, an LDB Civil Rights Legal Fellow, is scheduled to speak at three of the consultations. LDB, a national civil rights organization, is best known for its work fighting anti-Semitism in higher education.

The UPR, created in 2006 by the U.N. General Assembly, is a process in which the human rights records of all U.N. Member States are examined and reviewed. This process provides an opportunity for all Member States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their respective countries, as well as to overcome challenges to human rights. During the process, the country under review receives recommendations to improve its human rights record from other U.N. Member States. After receiving recommendations through the UPR process, the United States is now calling on major civil society organizations like the Brandeis Center to provide advice to the federal government on how to implement key recommendations.

LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus commented, “It is important that federal agencies including the State Department, Justice Department, and Department of Homeland Security are listening to the feedback that civil society organizations like the Brandeis Center have to offer when it comes to implementing the UPR recommendations. We are pleased to have been invited to participate in this process and delighted that Civil Rights Legal Fellow Anne Crowell will lead LDB’s engagement with this process and draw the government’s attention to the ongoing problem of campus anti-Semitism.”

In addition to yesterday’s statement, LDB also issued a statement last week for another upcoming Civil Society Consultation on the topic of religious accommodations for prisoners. Although LDB’s primary focus is campus anti-Semitism, Mr. Marcus has previously testified on the subject of religious discrimination against Muslim prisoners.

LDB’s full statement on campus anti-Semitism can be found below.

Statement in Advance of the UPR Consultation on August 4, 2016
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
July 28, 2016

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) is an independent, unaffiliated, nonprofit corporation established to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all. LDB is principally focused on fighting anti-Semitism on American college and university campuses. Our work includes combating the spread of hate crimes motivated by anti-Semitism and other forms of religious or ethnic discrimination, especially on the college campus. In the upcoming UPR Consultation on civil rights and discrimination related to law enforcement, we would like to bring particular attention to the issue of religiously and ethnically motivated discrimination and hate crimes.

A 2014 report by LDB and Trinity College found that 54% of Jewish students had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism on their college campuses during the last academic year. This overall prevalence of campus anti-Semitism puts Jewish students at risk of discrimination and anti-Semitic hate crimes. We believe that, in addition to action at the university level, the federal government has a vital role to play in preventing discrimination and hate crimes and ensuring accountability when they do occur. To this end, we have encouraged the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to take a more active role in investigating and protecting against anti-Semitic and other religiously and ethnically motivated hate crimes on campus. In addition, we have called for the Department of Education, along with other federal agencies, to adopt the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, which clarifies when anti-Israelism and anti-Zionism cross the line into anti-Semitism.

UPR Recommendation 131 calls for the United States to “Continue to take strong actions, including appropriate judicial measures, to counter all forms of discrimination and hate crimes, in particular those based on religion and ethnicity.” Additional UPR recommendations call for similar action. We believe that continuing to take strong action is essential to the federal government’s approach in combating anti-Semitic discrimination and hate crimes.

We look forward to discussing this important issue in greater detail at the consultation.
   


 
 
 
 
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Research Articles
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Over 50% of Jewish American college students report that they experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism on their campuses during the 2013-2014 academic year. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has announced that campus anti-Semitism “is a serious problem which warrants further attention.” Campus anti-Semitism can include subjecting Jewish students to different treatment, harassment, violence or a hostile environment. In some cases, campus anti-Semitism is related to anti-Israel sentiment. In other cases, it is not. For most purposes, we define anti-Semitism according to the U.S. Department of State definition of anti-Semitism. .
 
 
 
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David E. Bernstein
David E. Bernstein is Foundation Professor at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia, where he has been teaching since 1995, interspersed with visiting appointments at the Georgetown, Michigan, and Brooklyn law schools.
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