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September 13, 2013

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 U.S. government doesn't enforce law protecting Jewish students By Morton A. Klein and Susan B. Tuchman With the start of a new school year, there's reason to be concerned: Anti-Semitism is a serious problem on some college campuses, causing Jewish students to feel threat- ened and even fear for their safety. Yet the U.S. govern- ment is not enforcing the law to protect them. Legal protection exists, at least in theory. After a six-year battle by ZOA and others, the U.S. Department of Educa- tion's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a 2010 policy that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act would be enforced to protect Jewish students and students of other religious/ethnic groups who are harassed at publicly-funded schools. But OCR isn't enforcing the policy, thereby undermining Jewish students' legal right to a safe and non-hostile campus environment. In one clean sweep, OCR recently dismissed three Title VI cases filed on behalf of Jew- ish students. All three relate to unrelenting anti-Semitism on University of California campuses, which university officials had largely ignored. In the case filed by the ZOA against UC Irvine, Jewish stu- dents were physically threat- ened and assaulted. One student was surrounded by Arab students who cursed and threatened, "I am going to kill you, you f__king Jewish bitch." Another Jewish stu- dent endured screams of "Go back to Russiawhere you came from," "Burn in hell," and F__king Jew." A Holocaust memorial was vandalized. Posters obscenely proclaimed that "Zionism is Nazism" and equated the Star of Davidwith the swastika. A huge sign on the main walkway said, "Is- raelis Love to Kill Innocent Children." The Israeli flag was displayed drippingwithblood. Speakers regularly vilified Jews and Israel, comparing Jews to Satan and referring to them as "the new Nazis." These anti-Semites spoke from the center of campus, their speeches amplified, so they were virtually impossible to avoid. Courageous Jewish Students came forward and described these and other horrific in- cidents to OCR investigators. Students said they were afraid to openly express they were Jewish or pro-Israel. Some stayed away from campus, feel- ing isolated, unwelcome and afraid. Two former students told OCR that they left Irvine and transferred elsewhere because they could no longer endure the hostility. Students also told OCR that they repeatedly tried to get university officials to address the problems, to no avail. One student wrote to administrators, demanding that her physical safety be pro- tected. The only official who responded suggested that she visit the counseling center, as if she were the problem! Given the evidence, it's almost impossible to under- stand how OCR could con- clude that Jewish students' right to a safe and non-hostile campus environment had not been violated. But OCR did just that, in a cursory one- page letter. OCR's contemporaneous dismissal of the Title VI cases against UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz is also troubling. At Berkeley, a Jewish student was holding a sign that said "Israel Wants Peace" when she was rammed from behind with a loaded shopping cart by someone with a known history of anti-Jewish incitement and intimidation. The student required medical attention. Jewish students were sub- jected to mock checkpoints, where anti-Israel students-- dressed as Israeli soldiers and holding fake guns (itself a legal violation)--blocked the walkway, stopping students to ask if they were Jewish before deciding whether to let them pass. Administrators took no action when Jewish students repeatedly complained about feeling threatened and afraid. At Santa Cruz, Jewish stu- dents were subjected to anti- Semitic hostility in the class- room that the university itself was promoting. Professors and academic departments funded and sponsored one- sided anti-Israel programs, and discouraged students from learning about perspectives that weren't anti-Israel. One professor violated university rules by tearing down flyers announcing an event about Palestinian children being trained as suicide bombers. Despite numerous complaints, the university refused to ad- dress the hostile environment. OCR's indifference to anti- Semitism on the UC cam- puses is a far cry from how the government has responded to incidents targeting other minorities. For instance, after acts hostile to African-Amer- icans at UC San Diego, OCR and the Justice Department initiated an investigation on their own--even though university officials had already investigated the incidents and issued public condemnations, and perpetrators were held accountable. OCR's failure to enforce Title VI to protect Jewish students may be a response to forceful pressure from outside groups who falsely claim that the rank anti-Semitism on campus is legitimate political discourse, and that enforcing Title VI to remedy a hostile en- vironment for Jewish students will unconstitutionally stifle protected speech. Let us be clear that Title VI is not being used to silence criticism of Israel. Students are complaining about threats and assaults, about vandal- ism, and about the promotion of Nazi-like propaganda lies about Jews and Israel, inside and outside the classroom. Students object to denials of Israel's right to exist and calls for its destruction. These are all manifestations of anti-Semitism, according to the U.S. government's own standards. Let us also be clear that no one is calling for the suppres- sion of free speech. We have consistently urged university officials to exercise their own free speech rights to publicly condemn anti-Semitic inci- dents, as well as the perpetra- tors. We know from years of working with Jewish students that their colleges' silence in response to anti-Semitism is as hurtful as the anti-Semitism itself, because itsends the mes- sage that demonizing Jews and Israel is acceptable and will be tolerated. Our government seems to have abandoned Jewish students. Contact your rep- resentatives in Congress, who oversee OCR. They should be demanding that OCR take campus anti-Semitism seri- ously and vigorously enforce Title VI, so that publicly- funded colleges will no longer tolerate the ugly environment harming Jewish students. Morton A. Klein is the na- tional president of the Zionist Organization of America and Susan B. Tuchman is the di- rector of the Center for Law and Justice, Zionist Organiza- tion of America Jewish groups back Obama on Syria, but downplay Israel angle By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)-- Jewish groups backing Presi- dent Obama's call to strike Syria militarily are citing moral outrage and U.S. na- tional security as primary considerations, but concern for Israel--however muted-- also looms large in their thinking. A lingering sensitivity over misrepresentations of the role of the pro-Israel community in the lead-up to the Iraq War in 2003 kept Jewish groups from weighing in on Syria until it was clear that Presi- dent Obama was determined to strike. Now that same sensitivity is leading them to downplay any mention of Israel. Officials of the Conference of Presidents of Major Ameri- can Jewish Organizations, finishing up a conference call Tuesday afternoon with top security advisers to Obama, waited until the White House stafferswere off the call before urging constituent organiza- tions not to make their state- ments "Israel-centric." Notably, Israel was not mentioned in any of the three statements that emerged immediately following the conference call, which was convened to solidify support for Obama's call for a strike. The statements--from the American Israel PublicAffairs Committee and the Anti-Def- amation League as well as the Presidents Conference--only alluded to Israel. "America's allies and ad- versaries are closely wtch- ing the outcome of this momentous vote," the AIPAC statement said. "This criti- cal decision comes at a time when Iran is racing toward obtaining nuclear capabil- ity. Failure to approve this resolution would weaken our country's credibility to pre- vent the use and proliferation of unconventional weapons and thereby greatly endanger our country's security and interests and those of our regional allies." The statements focused on the need to contain a nation that has crossed a red line by using chemical weapons against its citizens. "Those who perpetuate such acts of wanton murder must know that they cannot do so with impunity," the Presidents Conference state- ment said. "Those who pos- sess or seek weapons of mass destruction, particularly Iran and Hezbollah, must see that there is accountability." Israel nonetheless loomed large in an off-the-record con- ference call between Jewish officials and two of Obama's top national security ad- visers. One Jewish official asked whether the United States would assist militarily should Syria attack Israel. (The answer: Yes, but it is the U.S. assessment that Syrian President Bashar Assad is not that reckless.) One of the White House of- ficials repeatedly emphasized that acting to keep Syria from using chemical weapons was a critical step to keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The vocal support of Ameri- can Jews comes as Obama ramps up efforts to win congressional support for a military strike. On Tuesday, the president met with top congressional officials and repeated his appeal to support limited strikes on Syria to degrade its chemical weapons capability. Over the weekend, Obama said he would seek approval of Congress before ordering a strike. "This is a limited, propor- tional step that will send a clear message not only to the Assad regime, but also to other countries that may be interested in testing some of these international norms, that there are conse- quences," Obama said before the meeting. Syria on page 15A Study finds American Jews among most generous to both secular and Jewish causes community is a key predictor of giving to all causes, not just Jewish ones Jumpstart released Con- nected to Give: Key Findings Today, the first in a series of reports detailing the giving habits and motivations of American Jews across all ages, economic groups and geog- The first comprehensive nationwide study of Jewish and religious giving, "Con- nected to Give," finds that so- cial engagement with Jewish / Your00in Orlando Real Estate!!!! + ':: Over 25 years Residential Real Estate Sales experience Over $200 Million+ Lifetime Sales GALE MILGRIM, P.A., Realtor 4O7-443-9832 Visit To read my Glowing Client Testimonials and my BIO.t!Lt. t Member Congregation Ohev Shalom Parent of 2 Jewish Academy Alumni Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando Supporter REAL ES"IATE SERVICES raphies. Findings are based on a survey of nearly 3,000 American Jewish households plus 2,000 households from other religious groups, as well as qualitative data from focus groups and ethnographic research. "Conventional wisdom says that fundraising from Jewish donors is a zero-sum competi- tion, with Jewish and secular causes fighting over smaller pieces of a shrinking pie," said Shawn Landres, co-founder of Jumpstart, the philanthropic research and design lab that spearheaded the project. "Connected to Give chal- lenges that assumption and shows us that the stronger a person's Jewish community connections, the more she or he gives to all causes, and the larger the pie becomes." The research team for Con- nected to Give includes the In- diana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, GBA Strategies, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion faculty--including Professor Steven M. Cohen, and researchers from Ford- ham University. Indiana's approach and methodology is considered the gold standard in philanthropy research, and Cohen is widely regarded as one of the field's leading researchers in Jewish demog- raphy and identity. According to Jeffrey R. Solomon, president of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Foundation, and co-founder of Connected to Give, the report offers critical new insight on Jewish giving. "This has never been done before," he said. "We've been dependent on anecdotal experience and assumptions about compari- sons with research on other donors to different organiza- tions. This is the first-ever scientificstudy of Jewish phil- anthropic behavior across the board," said Solomon. "This research has the po- tential to transform the way we look at charitable giving by religious households," said Professor Una Osili, director of research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. "Connected to Give documents the sig- nificance of religious identity not just for giving to religious purposes, but also for giving to secular purposes, such as basic needs, health care, and the environment." Osili also noted that Con- nected to Give challenges expert assumptions about which Jewish donors drive the results. "Few would have expected that the lowest- income Jewish households play an important role in charitable giving. These and other findings open important new questions about how we understand religion and charitable giving," she said. The next in the series of Connected to Give reportswill focus on planned giving, with subsequent reports planned on congregational giving, giving circles, and more. Connected to Give is funded and led by a national collab- orative consortium of more than a dozen independent, family and community foun- dations and organizations.