The thing I am thinking is that the Jewish faith has a strong tradition of ethical and moral teachings based on being a people of the Book. This evidences itself in their actions and thought in connection with the subject of bullying Jewish students on American campus and their way to legal redress by Title VI, Civil Rights Act.
Interview and article by Peter Menkin
INTRODUCTION BY THE RELIGION WRITER PETER MENKIN TO THE SERIES
The multi part series I’ve been working on since July, 2012 came to an end in November, 2012. I expect to continue to post this series on the Jewish community’s complaint regarding bullying Jewish Students on University Campuses, and the new use of Title VI 1964 Civil Rights action to effect this problem of bullying students on University campuses. This standpoint of a large if not majority segment of the established Jewish Community in the United States is a report on a given point of view that finds Israel part of this conversation and also the point of view this behavior represents anti-Semitism.
This introduction to the fourth of an going series of six or more interviews, each with Addendum consisting of relevant documents on the matter of bullying Jewish Students and the use of Title VI of the Civil Rights act of 1964 in finding redress is an indication of the more strident and tense situation regarding bullying Jewish students on American campuses. This interview is the fourth of the series and is held with Kenneth L. Marcus, President and General Counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law The conversation via land-line phone from my home office in Mill Valley, California was made to his office in Washington, D.C.by me, Peter Menkin.
… a collection of voices in interview from American Jewish Community regarding the real concern by them of bullying Jewish students on some University campuses plays a significant role in unmasking anti-Israel actions and behavior as anti-Semitism. That is the Jewish Community thesis and argument brought to legal remedy through Federal Law that is the theme of this series. The basis for this kind of hate and anti-Semitism, bad behavior at best and hateful activity at worst, is evident in the practiced belief that Zionism is an evil belief by those whose actions show them as performing the Jewish bullying.Post note as reflection on the series so far: The thing I am thinking is that the Jewish faith has a strong tradition of ethical and moral teachings based on being a people of the Book. This evidences itself in their actions and thought in connection with the subject of bullying Jewish students on American campus and their way to legal redress by Title VI, Civil Rights Act.
INTERVIEW WITH KENNETH L. MARCUS
What others say about
Jewish Identity and Civil Rights in America
“Kenneth L. Marcus is one of the most important new
voices in civil rights policy to come along in many
years. He combines the brilliance of a great lawyer, the
flair of a compelling writer, and the tenacity of a policymaker
who has spent many years battling in the trenches….”
Abigail Thernstrom, Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
When I first arrived at the Federal Office of education in 2002, the unspoken policy of Civil Rights was it would not extend civil rights protections to Jewish students. The reason was that Federal Civil Rights statutes prohibited discrimination in Federally Funded Education Programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability or membership in certain patriotic youth activities. However, the applicable law strangely enough did not prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion. At the time Office of Civil Rights (OCR) took the position that Jews were only a religious group, and therefore did not enjoy civil rights protection under these laws. When I headed OCR in 2004, I issued a new policy, which provided that Jews, Sikhs, and other groups could enjoy civil rights protection when they suffered ethnic discrimination, even though these groups also share religions. During my time at OCR I don’t believe I was called upon to apply this new rule to the so-called “new” anti-Semitism. However, I have written about this issue extensively since I left public service.
- 1. You have a background in Civil Rights and your current work is involved with Civil Rights as they relate to the Jewish American Community, in specific, the academic and school life of Jewish students on American campuses. Speak to us some about your own history in developing legal action when it comes to the realities of Jewish bullying on campuses, and the parallel “new” anti-Semitism” towards these students that is framed in anti-Israel argument and activities—especially on campuses. I am hoping you will introduce readers to your work through your answer.
The U.S. Supreme Court in two cases has held that race discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of ethnic or ancestral heritage. In this sense, ethnic discrimination against Jews or Sikhs may be considered to violate the statutory prohibition of racial discrimination. The Supreme Court rather than in deciding whether Jews are a racial group, instead focused on the statutory ways in which the term is used.
There is no question that criticism of Israel, per se, is neither anti-Semitism nor violation of civil rights laws. However there have been many situations in which anti-Jewish animus have mingled with hostility towards Israel. In some cases, criticism of Zionism has been coded language for anti-Jewish sentiment, moreover on many occasions anti-Israel activists have crossed the line into overt anti-Semitism. This is not always illegal, nor should it be. But there are some extreme cases where a hostile environment for Jewish students has formed. Hostile environment is a legal terms; Some anti-Jewish sentiment is sometimes hate, but in some cases it is not illegal but protected by First Amendment rights.
- 2. In a report published in July, 2012 called, “University of California Jewish Student Campus Climate Fact-Finding Team Report & Recommendations,” many of the issues your Center raises are named and reported on. I’ve attached a copy of the report, available here, also, so you can tell us where there are similarities in your findings, and comment on the report in general. This Religion Writer hopes you will also remark on some of the position of your Center itself on these issues, and tell readers how they may contact you by email.
I founded the Louis D. Brandeis Center to combat anti-Semitism in higher education. The Brandies Center is a nonprofit, organization that is not associated with Brandeis University or other organizations named after Louis D. Brandeis all over the country.
I think it is an excellent report, for quite some time UC President Mark Yudof has said he would respond… … it is a very balanced report that I think did very well in addressing anti-Semitism at the University of California. The report does a very conscientious job of all of the ways the University of California is an excellent place for Jewish students to study. I myself am an Alumnus of University of California school of law. The report also documents anti-Semitism at the University of California. The report is a system-wide document that writes about many problems at the University of California.
I agree with some of the recommendations of the committee report. I think University of California needs to define anti-Semitism in general. I do not believe they must ban all hate speech for that would be a First Amendment problem.
One thing I’ve learned if you are working in the field of civil rights and everyone agrees with you, you are not doing the job. We aren’t talking about every criticisms of Israel. There are many that are illogical. We are talking about anti-Jewish activities where anti-Israel conduct or speech is used as a code or guise of anti-Jewish conduct or speech.
My book, “Jewish Identity and Civil Rights in America,” published by Cambridge University Press, 2010 is available through Amazon.com or Cambridge, New York: http://www.cambridge.org/us/knowledge/isbn/item3779789/?site_locale=en_US
—I explain [in the document “Jewish Identity and Civil Rights in America,” that some forms of anti-Israeli [statements or actions] are anti-Semitic and some aren’t. There are numerous authorities who show how to distinguish the differences. The US Department of Civil Rights has adopted one standard that is useful and authoritative. It is the same as the UC study has found and should be adopted by the UC campus: It is sometimes called the EUMC Working Definition. It provides numerous working examples. Generally speaking our actions may presumptively be considered anti-Semitic when they are based on classic anti-Jewish stereotypes, or when they hold Israel to double standards, or when they hold Jews collectively responsible. Or perceived Israeli wrongdoing.
My website has the EUMC Working Definition under http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/material/pub/AS/AS-WorkingDefinition-draft.pdf
I created the Louis B Brandeis Center because I perceived the situation for Jewish students was getting worse. I did not want to wake up ten years later and find that American campuses were like the French campuses are today, or that French campuses had reached the extent that the Egyptian campuses had reached today.
I agree with the Campus Climate committee that it is important for University of California Universities to strive for hate free campuses. The problem is that the First Amendment prevents public universities from banning some forms of hate. So I think it is proper for the University to discourage hate speech in lots of different ways… If not through outright prohibition.
- 3. Here are two quotes from the report: (1) While many campuses have adopted hate-free campaigns or issued commitments affirming the free and open exchange of ideas while maintaining a civil and supportive community, UC does not have a hate-free policy that allows the campus to prevent well-known bigoted and hate organizations from speaking on campus (aside for time, place, and manner provisions), such as the KKK. UC should push its current harassment and nondiscrimination provisions further, clearly define hate speech in its guidelines, and seek opportunities to prohibit hate speech on campus. The President should request that General Counsel examine opportunities to develop policies that give campus administrators authority to prohibit such activities on campus. The Team recognizes that changes to UC hate speech policies may result in legal challenge, but offer that UC accept the challenge. (2) Jewish students at all campuses were clear that the most pervasive negative issue impacting their daily experiences on campus were intergroup challenges related to political disagreements about the State of Israel and Palestine. Students indicated that while generally the campuses are thriving environments supportive of Jewish student life, fear and intimidation were an annual occurrence around student events such as Palestinian and Israel/Jewish awareness and activism weeks. While sometimes uneasy tension was impactful on all campuses, it should be stressed that not one Jewish student indicated that they perceive the Jewish student community as physically unsafe at UC. Do you think that this issue is resolvable through legal action such as Civil Rights Title VI, and significantly on what basis do Jewish students qualify for such remedial legal action under the Civil Rights Act? Who is going to do the enforcing, and how where does it start? By the way, I have taken the quotes used in this question out of context.
Title VI doesn’t require or even permit University to ban hate speech. It does require them to prompt and effective action when students are harassed, or when a hostile environment is formed. Unfortunately, some administrators think that the First Amendment gives them an excuse to do nothing when students are subjected to hate speech, or even vandalism. That’s just not the case; there is never an excuse for them to do nothing.
- 4. Thank you for taking time to talk with readers about this important issue of Jewish Bullying on American campuses, one that has been problematic in many respects for resolution. You have talked about your work in the area of Civil Rights. Please add anything that may have been missed or that you want to add at this time.
The Louis D. Brandeis Center website [www.brandeiscenter.com ] ]talks a lot about when it is appropriate to sue and when it is appropriate. We are supportive of administrations that sincerely want to solve these [related problems] … One of our purposes now is to support campuses that want to make their campuses better.
There are lots of different community organizations that are working on this problem. They are local and regional organization like Anti-Defamation League and The American Jewish Committee, The David Project, Zionist Organization of America, and Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. All of these community organizations have important roles. Our niche at the Louis D Brandeis center is our expertise in Civil Rights and Higher Education Law.
Email the Brandeis Center regarding individual persons problems with the issues outlined in this interview: Info@brandeiscenter.com .
We have tried to turn our website, www.brandeiscenter.com into a repository of all kinds of information, scholarship, writing and other material on campus anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. I hope it can be a resource for students, scholars, writers and anyone else who is concerned about this issue.
FROM THE BRANDEIS CENTER WEBSITE: WHO IS KENNETH L. MARCUS
Kenneth L. Marcus is President and General Counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and author of the award-winning Jewish Identity and Civil Rights in America (New York: Cambridge University Press: 2010). Marcus founded the Brandeis Center in 2011 to combat the resurgence of anti-Semitism in American higher education. In November 2012, Marcus was named to the Forward 50, the Jewish Daily Forward’s listing of the “American Jews who made the most significant impact on the news in the past year.” The Forward described its 50 honorees as “the new faces of Jewish power,” predicting that “if Marcus has any say in it, we may witness a new era of Jewish advocacy.” During his public service career, Marcus served as Staff Director at the United States Commission on Civil Rights and was delegated the authority of Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights and Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. Shortly before his departure from the Civil Rights Commission, the Wall Street Journal observed that “the Commission has rarely been better managed,” and that it “deserves a medal for good governance.” For his work in government, Marcus was named the first recipient of the Justice and Ethics Award for Outstanding Work in the Field of Civil Rights. Marcus also serves as Associate Editor of the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism and Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Antisemitism. Marcus previously held the Lillie and Nathan Ackerman Chair in Equality and Justice in America at the City University of New York’s Bernard M. Baruch College School of Public Affairs (2008-2011) and was Chair of the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East Legal Task Force. Before entering public service, Mr. Marcus was a litigation partner in two major law firms, where he conducted complex commercial and constitutional litigation. He publishes frequently in academic journals as well as in more popular venues such as Commentary, The Weekly Standard, and The Christian Science Monitor. Mr. Marcus is a graduate of Williams College, magna cum laude, and the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.
REPRINT BY PERMISSION BY RESEARCHER-AUTHOR ARYEH WEINBERG ON CURRENT SITUATION IN HIS OPINION AND OBSERVATION
|California Campus Conundrum: UC Rejects Both CA Assembly and UC Task-Force Recommendations on Campus Anti-Semitism By Aryeh Weinberg, Institute for Jewish & Community Research September 7, 2012The past month has seen a great deal of activity in California regarding anti-Semitism on college campuses. The University of California Jewish Student Campus Climate Fact-Finding Team issued a report detailing the results of investigatory visits to six UC campuses, including eight recommendations for reform. This report was followed by the passing of California Assembly HR35, recognizing extensive documentation of hostility toward Jewish students over the past decade and urging more decisive action by UC administrators. Neither report is binding and the University of California has stated that it will not support the recommendations.Not surprisingly, the sticking points in both reports are recommendations that the UC believes infringe upon free speech. The UC fact-finding team calls for a “hate-speech free campus policy,” while HR35 urges administrators to ensure no “public resources will be allowed to be used for anti-Semitic or any intolerant agitation.” Concerns over the recommendations are vociferously seconded by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a first amendment legal defense organization with a strong record of litigation against university speech codes and restrictions. Moreover, diversity of opinion within the Jewish student community, as stated in the UC report multiple times, complicates any efforts to protect Jews on campus since it is no secret that some Jewish students may be actively involved in anti-Israel activities that are cited as a primary forum for anti-Semitic expression and intimidation of Jewish students. Some of these Jewish students have spoken out against the findings.Is the UC rejection of key recommendations a loss for advocates of campus reform? In short, no. The recommendations are, in fact, not the most important aspects of either the fact-finding report or HR35. The findings of the UC report are extensive, reasoned and accurate. They detail an underlying sense of isolation and unfair treatment of Jewish concerns on campus while recognizing the diversity of opinion among Jewish students. HR35 recognizes and affirms the most important governmental statements, findings and resolutions, both within the US government and abroad, including Institute for Jewish & Community Research testimony in front of the US Commission on Civil Rights. The most important and valuable contributions from the UC report and Assembly resolution is the affirmation of the problem of campus anti-Semitism as well as recognition of the need for ameliorative action.As much as it may seem to hinder the options available to the Jewish community, bans on “hate-speech” and restrictions on public funding for “any intolerant agitation” are just as likely, if not more, to be wielded against pro-Israel advocates as they would anti-Israel activists. The UC fact-finding team found that the main problems facing Jewish students are a sense of isolation, double standards and more generally, a lack of support from other segments of the campus community. IJCR research offered similar findings in Alone on the Quad, which reported that over 40% of Jewish students are aware of anti-Semitism on their campus but that few non-Jewish students shared their concerns over anti-Jewish bias.In contrast, IJCR research showed that a broad spectrum of student groups shared concerns over anti-Christian bias with Christians and over anti-Muslim bias with Muslims. Jewish students are largely alone on campus in the fight against anti-Semitism. Given this scenario, it is likely that the interpretation of what constitutes “hate-speech” and “intolerant agitation” will reflect the concerns of the majority of students who do not recognize anti-Semitism on campus, rather than the minority of Jewish students who do. In this scenario, as FIRE warns, the group intended to be protected may actually be harmed.The primary problem is not a lack of ability on the part of university administrators, but the reluctance to take a clear stand. The pressure is increasing on administrators to use the many tools already available to them to curtail intolerance and hostility on campuses. The fight against campus anti-Semitism is not about absolute wins, or a quick fix. It is about upholding norms against intolerance and demanding leadership. When the university rejects a recommendation, or even when a legal case is dismissed, these do not represent losses. The goal is to continually ratchet up the pressure on administrators until rejection of anti-Semitism is as second nature to administrators as rejection of racism, sexism and homophobia. Universities do a sufficient job on those fronts with their current structures and, to a certain degree, recommending new policies to combat anti-Semitism validates the excuse that they do not have the capability to confront it now. They certainly do and they should not be let off the hook so easy.|
In memory of Dr. Gary A. Tobin z”l. Copyright © 2012 Institute for Jewish and Community Research. All rights reserved
REPRINT BY PERMISSION OF COMMENTARY MAGAZINE OF KENNETH L. MARCUS ARTICLE
Introduction: The following reprint from an article written by Ken Marcus for Commentary magazine appeared September, 2010 and a central point of the piece is that Office of Civil Rights make some important changes in their policy regarding campus bullying of Jewish students. This bullying especially so on University of California at Irvine. The matter is one of redress. The Office of Civil Rights did make the changes requested by Ken Marcus in his article. Redress at UCI has not occurred, though. Further, in a telephone conversation with Ken Marcus, he told this Religion Writer that the article, “A Blind Eye to Campus Anti-Semitism remains relevant and timely today in 2012, two years after the Commentary article by Kenneth L. Marcus.
A Blind Eye to Campus Anti-Semitism?
Kenneth L. Marcus
This two paragraph reprint from the article’s beginning granted by Commentary magazine. The full article is found here.
During the first years of the 21st century, the virus of anti-Semitism was unleashed with a
vengeance in Irvine, California. There, on the campus of the University of California at
Irvine, Jewish students were physically and verbally harassed, threatened, shoved,
stalked, and targeted by rock-throwing groups and individuals. Jewish property was
defaced with swastikas, and a Holocaust memorial was vandalized. Signs were posted on
campus showing a Star of David dripping with blood. Jews were chastised for arrogance
by public speakers whose appearance at the institution was subsidized by the university.
They were called “dirty Jew” and “fucking Jew,” told to “go back to Russia” and “burn in
hell,” and heard other students and visitors to the campus urge one another to “slaughter
the Jews.” One Jewish student who wore a pin bearing the flags of the United States and
Israel was told to “take off that pin or we’ll beat your ass.” Another was told, “Jewish
students are the plague of mankind” and “Jews should be finished off in the ovens.”
When complaints were lodged over these incidents, which took place in 2003 and 2004,
the university responded either with relative indifference or with little urgency. But when
the federal government was asked in 2004 to intervene to deal with incidents that its own
investigators had determined to be clear-cut violations of the civil rights of Irvine’s
Jewish students, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights failed to
prosecute a single case. Indeed, it has finally become clear that the current policy of the
office charged with enforcing civil rights at American universities involves treating anti-
Jewish bias as being unworthy of attention—a state of affairs in stark contrast to the
agency’s quite justified alacrity in responding to virtually every other possible case of
discrimination. While one cannot identify the motive for this astonishing double standard
with complete certainty, the justification for it involves an unwillingness to treat Jews as
a distinct group beyond considerations of religious adherence.
Faced with the demand to address anti-Semitic actions verified by its own investigators,
the federal government passed on prosecution because it was unable to define the group
that was the victim of the assault. Washington found itself unable to answer the question
“Who is a Jew?”
The lack of a coherent legal conception of Jewish identity has rendered the Office for
Civil Rights (henceforth, OCR) unable to cope with a resurgence of anti–Semitic
incidents on American college campuses, of which the Irvine situation is enragingly
emblematic. The problem stems from the fact that federal agents have jurisdiction under
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act over race and national-origin discrimination—but not
over religion. And because they have been unable to determine whether Jewish
Americans constitute a race or a national-origin group, they found themselves unable to
address the anti-Semitism at UC-Irvine. This confusion has led to enforcement paralysis
as well as explosive confrontations and recriminations within the agency.
NOTES FROM A TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WITH LISA ARMONY OF THE ROSE PROJECT, JEWISH FEDERATION OF ORANGE COUNTY
From a Jewish perspective at University California Irvine (UCI) Jewish students do quite well in terms of level of security and confidence. Expresssed concern regarding Arab-Israel conflict and the week long Muslim student event in the past meant Jewish students felt threatened from policy concern to its change to anti-Semitism. Jewish students want the campus to be more forthright in terms of these events.
[The Rose Project has been quite successful in mending and quieting these hostilities and concerns thorugh Jewish Community work with the rest of the Community in the Irvine area and UCI, Lisa Armoni reports.] At UC Irvine, in the past two years the climate has been really calm. There had been a history of hostile climate on campus. Since the afternoon of the Michael Oren incident, it’s calmed down. We’re seeing the tenor of anti-Israel activity has calmed down; it is not as vitriolic…as in the past. We are really seeing some dialogue today, so it is marked improvement from three years ago. [Note that Kenneth L. Marcus has told this Religion Writer just this latter part of November, 2012, that to date redress for the problems of anti-Semitism and what Lisa Armoni characterized as vitriolic activity, has not been satisfied. In Ken Marcus’ opinion and by the facts he holds, the Civil Rights attorney says that the attitude and practices of the University of California Irvine administration remains the same as before the year 2012. In a sense, this Religion Writer notes two observations: (1) Community work by both the Campus Community and its larger Community can and has in this case calmed the incidences themselves down; (2) The necessity under law as Kenneth Marcus argues for the Administration and University to change their ways of dealing with this issues, ways of allowing hateful speech, and related matters of both action and policy have not changed.
If readers wish to learn more of The Rose Project of Jewish Federation of Orange County in being successful in their work to calm the atmosphere and acts involved in these matters of bullying Jewish Students on campus, or simply reach Lisa Armoni, this is her email: email@example.com
She says, in that same statement regarding the current situation at UCI, the office of the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor have been much more aware of what’s been going on on campus–of radical anti- Israel activity. The effort behind it has been to delegitimize Israel. That’s been the Rose project.
The Rose project is a division of Jewish Federation in Orange County, a unique project to us established in 2008 because of UCI. The climate has been very hostile to Israel. Our Board consists of key stake holders in Orange County: Jeffrey Margolis, James Weiss, M.D.
STATEMENT BY THE ROSE PROJECT
The Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County emerged from the need for a strong, unified, local initiative to counter uncivil, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic discourse taking place at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). With concern over efforts to delegitimize Israel rising within Southern California’s Jewish community, the Rose Project Leadership Council first convened in 2008 to establish a strategic framework and comprehensive response, with the goals of creating a more respectful campus environment and a robust support network for UCI’s Jewish students.
We engage in open, constructive dialogue with university administrators and provide Jewish students the best Israel education and advocacy training opportunities available. At the same time, we invest heavily in Jewish student life, working with Jewish campus organizations to create a rich environment where students can explore and deepen their Jewish and pro-Israel identities through a wide range of social, political, religious, spiritual and cultural experiences. Finally, we engage the broader community on issues pertaining to Israel in order to create an informed public with a sense of connectedness to the Jewish state.
Together with our regional and national partners, the Rose Project has radically changed campus dynamics in Orange County by developing a vibrant, multi-lateral dialogue among students, university leadership and administrators and community stakeholders.
EXCERPT FROM REPORT ON UNIVERSITY OF IRVINE ISSUES REGARDING BULLYING JEWISH STUDENTS, ANTI-SEMITISM, ANTI-ZIONISM ON CAMPUS
TASK FORCE ON ANTI-SEMITISM AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE
Over the past several years there have been a growing number of reports from
Jewish and non Jewish students at The University of California, Irvine (UCI)
alleging anti-Semitism on campus and biased treatment by certain University
officials. These allegations are summarized as follows:
1. Jewish students have been subject to physical and verbal harassment
because they are Jewish and support Israel;
2. Hate speech, both direct and symbolic, is directed at Jews by speakers
3. An annual week-long event sponsored by the Muslim Student Union is an
anti-Semitic hate fest targeting Israel and Jews using lies and propaganda
dating back to the anti-Semitism of the Middle Ages;
4. Speakers who are pro-Israel and/or those who condemn speakers who
espouse anti-American and anti-Israeli views are subject to disruptive
behavior by Muslim students and their supporters;
5. Jewish students claim they are subject to a hostile class environment by
faculty members who adopt an anti-Israel bias;
6. Materials contained in certain Middle-East Studies courses are biased and
are indicative of a “leftist” orthodoxy that characterizes this area of study;
7. The UCI administration is not responsive to complaints by Jewish
8. Jewish students complain of a “double standard” when the administration
enforces campus rules and regulations.
The Task Force on Anti-Semitism at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) was
formed by the Hillel Foundation of Orange County in December 2006.1 The Task
Force charge was to investigate the alleged anti-Semitism at the University.
According to Hillel’s executive Director: “Our Goal is to find out what’s out
there…Clearly there is enough information coming my way that we felt this is an
important step to be taken. ”2
The Task Force members decided to prepare a report with findings and
recommendations at its initial meeting. Hillel was not to exercise editorial control
of the report. In August 2007, Hillel of Orange County stated to the press that it
no longer wished to sponsor the Task Force, because it was “not integral to its
mission.” Given the volume of data and testimony collected, the Task Force
decided that the effort to date was too extensive and would continue with the
process and expand its membership by adding distinguished Jewish and non-
Jewish members of the community.
This Report is intended to present a fair-minded account of the circumstances
surrounding the events at UCI.
The Task Force was broken down into working committees. The Interview
Committee identified prospective interviewees, arranged for, and scheduled
interviews. Interview records were kept, either in transcript form or on tape.
Task Force members attended many events at UCI and in the community and
numerous documents were reviewed and analyzed in preparation of this Report.
The Public Relations Committee handled inquiries and interacted with the press.
The Task Force attempted to interview all participating and interested parties as
reasonably practical. They can be categorized as UCI students, faculty, and
administrators, interested members of the community, including an elected
representative, and leaders of Jewish Organizations. Chancellor Drake was
twice invited to be interviewed. The first letter was sent March 12, 2007. No
response was received to the first inquiry. The second letter was hand-delivered
to the Chancellors Office on May 10, 2007. Invitations to testify were sent to
1 The word anti-Semitism is spelled by some major Jewish organizations “antisemitism.” The
standard dictionary spelling anti-Semitism will be used throughout this report.
2 Michael Miller, “Group to Probe Anti-Semitism,” Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, CA., February 15,
Vice Chancellor Manuel N. Gomez and Dean of Students, Sally K. Peterson on
May 7, 2007. Both letters were received by the University on May 8, 2007.
University Counsel, Diane Fields Geocaris, responded on June 15, 2007 stating:
“…UC Irvine officials are unable to participate in your investigation. Individuals
who have an affiliation with UC Irvine may choose to participate; however, they
are not authorized to speak on behalf of the University and their comments
should not be taken as the position of the University.” 3 Geocaris further
indicated that “The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is
investigating allegations of anti-Semitism at UC Irvine, and that investigation is
still pending. UC Irvine cannot take any action that may, or appears to, interfere
with the federal investigation. Moreover, we believe that these issues should be
determined in an official forum that is required to respect the due process and
privacy rights of all parties and witnesses involved.”4
On September 12, 2007, an invitation letter was sent to the spokesperson for the
Muslim Student Union at UCI. There was no response to that invitation; however,
she made the following statement to the Press when asked about the invitation:
“We think that this is an attempt to shut down free speech and is an intimidation
Interviews commenced in February 2007. Approximately 80 hours were spent on
interviews and countless hours of reviewing interviews for inclusion in this report.
In addition, to Task Force members observing programs on campus first hand,
many documents found on the internet and in hard copy, were reviewed both in
preparation for the interviews and in writing this Report.
Almost all of the interviews were electronically taped with the permission of the
interviewee. In those cases where interviewees did not wish to be taped, Task
Force members respected these requests and took hand written notes. In a few
instances individuals who testified did not want their names revealed. The Task
Force redacted all interviewee names in this Report; however, testimony tapes
were retained to support references contained herein.
ASSUMPTIONS AND DEFINITIONS
The following parameters were used to assist in the construct and in the analysis
of data presented herein:
Those who have the privilege of living in the United States enjoy rights of
Freedom of Speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as
further interpreted by the United States Supreme Court. Any proscription of
3 Letter from Diane Fields Geocaris, Chief Campus Council, University of California, Irvine, June
5 Joseph Serna, “Tapings OK for UCI talks,” Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, October 19, 2007.
speech or an attempt to force anyone to stop speaking as they choose, even if it
is hate speech, is unacceptable.
Presidents and Chancellors of public colleges and universities have an obligation
to establish an environment for education at their institutions; that the values of
that institution in the search for truth should represent the values of our
democratic society such as tolerance for a diversity of opinions and beliefs and
respect for the individual.
Education at colleges and universities takes place both within the classroom and
outside the classroom. Therefore, student affairs administrators and academic
administrators are not bystanders to the education process.
Administrators are also democracy’s guardians of acceptable behavior in the
academy. This includes ensuring civil discourse within the academy.
Administrators must aggressively condemn behaviors, including speech that
threaten an individual’s well being, denigrate an individual’s ethnic, religious, or
racial identity, or blame a religious or ethnic group for criminal activity.
Public colleges and universities are a public trust and therefore must be held
accountable to the public through the Board of Regents and the campus
administration. Citizens can also hold institutions accountable by supporting or
withholding support for the University either through direct contributions and/or
through the support or nonsupport of public funding measures.
Faculties, because of their education and expertise have great license in the
classroom, but that license is not absolute. The statement on academic freedom
written in 1940 by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
remains the defining statement on the subject and is still operative.
Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in
discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to
introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no
relation to their subject. Limitations of academic freedom
because of religious or other aims of the Institution should be
clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.
College and university teachers are citizens, members of a
learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When
they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from
institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in
the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and
educational officers, they should remember that the public may
judge their profession and their institution by their utterances.
Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise
appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of
others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not
speaking for the institution.6
Faculty authority is tempered by responsibility. Faculty cannot and should not be
told what to teach in class and students should not be told what to think. But
faculty must be held accountable for a high standard of scholarship. In-class
expression has never been absolutely protected by either professional
organizations or the courts.7 Furthermore, punitive state action can be taken
against faculty over out of class speech “…based on a reasonable prediction that
the speech will cause disruption.”8 Most agree that the classroom and, indeed
the academy as a whole, should be a marketplace of ideas and free of orthodoxy
of any type, except for the standards of human decency that are attendant to a
free and democratic society.
Former President of the AAUP, Sanford H. Kadish, wrote about the theory of the
profession. He noted that the faculty member, because of the nature of the
profession, has certain duties and obligations which are designed to maintain the
integrity of his academic freedom and his autonomy as well as the university’s
autonomy, Basically: (1) The faculty member must be trained in investigation
and reflection, and dedicated to a search for truth; (2) the faculty member’s
views and conclusions must be his/her own; (3) faculty members as an
organized group are barred from identifying with causes or particular views of
what is true or right beyond a procedural commitment to freedom.9
Criticism of Israel is not inherently anti-Semitic. Israel like every other country
can and should face public scrutiny for its policies and behavior. But anti-Israel
rhetoric often crosses the line into anti-Semitism, both in tone and in word. This
has been a consistent tactic of the Muslim Student Union and it is anti-Semitic by
The new anti-Semitism is anti-Israelism, attacking Israel and
Israelis with the same symbolic fury previously reserved for the
idea of the Jew. Expressed under the veneer of political criticism
and human rights advocacy, Israel has become another caricatured
version of the hated Jew. With this new anti-Semitism, Jews
outside of Israel are also implicated since they advocate for a
6 AAUP, “Academic Freedom and Tenure, 1949 Statement of Principles,”
http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/policydocs/contents/1940statement.htm In 1990, several
changes in language were adopted to remove gender-specific references from the original
7 Jesse H. Rosenblum “A Comparison of Judicial and Professional Standards Applied to Faculty
Expression,” Ph.D Dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park, Md. 1976, p.116.
8 Jeffries v. Harleston , U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit,No.953, Docket No. 93-7876,
August Term 1993,Decided April 4, 1995.
9 Sanford H. Kadish, “The Theory of the Profession and its Predicament, “AAUP Bulletin 29
(Summer 1972): pp. 121-123.
Jewish state. Those who support Israel are dismissed as tools of
the all powerful Zionists. 10
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights provided a working
definition of anti-Semitism: It gave examples of the ways in which anti-Semitism
manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel, noting, as does the Task Force,
that criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be
regarded as anti-Semitic. It noted that taking into account the overall context,
they could include:
- · Denying the Jewish people right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming
- · Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or
- · Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g.
- · Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
- · Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel.11
….anti-Israel or anti-Zionist propaganda has been disseminated
that includes traditional anti-Semitic elements, including age-old
anti-Jewish stereotypes and defamation. This has included, for
example, anti-Israel literature that perpetuates the medieval anti-
Semitic blood libel of Jews slaughtering children for ritual purpose,
as well as anti-Zionist propaganda that exploits ancient stereotypes
of Jews as greedy, aggressive, overly powerful, or conspiratorial.
Such propaganda should be distinguished from legitimate discourse
regarding foreign policy. Anti-Semitic bigotry is no less
morally deplorable when camouflaged as anti-Israelism or
anti-Zionism (emphasis added).12
The distinct ties between the Judaism and Israel are entwined by religion,
history, and experience. Former New York University Professor Robert Wolfe
summed up the linkage as follows:
10 Gary A. Tobin, Aryeh Kaufmann Weinberg, Jenna Ferer, The Uncivil University, (Roseville, CA:
Institute for Jewish & Community Research, 2005) p.95.
11 The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) (officially established by Council
Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 “Working Definition of Anti-Semitism,” February 15, 2007).
12Untied State Commission on Civil Rights, “Findings and Recommendations Regarding Campus
Anti-Semitism,” Washington D.C. April 3, 2006,
Properly understood, Judaism is first and foremost Judahism.
The word Judaism is derived from the word Judah, which is the
English form of the Hebrew word “Yehudah”. Judah was originally
the name of one of the Hebrew tribes, and because it was the tribe
of David, Judah became the name of the Hebrew kingdom which
David founded. In other words, Judah in ancient times was not the
name of a religion but of a nation state. This nation state occupied
approximately the same territory as the modern nation of Israel,
and its people spoke the same language as modern Israelis,
namely Hebrew. 13
It is offensive to Jews to be told by the Muslim Student Union or by UCI
administration members or faculty that Zionism and Judaism are two separate
concepts or that Zionism is a nineteenth century creation. This is the intellectual
underpinning and frequent justification for the anti-Semitic rhetoric at UCI.
Furthermore, equating Zionism with Racism, or Nazism diminishes and trivializes
the memory of the over 6 million Jews who perished in the holocaust.
Judaism and Zionism cannot be separated. Zionism did not
start in the 1800s and was not founded in Eastern Europe or in
Basel. Zionism was founded by the rivers of Babylon, when the
Jews wept bitterly over their exile and vowed ‘if I forget thee O
Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its cunning!’ Herzl’s book, the
Jewish State, did not invent the idea of Jewish national revival; 3
times a day, Jews beseech G-d ‘that our eyes may behold Your
return to Zion in mercy’. Herzl was simply able to convey this idea
in practical terms, however, the Jewish dream to one day live again
as a free nation in Israel has existed since the beginning of the
accursed exile, by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army. 14
Other definitions and examples of the new anti-Semitism are included in
attachment to this Report.
The University of California, Irvine is one of ten campuses of the University of
California. The University is governed by a Board of Regents who appoints the
President and officers of the University of California System.15 The University
faculty is represented by the Academic Senate which exercises direct control of
academic matters, including the authorization, approval and supervision of all
13 Robert Wolfe, “Zionism as Judaism,” Zionism, Judaism and the Jewish People,
14 Bar Kochba’s posts, “For Zion’s Sake,” The Barnyard,
15 University of California, Standing Order 100.4, “Duties of the President of the University”
Amendments up to 2006.
courses.16 The ten campuses are headed by Chancellors and each report directly
to the President. 17 The President and the Regents are headquartered in Oakland,
CA some 416 miles from Irvine. “The Chancellor is …the executive head of all
activities on …campus…. The Chancellor shall be responsible for the organization
and operation of the campus, its internal administration, and its discipline ….”18
The position description for the UCI Chancellor position indicates that the
President requires “leadership skills in an academic environment…,” (emphasis
added) as opposed to “administrative skills.”19
UCI has approximately 24,945 students and 16,374 employees. Social Sciences
has the highest undergraduate enrollment with 5,571 students. The largest
major in terms of enrollment is Psychology followed by Political Science.20
The University’s “Principles of Community,” state in part:
UCI is a multicultural community of people from diverse
backgrounds. Our activities, programs, classes, workshops,
lectures, and everyday interactions are enriched by our acceptance
of one another, and we strive to learn from each other in an
atmosphere of positive engagement and mutual respect.
Our legacy for an increasingly multicultural academic
community and for a learning climate free from expressions
of bigotry is drawn from the United States and California
Constitutions and from the charter of the University of California,
which protects diversity and reaffirms our commitment to the
protection of lawful free speech. Affirmation of that freedom
is an effective way of ensuring that acts of bigotry and
abusive behavior will not go unchallenged within the University.
Tolerance, civility and mutual respect for diversity of
background, gender, ethnicity, race, and religion is as
crucial within our campus community as is tolerance,
civility and mutual respect for diversity of political
beliefs, sexual orientation, and physical abilities.
Education and a clear, rational, and vigorous challenge are
16 University of California, Standing Order 105.2, “Duties Powers and Privileges of the Academic
Senate” through March 19, 1971.
17 See University of California Organization Chart, October 3, 2007.
18 University of California, Standing Order 100.6 “Duties of the Chancellors. Through February 19,
19 Position Description, Chancellor, University of California, Irvine, University of California
Website, http://www.uci.edu/chancellorpositiondescription.shtml, updated, September 25, 2006.
20 Office of Institutional Research, University of California, Irvine, Website, May 9, 2007.
positive responses to prejudice and acts of bigotry.
The University’s policy on academic honesty begins with this preamble:
The University is an institution of learning, research,
and scholarship predicated on the existence of an environment
of honesty and integrity. As members of the academic community,
faculty, students, and administrative officials share responsibility
for maintaining this environment. It is essential that all
members of the academic community subscribe to the ideal
of academic honesty and integrity and accept individual
responsibility for their work. (Emphasis added) Academic
dishonesty is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at the
University of California, Irvine. Cheating, forgery, dishonest conduct
plagiarism, and collusion in dishonest activities erode the
University’s educational, research, and social roles. They devalue
the learning experience and its legitimacy not only for the
perpetrators but for the entire community22
University of California policy goes on to read that the Chancellors “…may
impose discipline for the commission or attempted commission … of the following
types of violations by students… All forms of academic misconduct
including but not limited to cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, or
facilitating academic dishonesty.”(Emphasis added)23 At UCI that authority
has been delegated to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.24
LAST WORD: BY GARY FOUSE’S GROUP IN ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA ON THE UC IRVINE QUESTION
The aim of this Task Force is to study, investigate and issue a report on alleged incidents of racism and anti-Semitism at the University of California – Irvine (UCI). We are not singling out any specific group. We are currently looking at all instances of alleged anti-Semitic and racist activity on all Orange County Campuses.
This look at UCI issues by The Task force is a more criticial if not radical view and angry view of the issues at the University. Gary Fouse is the group’s spokesman. This Task Force is considered another part of the Jewish Community, and not part of its establishment.
This YouTube from the group’s statement, shows one example of campus speech and is from the Task Force website. It as event occurred around the time in years of the report by Hillel. There is much established opinion in the Orange County Jewish Community that in the six years following the report and this particular event, incidents have cooled considerably:
1 Response for “Interview series: Key player Ken Marcus in reporting and acting on Jewish bullying on American campuses–a compilation of Civil Rights Act Title VI matters”I should correct one of the above statements which appear under my name. I am an advisory member of the Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism, but not it is not “my group”, nor am I the OCITF spokesman.
UC Irvine Ext
This work appeared originally Church of England Newspaper, London. To contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org .