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Equal Rights for Jewish Students

March 2010 Contents

Equal Rights for Jewish Students

Major Jewish organizations unite to urge protection of Jewish students

Texas K-12 curriculum guidelines for 2011 textbook adoption

UC Berkeley Student Senate passes Israel divestment bill, student president vetoes

March Articles of Interest

Equal Rights for Jewish Students

Kenneth L. Marcus
Ken Marcus, Director
Anti-Semitism Initiative

This month U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered a major address in which he announced that his department would significantly step up enforcement of civil rights laws. Taking him at his word, the Institute for Jewish & Community Research last week joined a dozen other major Jewish organizations in urging Secretary Duncan to provide Jewish students with civil rights protections under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This joint letter is a significant event, because it reflects the emergence of a broad-based coalition of Jewish communal organizations pushing the Obama administration to reverse the position which it previously took on anti-Semitism in higher education — and to make good on the pledge which Secretary Duncan has just made.

Read the full column

The Quad is a monthly publication of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research (IJCR). It includes updates on research and publications; alerts about items in the news; original commentary by scholars; and news about our partners.

The Institute for Jewish & Community Research (IJCR) is an independent non-profit dedicated to the growth and security of the Jewish community.

Website: JewishResearch.org
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Major Jewish organizations unite to urge protection of Jewish students

Kenneth L. Marcus, director of IJCR's Anti-Semitism Initiative, helped to draft a letter and recruit a coalition of Jewish organizations to press Education Secretary Arne Duncan to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide Jewish students with civil rights protections. While head of the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights in 2004, Mr. Marcus was "unwilling to ignore the growing anti-Semitism problem at federally-funded universities."

Read the letter to Secretary Arne Duncan

Texas K-12 curriculum guidelines for 2011 textbook adoption

Dennis Ybarra, IJCR Research Associate, has been active on the ground and is monitoring the Texas curriculum update process. The Texas Board of Education approved a new social studies curriculum that will determine the content of social studies and history textbooks nationwide for the next ten years.

Read Texas Conservatives Win Curriculum Change by James C. McKinley, Jr., The New York Times, Mar. 12, 2010

UC Berkeley Student Senate passes Israel divestment bill, student president vetoes

The Associated Students of U.C. Berkeley (ASUC) passed a divestment bill by a wide margin on March 18. ASUC President Will Smelko has since vetoed the bill, citing "the perception of the bill as a symbolic attack on a specific community of our fellow students." Mr. Smelko takes aim at the ideological attack implicit in divestment efforts, criticizing attempts to demonize Israel and create a hostile environment for Jews on campus. IJCR Research Associate Aryeh Weinberg writes, "the normalization of anti-Israelism" through divestment efforts "may prove just as damaging as any actual pulling of funds would have been," making Mr. Smelko's comments that much more impactful. The bill will return to the ASUC senate in early April in an attempt to overturn the veto.

Read U.C.Berkeley student president vetoes divest-from-Israel resolution by Amanda Pazornik, j. Weekly, Mar. 25, 2010

March Articles of Interest

Higher Education

Irvine Jews speak out
By Ben Harris, JTA, Mar. 18, 2010
The U.C. Irvine student government passed a resolution of support for the 11 Muslim students arrested for shouting down Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren in a campus lecture. In response, Jewish students proposed their own resolution. Watch their testimony in a video clip.

Free Speech on Campus, Depending on Who's Speaking
By Dr. Richard Cravatts, Canada Free Press, Mar. 15, 2010
We see yet more evidence that universities have become, at least where campus free speech is concerned, as Harvard's wise Abigail Thernstrom has described them, "islands of repression in a sea of freedom."

Universities across the globe mark Israeli Apartheid Week
By Danna Harman, Ha'aretz, Mar. 14, 2010
University campuses in more than 40 cities around the world are marking the week with lectures, films, multimedia events, cultural performances and demonstrations. Israelis participate in some of them.

World

'Serious threat to Venezuela's Jews'
By Haviv Rettig Gur, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 9, 2010
Human rights commission demands that Chavez government act against anti-Semitism.

Read the full report (acts against Jews are described beginning in Chapter VI, paragraph 780).

Churches under attack in Muslim lands as mosques flourish in the West
By Gregg Rickman, The Cutting Edge News, Mar. 22, 2010
Persecution against Copts in Egypt is an example of the treatment of churches and synagogues under Muslim rule, yet thousands of mosques function across Europe and North America undisturbed by the Christian majority.