Adam Horowitz: Dept of Education opens investigation into anti-Semitism following events protesting the occupation
The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights will investigate charges of anti-Semitism at the University of California at Santa Cruz based on a complaint that the university ignored concerns that criticism of Israel was “creating a hostile climate for Jewish people on the campus.”
You can read a letter from the Dept. of Ed announcing the investigation here. The move is the first such investigation since the Department announced last October that they were expanding federal anti-bullying guidelines to include religious groups with “shared ethnic characteristics.” Previously, the relevant civil rights statute, Title VI, did not explicitly cover religion. This was a move applauded by Israel supporters, such as the Zionist Organization of America, who saw it as a wayto criminalize activism critical of Israel on campus.
The lecturer who brought the complaint is Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, who teaches Hebrew at the school. You can read Rossman-Benjamin’s complaint to the Education Department here. Among the events she sites as examples of anti-Semitism on campus was a screening of the film Occupation 101 and another event called “Understanding Gaza.” This event featured speakers from Jewish Voice for Peace which she characterizes as “an extreme and disreputable fringe of American Jewry.”