In the latest example of the Jewish lobby’s stranglehold on the American government, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Jewish head has ordered that any criticism of Israel will in future be investigated as “anti-Semitism.”
Kenneth Marcus, the Jewish head of the US Department of Education’s “Office for Civil Rights.”
According to an article in the POLITICO news service, the policy change was outlined in a letter last month by Kenneth Marcus—named by The Jewish Forward newspaper as one of the “top 50” Jews who made the news—in which he re-opened a 2011 investigation into Rutgers University in connection with alleged discrimination against Jewish students.
POLITICO said that the effect of the letter was to change “how the Education Department investigates allegations of discrimination against Jewish students, backing an approach that is favored by pro-Israel groups but that critics worry will stifle free speech and criticism of Israel on campus.”
Marcus wrote in the letter that the Education Department, in its investigations into discrimination, would use the “working definition” of anti-Semitism that is “widely used by governmental agencies” including the State Department.
That definition includes examples in which delegitimizing Israel, or holding it to a double standard not expected of other democratic nations, are deemed anti-Semitic.
POLITICO said that “some civil liberties organizations and advocates for Palestinian rights believe that the definition is so broad that it would label criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic.”
Marcus’ letter re-opening the Rutgers case, which the Obama administration closed in 2014 citing insufficient evidence of discrimination, says that department will now reevaluate the evidence “in light of the definition of anti-Semitism.”
Investigators will seek to determine, Marcus wrote, “whether a hostile environment on the basis of national origin or race existed at the University for students of actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnic characteristics.”
Several civil liberties and free speech groups — including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and PEN America — have opposed the legislation. They argue that the definition of anti-Semitism is too broad and would threaten political speech, such as criticism of Israel policy, on college campuses.
“It’s certainly something that we feared would happen,” said Dima Khalidi, director of Palestine Legal, adding that the new definition “opens the door to equate any criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.”
Khalidi also criticized the Education Department for adopting the definition “without any process or public input.”
Several pro-Israel groups, meanwhile, including the American Jewish Committee, praised the Trump administration’s move. The Zionist Organization of America, which filed the original complaint against Rutgers and appealed, praised the Education Department’s “landmark” decision to adopt the definition.
POLITICO added that the “policy change has long been a priority for Marcus, who was confirmed as the head of the Office for Civil Rights in June. He previously was a staunch proponent of adopting a definition of anti-Semitism as president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.”
Marcus wrote in a 2017 POLITICO column that the Education Department’s civil rights office was “ill-equipped to recognize anti-Semitism when it sees it” because it lacks a definition for it. “Absent a definition, the office is stymied by anti-Semitism cases and is failing in its mission to protect Jewish students,” he wrote.
In 2012, the Jewish Forward named him to the “Forward 50” list of American Jews who had the greatest impact on the news during the prior year, “based on his innovative use of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect Jewish college and university students.”
In naming Marcus one of “the new faces of Jewish power,” the Forward editorialized that “if Marcus has any say in it, we may witness a new era of Jewish advocacy.”