Posted by: Morton A. Klein
November 16, 2005
News

ZOA Testifies At U.S. Commission On Civil Rights Hearing On Campus Anti-Semitism


New York – Susan Tuchman, Esq., the Director of the Zionist Organization of America’s (ZOA) Center for Law and Justice, has been invited by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to testify on the issue of “Campus Anti-Semitism.” The hearing is scheduled for Friday, November 18, 2005, at 9:30 A.M. at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., located at 624 9th Street NW, Room 540.


Ms.Tuchman will discuss specific examples of anti-Semitism on our college campuses, its impact on Jewish students, and suggest recommendations to colleges and universities, and to the Commission, on how to respond to this serious problem. In addition, she will discuss anti-Zionism as a manifestation of anti-Semitism.


The information provided by Ms. Tuchman and the other panelists will be used as part of published official records; as background and support for the preparation of Commission reports; and in determining future Commission projects.


The ZOA’s inclusion on these hearings is recognition by the federal government of the groundbreaking work that the ZOA is doing to combat anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment on our college campuses. In October 2004, the ZOA filed a complaint under Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, against the University of California at Irvine (UCI). The complaint — filed with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education — alleges a pattern of harassment, intimidation and discrimination against Jewish students at UCI, about which students repeatedly complained; the university failed to address their concerns.


After reviewing the allegations of the complaint, OCR decided that an investigation was warranted, which is underway.


The ZOA’s complaint is the first case of anti-Semitism that OCR has agreed to investigate.


The ZOA’s initiative, in and of itself, has had a positive effect for Jewish students on that campus, according to reports published in New University, the UCI student newspaper. According to a letter from one Jewish student on campus, many students are behind the ZOA’s legal effort to force UCI “to live up to its legal and ethical obligation,” where other efforts had been tried and failed.


Another letter, submitted to the student paper by the Chairperson of the Orange County Israel on Campus Coalition, noted that “the university’s new willingness to show some awareness of the problem [of anti-Semitism on the UCI campus] is a direct consequence of the filing of the complaint,” and that “some good has already come of the actions of the ZOA.”


The ZOA’s work on behalf of Jewish students at UCI will hopefully send a message to colleges and universities across the country that they must comply with their legal obligation to ensure a safe and comfortable learning environment for all students, regardless of race or ethnicity. The upcoming briefing will further highlight the enormity of the problem of anti-Semitism on our college campuses.


ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “We are proud of the important work that Susan Tuchman has done to help reduce the anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing on campus as well as reduce the intimidation of Jewish students there by anti-Israel propagandists. Susan’s insightful understanding of the civil rights laws has made this breakthrough possible. We also want to express our strong appreciation and praise for the Office of Civil Rights and the US Civil Rights Commission for their important efforts.”