To the editor: The State Department definition of anti-Semitism now being used by the Department of Education isn’t some “dangerously broad” leap by the Trump administration. It’s essentially what the State Department has been using since it was mandated by a 2004 law to document and combat acts of anti-Semitism globally.
Thirty-one countries around the world have adopted the definition. Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Kenneth Marcus wisely decided that the Education Department should use this widely accepted definition to help better understand how anti-Semitism is expressed today. The definition simply recognizes that while of course not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, some is.
In 2016, the University of California system came to a similar conclusion, with the UC regents noting that “opposition to Zionism is often expressed in ways that are not simply statements of disagreement over politics and policy, but also assertions of prejudice and intolerance toward Jewish people and culture.”
The regents declared, “Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.”
Using the definition will not in any way restrict anyone’s right to criticize Israel. Rather, the definition will simply help the Department of Education assess cases like the Zionist Organization of America’s against Rutgers University, and determine whether alleged discriminatory conduct is unlawfully motivated by bias against Jews.
Susan Tuchman, New York
The writer is director of the Zionist Organization of America’s Center for Law and Justice
The original article was posted in the Los Angeles Times and can be found here.