We are writing to express concern regarding anti-Semitic incidents aimed at Jewish students at several colleges and universities and the response to such incidents by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). On October 11, 2004, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) filed a complaint with the OCR alleging that Jewish Students at the University of California-Irvine (UCI) had been repeatedly intimidated and harassed…..
Read the letter linked below from the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, signed by Senators Arlen Spector, Sam Brownback, and Jon Kyl. They ask tough questions about the investigation the OCR and point out that the OCR claimed many of the allegations of anti-Semitism were beyond its authority under Title VI of the Civil Rights act of 1964 because they constituted discrimination based on religion. They continue:
As we are sure you are aware, the U.S. Supreme Court held that for the purpose of extending civil rights protections under the Civil Rights Act of 1866, “Jewish” may be interpreted as an ethnic or racial category. Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb, 481 U.S. 615 (1987). Consequently, it seems likely that the U.S. Supreme Court, were it to take ip the issue, would find that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also incorporates the same broad protections afforded by the Reconstruction era statues, included protections against anti-Semitism.
They also note that “OCR’s conclusion is inconsistent with its prior policy statements.” In other words, the Senate Committee thinks the DOE blew their investigation, and if they do not get good answers, they could launch Senate hearings.
I have been saying for a long time that my understanding of the protection afforded by the Civil Rights Act extends to protection from the kind of anti-Semitism Jewish students face at UCI. It seems the Senate Judiciary Committee feels the same way.