"Interesting reading .Jews, abandoning Jews,Jewish identity for political Dogma !"

Kenneth Marcus has written what are in effect two books, one of them distinctly odd. The first book is the story of Marcus’s efforts over a number of years to have Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 reinterpreted to cover the harassment and ill–treatment of Jewish students, deemed necessary because of the widespread support, among leftist campus activists and Middle Eastern students, of the Palestinian cause.

Title VI prohibits discrimination—and can lead to the withholding of federal funds—on grounds of race and national origin. But religion, which is not a permissible basis for discrimination in the other parts of the Civil Rights Act, is not included in the language of Title VI as a prohibited basis of discrimination. The reason apparently was that so many schools and institutions of higher education have religious connections and affiliations that a loophole was provided for them.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Education, a large operation that enforces Title VI, had taken the position that

Jews are neither a “race” nor definable as a group on the basis of “national origin,” and thus discrimination against Jews (although not necessarily Israelis) was not covered by the Civil Rights Act.

Marcus, in his role as Delegated Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights, the highest ranking official in the OCR during the first administration of President George W. Bush, was vexed by this situation. There were many reports from campuses of activist attacks on Israeli policy that skirted close to anti-Semitism. He decided that discrimination against Jews was indeed covered by the Civil Rights Act, on the basis of certain Supreme Court rulings.


One feels the need, in sum, for much more detail. One Jewish student did write to the chancellor that she felt “scared to walk around personally as a Jewish person … terrified for anyone to find out … [felt] threatened that if students knew that I am Jewish and support a Jewish state, I would be attacked physically.” The response was to recommend the student seek professional counseling at the university’s counseling center.

If this student’s feelings were common among Jewish students, the situation was certainly bad. But were such feelings common?

Many Jewish students on campuses are not involved in the defense of Israel, and some support its critics, even its strident critics.

Most students are not politically active on any campus, and the active ones have only limited effects on its atmosphere. And how hard is it to ignore whatever political activities exist, including anti-Israeli ones?