Marcus isn’t investigating anti-Semitism at Rutgers, he’s launching an intimidation campaign

September 14, 2018
Contact: Sonya E Meyerson-Knox | | 929-290-0317

“Students, faculty, administrators, and everyone who cares about human rights, higher education, and free speech must fight back – we’re stopping this intimidation campaign before it starts.”

Washington D.C. (September 14, 2018) – Jewish Voice for Peace is sounding the alarm that Kenneth Marcus has begun his assault on students who advocate for Palestinian rights. In a letter leaked to The New York Times, Kenneth Marcus, Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights at the Department of Education, promised the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) to re-open an investigation of alleged anti-Semitism at Rutgers University. The previous administration closed the case due to a lack of evidence of anti-Semitism at the event in question, which featured a panel of Jewish Holocaust survivors under the heading “Never Again for Anyone.”

Marcus claims this is an investigation of anti-Semitism – in reality it’s the beginning of an intimidation campaign. By launching this redundant investigation, Marcus is putting universities and students on notice that supporting Palestinian rights may lead to unfounded Title VI investigations by the Department of Education; if a university is found to be in violation of Title VI, they risk losing federal funding. We’re working with civil liberties and students’ rights groups across the nation to tell Marcus: We’re stopping this intimidation campaign before it starts.

Rabbi Joseph Berman, JVP Government Affairs Liaison:
“Instead of fighting the rise in anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia across the country, Marcus – just like Betsy DeVos – is working against the very mission of the Department of Education. Marcus, a Trump appointee, is using his position to bully students by falsely claiming that support for Palestinian human rights is anti-Semitic. Instead of doing his job of ensuring equal access to education, Marcus is abusing the Office of Civil rights by trying to silence student activists and human rights defenders.”

Rabbi Alissa Wise, JVP Deputy Director:
“Just last month my grandfather’s synagogue in Indiana was vandalized with swastikas by white supremacists who feel emboldened by their counterparts in the White House. While actual anti-Semitism is on the rise, the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education is creating dangerous conflations, falsely claiming that supporting human rights for Palestinians equals anti-Semitism. It’s a moral outrage. Marcus must be stopped. The movement that opposes Trump, DeVos and Marcus is growing stronger by the day – and we will prevail.”

Tallie Ben Daniel, JVP Academic Program Manager:
“Marcus is actively working with the Zionist Organization of America – an anti-Muslim extremist organization – to launch a campaign of intimidation against students who support Palestinian human rights. Marcus has openly said that he wants to define support for Palestinian rights as anti-Semitism, in order to intimidate university administrators into censoring their own students. Students, faculty, administrators and everyone who cares about human rights, higher education and free speech must fight back. We’re stopping this intimidation campaign before it starts.”


JVP staff and students are available to speak with the media


Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP has over 200,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.


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