The ZOA has a legitimate point. In 2010, after six years of campaigning, they got the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to clarify that Jewish students finally would merit the same protection “against exclusion from participation in, denial of benefits of, and discrimination under federally assisted programs on ground of race, color, or national origin” that Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act confers on all minorities. Thus, it is possible that FAU, due to its official sanction of the notices, may be in violation of federal law.
Yet FAU remains defiant. In announcing the conclusion of their investigation, the university claimed it had taken “appropriate corrective steps” with staffers who approved the notices–even as they refused to detail those steps, citing the tiresomely familiar excuse that the university does not comment on personnel matters. An email released by Charles Brown echoes that opaqueness, but offers up yet another familiar fallback position for university administrators: moral equivalence. “We have received disturbing reports of threats, hostility and intolerance from and against fellow members of our community in connection with these postings,” it states, implying those who posted the notices have been as intimidated as those who received them. Again, since no details are provided, we are forced to accept Mr. Brown at his word.
Yet further on in the email the senior vice president for Student Affairs demonstrates a startling disconnect from reality: “We can confirm that, although the postings failed to comply with University policy and should not have been distributed as they were, we have found no evidence that the postings were intended to target or intimidate individuals of any particular religion, national origin or faith” (bold in the original). Why? Because the postings were “distributed randomly.”
Utter nonsense, and Mr Brown is well aware of it. ZOA met with him in 2011 and made him aware of the SJP’s growing radicalization, including the fact that their leader, Noor Fawzy, had been involved with organizing “Miami’s Third Intifada Rally for Palestine” and a “Freedom Flotilla II” rally. Video of Fawzy chanting, “Long live the Intifada” and “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free” can be seen here. Furthermore, there is no mistaking the meaning of the word “intifada,” which is a call for a “violent uprising,” nor the implication behind “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free,” which is a call for the annihilation of the Jewish State. As for the flotilla, it was the second attempt by hard-left, anti-Israeli activists to break an Israeli naval blockade aimed at preventing the arming of Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
Overt anti-Semitism is hardly confined to FAU. Rutgers University is investigating an incident in which the Daily Medium, a student-funded newspaper, published a “mock” article in its April 4th edition. “What About the Good things that Hitler Did?” falsely attributed authorship to conservative Jewish student Aaron Marcus, whose grandparents lost family in the Holocaust. Prof. Ronald Miskoff, an advisor to the newspaper, defended both the article and the false attribution, contending that “permission is not required for a parody” and that Marcus “is a columnist for the Daily Targum and also a public person.”
In both of these incidents and numerous others, the protagonists’ position is that they are exercising their First Amendment rights, and aside from the limitations imposed by Title VI, they are undoubtedly correct. But it has become clear that a mystifying double standard with respect to Jewish students exists on today’s campuses. The fact of the matter is, not all minority groups are treated equally at the university. For some, it is open season, which allows those who oppose and despise the Jewish homeland to spread their hate and lies delegitimizing its existence totally unimpeded. Imagine if, for example, the College Republicans circulated “random” eviction notices to students to promote “awareness” about illegal immigration. Or sent students “pink slips” informing them that they lost their campus job because it had been given to an illegal immigrant. Undoubtedly such expressions of free speech would be condemned as racist, invariably followed by an investigation into the “targeting” of Hispanic students.
At the very least, FAU owes their Jewish students an official, university-sanctioned apology for the part it played in abetting campus radicalism directed at a specific group. The “random distribution” excuse is a pathetically weak explanation that would neither be offer or accepted by any university, if virtually any other group were the target of posted eviction notices. Calls to other university officials, most notably Mr. Brown and university president Dr. Mary Jane Saunders, went unanswered. The aforementioned email was deemed sufficient communication regarding the incident. It isn’t.
Duck and cover never is.
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