Archive for the ‘Department of Education’ category

Trump’s Jewish nominee for Civil Rights Office smeared by Arab groups

November 10, 2017

Trump’s Jewish nominee for Civil Rights Office smeared by Arab groups, Israel National News, Dr. Richard L. Cravatts, November 9, 2017

(Please see also, Trump’s Latest Education Nominee Steps into the Maelstrom. – DM)

No sooner had President Trump nominated Kenneth Marcus, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under the Law, to be Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, then extremist anti-Israel groups began to mount an aggressive campaign to derail the appointment.

This is a remarkable affront to a civil rights lawyer who has spent his career fighting for the rights of women, the disabled, and members of many minority groups: African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians, as well as Sikhs, Arabs, and Muslim Americans. Marcus’s prior tenure at the federal Office for Civil Rights was widely lauded for effective leadership and support for the rights of all students. For this reason, most civil rights groups have thus far refrained from subjecting Marcus to the vituperation that other recent Trump nominees have faced. 

Some extremist anti-Israel groups have broken ranks, however, attacking the administration’s Jewish civil rights nominee with reckless and malicious falsehoods.

One of these groups, Palestine Legal, whose mission is to bolster the anti-Israel movement by challenging efforts to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitism, immediately issued a letter smearing Mr. Marcus as an “Anti-Palestinian Crusader” and opposing his nomination in terms of the so-called Livingstone Formulation. Under that formulation, as identified by British sociologist David Hirsch, anti-Semites accuse Jews of fabricating anti-Semitism claims in order to silence decent people who are concerned about Israel’s supposed human rights violations.

In this way, Palestine Legal’s director, Dima Khalidi, levels the spurious charge that “Marcus is the architect of a strategy to abuse civil rights law to suppress campus criticism of Israel.” In other words, she contends that Marcus’ campaign to ameliorate campus anti-Semitism is not based on a virtuous desire to end bigotry but is a disingenuous attempt at “shielding Israel from scrutiny,” consistent with the “Livingstone Formulation.”

Part of that notion is “the counteraccusation that the raisers of the issue of anti-Semitism do so with dishonest intent, in order to de-legitimize criticism of Israel. The allegation is that the accuser chooses to ‘play the anti-Semitism card’ rather than to relate seriously to, or to refute, the criticisms of Israel.”

Of course, those who refuse to acknowledge that their speech or behavior may, in fact, be anti-Semitic normally resist such designations, but the allegation of Palestine Legal against Mr. Marcus is particularly odious because it seeks to impugn his integrity as someone fighting anti-Semitism, suggesting instead that his true motive, carefully hidden from view and masked as benign activism, is actually to serve the interests of Israel by trying to delegitimize and libel its campus critics.

Moreover, Palestine Legal claims, in order to shield Israel from scrutiny, to insulate its policies and state behavior from critique, Mr. Marcus, they say, pretends to be interested in anti-Semitism but is actually creating a smokescreen to shield Israel “at the expense of civil and constitutional rights.”

In addition to the Livingstone Formulation, these groups are also going after Marcus with the classic charge that Jews are attempting to use gain control of government power for nefarious purposes. “Marcus has no business enforcing civil rights laws when he has explicitly used such laws to chill the speech activities and violate the civil rights of Arab, Muslim, Jewish, and other students who advocate for Palestinian rights,” Khalidi charged.

It is not coincidental, of course, that a group dedicated to undermining efforts to fight anti-Semitism would have been aware of the efforts of Mr. Marcus and his colleagues as they attempted to identify the causes and corrosive impact of campus anti-Semitic speech and behavior.

For at least the last decade the primary source of anti-Zionist, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic activism on campuses has been anti-Israel individuals and groups, including the Muslim Student Association and the radical Students for Justice in Palestine, among others. So, even as Ms. Khalidi would have one believe that Mr. Marcus launched a campaign to silence pro-Palestinian activists merely as a tactical ploy to insulate Israel from critique and condemnation, the anti-Israel activism which she so ardently defends has regularly spawned instances in which agitation against Israel has included speech and behavior which has been considered, and in fact often was, anti-Semitic.

Of great concern to those who have observed the invidious byproduct of this radicalism is the frequent appearance of anti-Israel sentiment that often rises to the level of anti-Semitism, when virulent criticism of Israel bleeds into a darker, more sinister level of hatred—enough to make Jewish students, whether or not they support or care about Israel at all, uncomfortable, unsafe, or hated on their own campuses.

That is precisely the type of “hostile environment,” created by generating hostility toward Jewish students over their perceived or actual support of Israel, that may violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, one of the legal tools Mr. Marcus has used and may well continue to use in his new role to help insure that universities take steps to ameliorate situations in which such prejudice-laced campus climates are allowed to develop.

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), another anti-Israel group that also, not insignificantly, supports the BDS movement, published an open letter denouncing the choice of Mr. Marcus for the OCR appointment, as well, repeating the spurious charge that the use of Title VI statutes, and such guidelines as the U.S. State Department Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, would have the perverse side effect of suppressing the free speech of “pro-Palestinian” activists.

And despite Palestine Legal’s fear that the conflation of “criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism    . . .  has really serious consequences for those who advocate for Palestinian human rights and are being condemned and censored and punished as a result of the enormous pressure being placed on universities by the likes of Marcus and dozens of other Israel advocacy groups,” the truth is that not human rights advocates behave in civil ways, and the fact that “pro-Palestinian” activists support a minority group does not justify their misbehavior and extremism, even for what they clearly believe to be a noble cause.

But pro-Palestinian advocacy on campus—the very activism Palestine Legal is so intent on preserving—has been shown to correlate directly to an uptick in anti-Semitic speech and behavior. For example, in two studies it conducted of anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses, the AMCHA Initiative, an organization that investigates and documents anti-Semitism at U.S. universities, found that “Schools with instances of student-produced anti-Zionist expression, including BDS promotion, are 7 times more likely to have incidents that targeted Jewish students for harm than schools with no evidence of students’ anti-Zionist expression and the more such anti-Zionist expression, the higher the likelihood of incidents involving anti-Jewish hostility.” This “anti-Zionist expression” and “BDS promotion are,” of course, the central aspects of Palestinian activism.

That is the issue here, and why it is necessary and important that, in the effort to promote the Palestinian cause, another group—Jewish students on American campuses—do not become victims themselves in a struggle for another group’s self-determination.

Richard L. Cravatts, PhD, President Emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, and the author of Dispatches From the Campus War Against Israel and Jews, is also a member of the board of directors of the Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under the Law and the AMCHA Initiative.

Trump’s Latest Education Nominee Steps into the Maelstrom

November 8, 2017

Trump’s Latest Education Nominee Steps into the Maelstrom, American ThinkerRichard L. Cravatts, November 8, 2017

No sooner had President Trump nominated Kenneth Marcus, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights under the Law, to be assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education than extremist anti-Israel groups mounted an aggressive campaign to derail the appointment.

This is a remarkable affront to a civil rights lawyer who has spent his career fighting for the rights of women, the disabled, and members of many minority groups: black Americans, Hispanics, and Asians, as well as Sikhs, Arabs, and Muslim Americans.  Marcus’s prior tenure at the federal Office for Civil Rights was widely lauded for effective leadership and support for the rights of all students.  For this reason, most civil rights groups have thus far refrained from subjecting Marcus to the vituperation other recent Trump nominees have faced.

Some anti-Israel groups, however, have broken ranks, attacking the administration’s Jewish civil rights nominee with reckless and malicious falsehoods.  One of these groups, Palestine Legal, whose mission is to bolster the anti-Israel movement by challenging efforts to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitism, immediately issued a letter smearing Mr. Marcus as an “anti-Palestinian crusader” and opposing his nomination in terms of the so-called Livingstone Formulation.  Under that formulation, as identified by British sociologist David Hirsch, anti-Semites accuse Jews of fabricating anti-Semitism claims in order to silence decent people concerned about Israel’s supposed human rights violations.  In this way, Palestine Legal’s director, Dima Khalidi, levels the spurious charge that “Marcus is the architect of a strategy to abuse civil rights law to suppress campus criticism of Israel.”  In other words, she contends that Marcus’s campaign to ameliorate campus anti-Semitism is not based on a virtuous desire to end bigotry, but is a disingenuous attempt at “shielding Israel from scrutiny,” consistent with the Livingstone Formulation.  Part of that notion is “the counteraccusation that the raisers of the issue of antisemitism do so with dishonest intent, in order to de-legitimize criticism of Israel. The allegation is that the accuser chooses to ‘play the antisemitism card’ rather than to relate seriously to, or to refute, the criticisms of Israel.”

Those who refuse to acknowledge that their speech or behavior may, in fact, be anti-Semitic normally resist such designations, but the allegation of Palestine Legal against Mr. Marcus is particularly odious because it seeks to impugn his integrity as someone fighting anti-Semitism, suggesting instead that his true motive, carefully hidden from view and masked as benign activism, is actually to serve the interests of Israel by trying to delegitimize and libel Israel’s campus critics.  Moreover, Palestine Legal claims, in order to shield Israel from scrutiny, to insulate its policies and state behavior from critique, Mr. Marcus pretends to be interested in anti-Semitism but is actually creating a smokescreen to shield Israel “at the expense of civil and constitutional rights.”

In addition to the Livingstone Formulation, these groups are also going after Marcus with the classic charge that Jews are attempting to gain control of government power for nefarious purposes.  “Marcus has no business enforcing civil rights laws when he has explicitly used such laws to chill the speech activities and violate the civil rights of Arab, Muslim, Jewish, and other students who advocate for Palestinian rights,” Khalidi charged.  It is not coincidental that a group dedicated to undermining efforts to fight anti-Semitism is aware of the efforts of Mr. Marcus and his colleagues as they attempted to identify the causes and corrosive impact of campus anti-Semitic speech and behavior.

For at least the last decade, the primary source of anti-Zionist, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic activism on campuses has been anti-Israel individuals and groups, including the Muslim Student Association and the radical Students for Justice in Palestine, among others.  So even as Ms. Khalidi would have one believe that Mr. Marcus launched a campaign to silence pro-Palestinian activists merely as a tactical ploy to insulate Israel from critique and condemnation, the anti-Israel activism she so ardently defends has regularly spawned instances in which agitation against Israel has included speech and behavior that have been considered, and, in fact, often were, anti-Semitic.

Of great concern to those who have observed the invidious byproduct of this radicalism is the frequent appearance of anti-Israel sentiment that often rises to the level of anti-Semitism, when virulent criticism of Israel bleeds into a darker, more sinister level of hatred – enough to make Jewish students, whether or not they support or care about Israel at all, uncomfortable, unsafe, or hated on their own campuses.

That is precisely the type of “hostile environment,” created by generating hostility toward Jewish students over their perceived or actual support of Israel, that may violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, one of the legal tools Mr. Marcus has used and may well continue to use in his new role to ensure that universities take steps to ameliorate situations in which such prejudice-laced campus climates are allowed to develop.

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), another anti-Israel group that also, not insignificantly, supports the BDS movement, published an open letter denouncing the choice of Mr. Marcus for the OCR appointment as well, repeating the spurious charge that the use of Title VI statutes, and such guidelines as the U.S. State Department Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, would have the perverse side-effect of suppressing the free speech of “pro-Palestinian” activists.

And despite Palestine Legal’s fear that the conflation of “criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism    …  has really serious consequences for those who advocate for Palestinian human rights and are being condemned and censored and punished as a result of the enormous pressure being placed on universities by the likes of Marcus and dozens of other Israel advocacy groups,” the fact that “pro-Palestinian” activists support a minority group does not justify their misbehavior and extremism, even for what they clearly believe to be a noble cause.

Pro-Palestinian advocacy on campus – the very activism Palestine Legal is so intent on preserving – has been shown to correlate directly with an uptick in anti-Semitic speech and behavior.  For example, in two studies it conducted of anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses, the AMCHA Initiative, an organization that investigates and documents anti-Semitism at U.S. universities, found that “[s]chools with instances of student-produced anti-Zionist expression, including BDS promotion, are 7 times more likely to have incidents that targeted Jewish students for harm than schools with no evidence of students’ anti-Zionist expression and the more such anti-Zionist expression, the higher the likelihood of incidents involving anti-Jewish hostility.”  This “anti-Zionist expression” and “BDS promotion” are the central aspects of Palestinian activism.

That is the issue here, and why it is necessary and important that, in the effort to promote the Palestinian cause and help the Palestinians to achieve statehood, another group – Jewish students on American campuses – do not become victims themselves in a struggle for another group’s self-determination.

Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., president emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and the author of Dispatches from the Campus War against Israel and Jews, is also a member of the board of directors of the Brandeis Center for Human Rights under the Law and the AMCHA Initiative.

Access Islam: US Department of Education

March 30, 2017

Access Islam: US Department of Education, Christian Access Network via YouTube, March 28, 2017

(I assume that this promotion of Islam by the Department of Education started during the Obama administration. Apparently, DOE provides no promotion of Christianity, Judaism or other religion. Nor should it. When will Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s Secretary of Education, repudiate and pull this Federal intervention in favor of Islam?

April 1 Update — at my blog— DM)

Here is the blurb following the video:

The United States Department of Education has developed an Islamic indoctrination program for public schools called, ‘Access Islam.’

The lesson plans are written for grades 5 through 12. They include worksheets and videos to help students perform the 5 Pillars of Islam – prayer, fasting, alms giving, pilgrimage to Mecca and the proclamation of Muslim faith.

This short video contains excerpted clips taken from the “Access Islam’ program which not only teaches children how to perform a Muslim prayer, but asks students such questions as: ‘What does a Muslim prayer sound like?’ ‘What do the movements look like?’ and ‘What are some of the things Muslims say during prayer?’

Children are also expected to memorize verses from the Quran and give the meaning of those verses.

Taken as a whole, the U.S. Department of Education’s ‘Access Islam’ program is nothing short of a Sunday school class on Islam.

Here is a video of an interview with the founder of the Christian Action Network:

 

Trump’s Appointments Continue to Impress

November 25, 2016

Trump’s Appointments Continue to Impress, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, November 24, 2016

(As to Dr. Carson

In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday night, Carson confirmed that Trump has offered him a position in his cabinet, and HUD is “one of the offers that’s on the table.” When asked if he knows anything about housing policy, Carson told Neil Cavuto: “I know that I grew up in the inner city and have spent a lot of time there, have dealt with a lot of patients from that area, and recognize that we cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities.”

— DM

If, as is often said, personnel is policy, the Trump administration may prove more impressive than many conservatives expected. His nominations so far have been outstanding. The latest is his choice of Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education. DeVos is a school choice activist who puts the interests of children first–especially inner-city children–rather than the interests of teachers’ unions. The New York Times, intending to express outrage at her selection, came up with this heartwarming headline: “Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Pick, Has Steered Money From Public Schools.”

It was reported that Trump has offered the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to Dr. Ben Carson. It now appears that the offer has been neither made nor accepted, but I hope it comes to pass. While he is not an experienced administrator, Carson is respected by just about everyone, and is ideally positioned to dismantle the left-wing social engineering that President Obama’s HUD has engaged in. Once again, we turn to the New York Times to explain why Carson would be an excellent choice: “How Ben Carson at Housing Could Undo a Desegregation Effort.” The “desegregation effort” in question is the Obama administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing power grab, which we have written about many times. Carson is just the man to put AFFH out of its misery.

Let’s hope that Trump’s personnel winning streak continues.

Education Dept encourages Islam in classroom to stop bullying of Muslims

April 28, 2016

Education Dept encourages Islam in classroom to stop bullying of Muslims, Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer, April 27, 2016

(For some textbooks that might be appealing, please see also, I Love Islam. — DM)

Isn’t this unconstitutional? Wasn’t there a decades-long struggle to get Christianity out of public school classrooms? Now what had been accepted norms for the separation of religion from public school education are out the window. This initiative to introduce Islam into classroom teaching is based on spurious claims that Muslim students are bullied, when actual FBI statistics show that incidents against Jews are far more common.

peshawar-madrassa-school-007

“Department Of Education Encourages Islam In Classrooms To Stop Muslim Bullying,” by Diane Palmer, Parent Herald, April 27, 2016 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

The U.S. Department of Education calls educators to include Islam in the curriculum to address the bullying of Muslim students.

The Department of Education (DOE) in the U.S. encouraged educators to be more responsible in protecting Muslim students from bullying by teaching Islam in class. Many people rejected the demands of the DOE’s instructions by saying that it is inappropriate to bring up religion in class.

The DOE posted instructions on their website urging teachers to include Islam in classroom discussions. Educators are encouraged to incorporate experiences of Muslim people into the curriculum through current events, social studies and children’s literature.

The alleged bullying is said to be largely based on the lack of information about the religion and the tendency to associate Islam with terrorism. Although no firm statistics show how often Muslim students are bullied, activists claim that the numbers became higher after the attacks of 9/11, according to Huffington Post.

A 2010 survey of 57 Muslim teenagers aged 11 to 18 reported being called a name because of their faith. About 80 percent of the respondents also said they have been called a ‘terrorist’.

DOE cites an increase in incidents targeting the Muslim community due to the 10 incidents that happened nationwide, according to WND. Of the 10 events, two resulted in assaults, three reported the vandalism of mosques, five involved alleged threats and intimidation and only one involved a student inside school.

Parents were also called to educate their kids on how to prevent bullying. Parents were told to teach how to appreciate their peers and make friends across different cultures.

However, many groups rejected the claim of DOE by organizing a Change.org petition drive demanding the department to stop efforts to Islamize children in school. Nowhere in the blog does it talk about incorporating Christian or Judaism into classroom discussions despite far more actual violent attacks on Jews and Christians all over the world, according to Martin Mawyer, president and founder of Christian Action Network….