Department of Education Embraces State Department Definition of Anti-Semitism
Washington, D.C. – In a precedent-setting move, the U.S. Department of Education has employed the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. This is a milestone in an eight-year effort to protect Jewish college students from anti-Semitism masquerading as legitimate criticism of the Israeli government.
The effort began in 2010, when Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), working with Jewish community groups, convinced President Obama’s Department of Education that Title VI applied to Jewish students. Title VI protects against discrimination based on “race or national origin,” and a previous Bush Administration policy had excluded Jews as “merely a religion.”
Anti-Semites have often claimed that their actions are merely fair criticisms of Israel. For eight years, Congressman Sherman pushed for a definition of anti-Semitism that would include calling for the abolition of the Jewish State.
“You cannot protect Jewish students from anti-Semitism unless you define anti-Semitism,” Sherman said.
While the Department of Education has for eight years refused to define anti-Semitism, the Department now has instructed its field offices to employ the State Department definition of anti-Semitism which includes: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”
The current State Department definition was developed by a 31-nation organization known as the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance). The full text is available here.
“I look forward to vigorous enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act against those who harass Jewish students with claims that the only nation-state that should be obliterated is the nation-state of the Jews,” Sherman said.
Sherman continued, “I applaud the Department of Education for using the same definition of anti-Semitism as the State Department. After all, if our diplomats are using a definition to criticize a foreign government, our own government should live by that definition.”
- To view Congressman Sherman’s letter to the Department of Education sent on April 30, 2008, click here.
- To view Congressman Sherman’s letter to the Department of Education sent on June 5, 2015, click here.
- To view Congressman Sherman’s letter to the Department of Education sent on December 14, 2016, click here.
- To view Congressman Sherman’s letter to the Department of Education sent on June 5, 2017, click here.