April 22, 2010
Center hopes resolution will be model for California legislators to curb intimidation and hostility of Jewish students on its state campuses.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is applauding Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony H. Williams (pictured) for introducing a bill condemning in the strongest possible terms the rise in anti-Semitism on campuses as a serious problem that goes beyond First Amendment-protected speech to the point where Jewish students are often subject to threats and intimidation. The resolution called on the Civil Rights division of the U.S. Department of Education to “protect against anti-Semitism through enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
“We applaud this effort as it reflects the facts on the ground of the alarming increase in incidents where pro-Israel Jewish students are intimidated and harassed for their views,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center. “We especially applaud Senator Williams for his initiative and hope other states follow,” he added. In a phone conversation with Rabbi Cooper, Senator Williams, who is African American, said, “Those who felt the sting of oppression can recognize its roots. I am particularly disturbed that these trends have emerged on campuses.”
“It is unconscionable that as we are seeing a dangerous resurgence of anti-Semitism on college and university campuses in America, Jewish students have lacked the same protections afforded all other ethnic minorities,” said Professor Tammy Benjamin of UC Santa Cruz, who has helped bring awareness to this on-campus hostility – especially in the two major campus systems in California which have seen a recent spike in anti-Semitic actions. The Wiesenthal Center shared copies of Williams’ resolution with concerned state legislators in California, urging them to use it as a model to curb this threat on its campuses
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).
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