Trump names attorney who fights campus antisemitism to civil rights post

Newly appointed Kenneth L. Marcus has been critical of the Office for Civil Rights for what he called its failure to address “antisemitic incidents that masquerade as "anti-Israelism."

October 27, 2017 09:15
1 minute read.
Trump in prayer shawl.

Donald Trump wearing a Jewish prayer shawl.. (photo credit: CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Kenneth L. Marcus, an attorney who has championed the use of the 1964 federal civil rights act  to investigate allegations of antisemitism on campus, has been appointed assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education.

President Donald J. Trump announced the nomination Wednesday.

As president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Marcus has deployed Title VI of the civil rights act in urging the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights to open investigations over harassment of Jewish students at various universities.

The Brandeis Center, unaffiliated with the university near Boston, has also urged state legislatures and government agencies to adopt the US State Department’s definition of antisemitism, which considers demonizing, delegitimizing or applying a double standard to Israel to be forms of antisemitism.

In 2011 the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella group of Jewish community relations agencies, endorsed the selective use of civil rights legislation to combat anti-Jewish and anti-Israel activity on college campuses. But reflecting the discomfort of some of its member bodies, it also warned that over-use of Title VI could undermine academic freedom and pit outside Jewish groups against both Jewish and non-Jewish students on campus.

Marcus, a former staff director at the US Commission on Civil Rights, has been critical of the Office for Civil Rights for what he called its failure to address “antisemitic incidents that masquerade as anti-Israelism.”

“On college campuses — and especially in protests brought by the anti-Israel boycotts, divestment and sanctions movement — it is now widely understood that attacking ‘Jews’ by name is impolitic, but one can smear ‘Zionists’ with impunity,” he wrote in 2010.

Marcus previously served as assistant secretary of education for civil rights under President George W. Bush. He also served as the Lillie and Nathan Ackerman Chair in Equality and Justice in America at the City University of New York’s Baruch College School of Public Affairs.

He is the author, in 2015, of The Definition of Anti-Semitism.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Two Tunisian Jewish men are seen at Ghriba, the oldest Jewish synagogue in Africa, Tunisia, 2018
June 27, 2019
Tunisia Jewish tourism minister condemns Israeli pilgrims’ praise for IDF


Cookie Settings