Israel Law Center hotline to monitor campus anti-Semitism

Hotline could provide evidence for legal action against colleges deemed to have failed to protect Jewish students, Law Center attorneys say.

October 16, 2011 17:25
2 minute read.
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The Israel Law Center (Shurat Hadin) is set to launch a hotline on Monday, to help Jewish college students who are victims of anti-Semitism on their campuses.

According to attorney Kenneth A. Leitner, the Law Center’s director of American affairs, students will be able to call the hotline to report incidents of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel acts on US college campuses, and the Law Center will use the data to take legal action against colleges believed to be breaching Jewish students’ legal rights, he added.

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“It is time for us to go on the legal offensive,” said Leitner, who noted that the trend of campus anti-Semitism is growing. “We want Jewish students to know that there is a number to call when they are victimized by extremist groups promoting anti-Israel and anti- Semitic hate on American college campuses.”

US colleges will also receive a “report card” grading them according to their commitment to providing Jewish students with a safe and welcoming learning environment, Leitner said.

As well as monitoring how well US campuses are protecting Jewish students from anti-Semitism, the Law Center intends to use the hotline data to evaluate how colleges are complying with stringent US anti-terror funding laws.

Leitner noted that US colleges have a legal obligation to monitor the funding and activities of all on-campus student groups, and to prevent university funds from being diverted to unlawful activities directed against Israel.

“In a letter we sent to US colleges in September, we cautioned schools to be particularly vigilant in funding student organizations that may have ties to terrorist organizations or that may engage in unlawful activity abroad,” he added.

By failing to to do so, the Law Center has warned that universities could unwittingly fall foul of stringent US legislation.

The US Supreme Court, in a recent ruling in the Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project case, held that providing any support to a terrorist organization, even for supposed humanitarian purposes, was sufficient to impose criminal liability.

Further, permitting organizations like the International Solidarity Movement to recruit students on US campuses to take part in campaigns in Gaza and the West Bank could also potentially violate US law, the Law Center has warned.

Leitner added that radical anti-Israel groups like the ISM and Students for Justice in Palestine already have a stronghold on US campuses, and noted that the Law Center is investigating what it believes to be a connection between anti-Israel activists, organizations and activities in the US and Middle Eastern terrorism.

“An immediate, effective legal response is likely to have a deterrent effect on harassment, discrimination, and potentially on terrorism [on college campuses],” Leitner concluded.

“We would like American college campuses to be safe and secure for Jewish students, without distraction, intolerance, antagonism and most importantly, violence. We expect that the schools share our goals – and if not, we will legally compel them to.”

Students in the US can call the Israel Law Center Campus Hotline on (718) 907-9258.

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