Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and 14 other Republican senators demanded answers this week in a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, regarding the issues of taxpayer money funding antisemitic activity at colleges and universities and the increasing threat to the safety of Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus.
The letter was supported by Heritage Action, StopAntisemitism.org, the Republican Jewish Coalition, the Middle East Forum, the Endowment for Middle East Truth and the Zionist Organization of America.
The letter accused the Biden administration of allowing "taxpayer-funded antisemitism" at colleges and universities across the country and demanded to know how much public funds went toward programs and events that meet the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of antisemitism, according to Fox News.
"We write with grave concern that the Department of Education, over the course of decades, has been allowing taxpayer-funded antisemitism to take place on college campuses throughout the United States," the letter read.
Plans to fight rising antisemitism
“It’s clear more needs to be done to prevent our tax dollars being used to spread this poison on our campuses.”Republican Jewish Coalition CEO Matt Brooks
The letter which was sent during a spike in antisemitic incidents nationwide also asked what plans, if any, have been developed to combat increasing anti-Jewish discrimination on campus and to help Jewish students feel safe.
“StopAntisemitism wholeheartedly endorses Senator Risch’s letter to the Department of Education. The letter draws attention to an alarming reality: the government has the tools to stem the tide of antisemitism on college campuses, but they must be implemented consistently and unilaterally,” said Liora Rez of StopAntisemitism.org. “Enforcing Title VI will, at minimum, remove federal support for antisemitic events and groups. Moreover, it would be a strong signal that the Department of Education takes campus antisemitism seriously - a necessary first step in ensuring Jewish students can express themselves honestly without fear.”
“We appreciate the Senator’s leadership on this important issue,” said the director of government relations at the Zionist Organization of America, Dan Pollak.
"Title VI was created to aid in creating the next generation of international affairs professionals and foreign language experts to improve US diplomacy and national security. Unfortunately, the federal government is not getting its money's worth,” said Cliff Smith, Washington Project Director at the Middle East Forum. “Rather than focus on needed fundamentals, too much Title VI funded programs functionally fund fringe academic theories and slanted views that are obsessed with antisemitic-tinged, wildly disproportionate criticisms of Israel. This is done at the expense of other serious issues in the region. And as Fred Lafer and Michael Stein of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy once said, 'the fallacies of the reigning orthodoxies of Middle Eastern studies ... spilled over into Washington.' Congress is well within its rights to demand change to correct these flaws.”
“Americans rightly reject antisemitism – including antisemitic demonization of Israel. It’s clear more needs to be done to prevent our tax dollars being used to spread this poison on our campuses,” said Matt Brooks, CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “Senator Risch and his colleagues are right to demand accountability from the Department of Education, which is responsible for protecting Jewish students’ civil rights and ensuring balance in taxpayer-funded area studies programs.”
“At a time when antisemitism is reaching unprecedented heights in the United States, we, at EMET, wholeheartedly endorse this letter,” said Sarah Stern, founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth. “We have long held the belief that the university holds a critically important place in the attitudes of future American thought-leaders and is the incubator and shaper of the ideas and values that permeate throughout the United States. For far too long, our nation’s Middle East Studies programs have been hotbeds of anti-Israelism, which tends to easily morph itself into antisemitism. This situation has been festering for decades and is now manifesting itself throughout many various institutional and societal domains in American society, where Jews are feeling attacked, and discriminated against. Our American Jewish college students have long been on the front lines. We at EMET remain profoundly grateful to Senator James Risch for this exceedingly important letter.”