Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tammi Benjamin Article in Jewish News Syndicate

My friend and colleague, Tammi Benjamin of the Amcha Initiative, has written an article for the Jewish News Syndicate regarding anti-semitism on college campuses. In this article, Benjamin makes an important point in all the discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict being played out on college campuses in the US. Rather than assign protection to certain "protected groups", what must be protected is freedom from harassment based on thought and expression as it pertains to everyone.

Benjamin is correct. The two campus groups most affected here are Jewish students who express support for Israel and conservative students. The proof is obvious as provided by Benjamin-campus disruptions of pro-Israel events which are documented. I myself was present at one such disruption at UC Irvine in 2017, a disruption I videotaped. In addition, conservative speakers like Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos and so many others can testify as to the treatment they get when they speak on college campuses. Though we are not talking about protecting them from harassment per se, what about the student groups who sponsor them, like the College Republicans and Young America Foundation?

There is hope for improvement with the confirmation of Ken Marcus as head of the Dept. of Education Office of Civil Rights. He is well aware of the problem and will work to fix it while protecting free speech rights for all and freedom from harassment for all. In addition, government leaders are finally waking up to the problem. Presently, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act is winding its way through Congress, naturally opposed by virtually all pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel groups.

America has woken up and realized there is a problem in academia. It is two-faced because it concerns harassment of Jewish and conservative students and the entire issue of free speech. It is a shameful situation and demands reform.

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