The Case of Rutgers and Biased Reporting from the NY Times

by Gary Fouse

The New York Times has an article on the issue of anti-semitism at Rutgers University, in which it predictably sides with the pro-Palestinian cause. It concerns a 7-year-old case at Rutgers, an institution, which, in recent years, has been plagued with anti-Jewish sentiment. It also takes a shot at Kenneth Marcus, the newly confirmed asst.secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education. Marcus is characterized as a “longtime opponent of Palestinian rights causes”, a label I take issue with.

“The move by Kenneth L. Marcus, the assistant secretary of education for civil rights and a longtime opponent of Palestinian rights causes, signaled a significant policy shift on civil rights enforcement — and injected federal authority in the contentious fights over Israel that have divided campuses across the country.”

Full disclosure. I know Mr Marcus and have met with him on a few occasions in connection with campus anti-Semitism issues in California. While he is a supporter of Israel and an activist in campus anti-semitism issues, he is a fair man who, in my opinion, will enforce fairness for all, not just Jewish students.

And it comes after the Trump administration moved the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, moved to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority and announced the closing of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington.”

I’m not sure what the connection is here, but the Times would never pass up an opportunity to tar someone with the “specter” of President Trump, whom the Times considers its number one boogey man.

“Middle Eastern studies programs at universities around the country have braced for action from Washington against perceived bias.”

Perceived bias? Middle East Studies departments across the nation, from Columbia to UCLA and in-between are hotbeds of anti-Israel, anti-US, anti-West, pan-Arab propaganda.

“In so doing, the Education Department embraced Judaism as an ethnicity and adopted a hotly contested definition of anti-Semitism that included “denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination” by, for example, “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” and “applying double standards by requiring of” Israel “a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

The reason for the above is that the Civil Rights Act omitted religion from protected classifications because Congress wanted to avoid the religious area altogether. This was a sticking point in the 2007-2008 complaint against UC Irvine for anti-semitism. Rather than deal with the complaints of harassment from Jewish students based on their religion, DOE/Office of Civil Rights instead had to search for student victims who were Israeli nationals, and there were none. While one can argue that Judaism is a religion and not an ethnicity, the worst anti-semites of all time-the Nazis- cared less about religious questions. To them, Jews were an inferior race polluting not Aryan religious beliefs, rather Aryan blood. In addition, the State Department definition of anti-semitism includes the above quoted example as well as denying the Jewish people a right to their own homeland, equating Israel with Nazism, and holding all Jews responsible for the perceived wrongs of Israel.

“In effect, Arab-American activists say, the government is declaring the Palestinian cause anti-Semitic.”

The Palestinian cause is, indeed, anti-semitic. The Hamas Charter in Gaza quotes the cute little hadith that talks of ‘the day of Atonement when the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will call out to the Muslim, “O Muslim. There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him.” Hamas wants nothing less than the total obliteration of the Jewish state of Israel. Meanwhile, in the West Bank (Those are the folks Israel is supposed to make a peace treaty with.) schools teach the kiddies to grow up to be martyrs and kill the Jews, whom after all, are “descendents of apes and pigs.” Yes, the Palestinian cause is absolutely anti-semitic.

“Mr. Marcus, who was confirmed in June, was tapped to lead the Office for Civil Rights from his job leading the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a nonprofit advocacy organization that Mr. Marcus used to pressure campuses to squelch anti-Israel speech and activities.”

Wrong. The Brandeis Center did not and does not quarrel with criticism of Israel per se, which is protected speech. It is when Jewish students are harassed and bullied for their pro-Israel beliefs that the Brandeis Center has spoken out.

This is exactly what we feared would happen — he has a long track record of pressuring universities and government bodies to trample on free speech,” said Rahul Saksena, senior staff attorney at Palestine Legal, a Palestinian rights group. “You would think that the O.C.R. would have their hands full these days, and instead they’re using their limited resources” to reopen a case “that the Education Department spent years investigating, and had been closed.”

Palestine Legal routinely takes the pro-Palestinian narrative in these issues. I recently wrote about their lack of credibility on an issue at UC Irvine, in which I was a witness. Anything Palestine Legal puts out should be taken with more than a grain of salt.

And when the complaint was filed, a spokesman told the New Jersey Jewish News that the claims in the complaint by the Zionist Organization of America were “contrary to the true values of Rutgers University and are not supported by the facts.”

And what are the true values of Rutgers? Are they reflected in the screeds of Rutgers professors, Michael Chikindas, Jasbir Puar and Mazin Adi, all of whose right of academic freedom has been supported by Rutgers? (Chikindas was eventually suspended, with ample reason.)

In addition to the above case, Rutgers has had a litany of complaints of anti-semitic harassment of Jewish students in recent years. Yet the NY Times chooses to pooh-pooh the problems and attack Mr Marcus in what is clearly, a biased and inaccurate article.


One Response

  1. I was astonished by the open bias and hostility of the NY Times article by reporter Erica Green. It was a new low for the Times.

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