Rabbi David C. Levy
Assistant Secretary of Education Kenneth L. Marcus has taken action that you say “put the weight of the federal government” behind a definition of anti-Semitism. It is known as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, and 14 years ago, the American Jewish Committee played a role in drafting it.
The definition offers a clear and comprehensive description of anti-Semitism in its various forms, including hatred and discrimination against Jews, Holocaust denial and, of particular note, anti-Semitism as it can at times relate to Israel.
The American Jewish Committee considers the working definition a powerful tool for determining issues arising out of Title VI, prohibiting discrimination, and creating a welcoming educational environment for all students.
We welcome the decision to use this definition, which recognizes that some anti-Israel conduct crosses the line into anti-Semitism and is one of several factors that may be considered in determining if an act was anti-Semitic.
Our organization appreciates the Rutgers University administration’s commitment to cooperate with any review of this case by the Education Department. As a public university with one of the largest Jewish student bodies in the country, Rutgers can be a model for fighting campus anti-Semitism.
The writer is New Jersey regional director for the American Jewish Committee.