FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASETechnorati Tag: Israel and Antisemtism and Anti-Israel and Anti-Zionism.
October 17, 2011
JEWISH CIVIL RIGHTS GROUP LAUNCHES STUDENT HOTLINE TO COMBAT ANTI-ISRAEL HOSTILITIES ON AMERICAN CAMPUSES
(New York) Jewish civil rights group Shurat HaDin—Israel Law Center has launched the “Campus Hotline,” a manned telephone switchboard to assist university students in the United States who are subjected to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic attacks at their schools. Students and faculty are being encouraged to call the Campus Hotline at (718) 907-9258 to report to Shurat HaDin any incidents of anti-Semitism, discrimination, intimidation or harassment arising from anti-Israel activities on American college or university campuses. Shurat HaDin is also soliciting information and updates via the Hotline on BDS (the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign to delegitimize Israel) activities on campus and organized efforts to provide support for terrorist organizations.
Shurat HaDin—Israel Law Center (http://israellawcenter.org/) is an international human rights law organization dedicated to enforcing basic human rights through the legal system and to representing victims of terrorism in courtrooms around the world. The organization is based in Tel Aviv and has a newly established American office located in New York.
Recently, Shurat HaDin sent letters (http://israellawcenter.org/
uploadimages/image/Letter% 20to%20Columbia%20U.pdf) to college and university presidents around the United States warning that their schools may be subject to civil and criminal liability if they do not take necessary measures to ensure the educational rights and safety of Jewish students and faculty on their campuses. The schools were also cautioned concerning their duty to reasonably prevent university funds from being diverted to unlawful activities that are directed against the state of Israel and to be particularly vigilant in funding student organizations that may have ties to terrorist organizations or that may engage in unlawful activities abroad.
The Campus Hotline will assist Shurat HaDin in monitoring activities on college campuses and in protecting the rights of Jewish students and faculty and the security of the state of Israel. The organization is currently investigating the alarming connection between anti-Israel activists, organizations and activities in the United States and Middle East terrorism. Many extremist groups operate and recruit on college campuses. Direct contact with the students will keep the organization constantly aware of unacceptable activities and will allow it to rapidly respond with appropriate legal action. An immediate, effective legal response will have a deterrent effect on harassment, discrimination, and potentially on terrorism. Shurat HaDin’s new American office will be devoting significant time and resources to responding to calls to the Hotline. By taking advantage of its world-wide legal network, Shurat HaDin will be a formidable force in combating the ever-increasing threat to Jewish students on campuses nationwide.
Attorney Kenneth Leitner, the law center’s Director of American Affairs, said “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. Jewish students should be made aware that they have the full support of a large community of Jewish and non-Jewish advocates who will not tolerate their continued intimidation and harassment. We want to encourage pro-Israel students to stand-up for their rights and beliefs without fear.”
Mr. Leitner further stated, “it is time for us to go on the legal offensive. In the same way that Shurat HaDin pioneered the use of the courtroom to bring terrorist organizations and their state sponsors to justice, we will employ the legal system to take down campus hate groups and their off-campus financiers. 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; if not, we will legally compel them to.”
Shurat HaDin is also in the process of creating a "Report Card" to rate campuses based on their commitment to the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights guidance and to providing a safe and welcoming environment for Jewish students and faculty and for pro-Israel viewpoints. The organization expects administrators at poorly-ranked campuses to become more actively aware of both their legal obligations and their social responsibilities in responding to hostility and discrimination against Jewish students.
Kenneth Leitner, Esq.