Colleges reminded of legal duty to prevent harassment


NEW YORK (JTA) — An Israeli civil rights group has sent letters to 150 U.S. college presidents reminding them of their legal obligations to prevent the harassment of Jewish students on their campuses.

In its letter dated Sept. 8, the Shurat Din-Israel Law Center in Tel Aviv also reminded the administrators that their schools have a duty "to reasonably prevent university funds from being diverted to unlawful activities that are directed against the state of Israel."

The center, which according to one report was credited with mostly shutting down the second Freedom Flotilla to the Gaza Strip this summer, cites specific cases of what it calls anti-Israel hostility and Jewish harassment at Rutgers University and the University of California, Berkeley. The letter noted a recent lawsuit by a Berkeley alumnus contending that the university failed to protect her from physical attacks by a pro-Palestinian student.

While academic and political debate are a right, the letter said, "there are limits to these that students and campus officials must be made aware, especially with regard to anti-Israel activities."

The letter was signed by  Kenneth Leitner, a lawyer for the 8-year-old center, which also has offices in New York.

According to Commentary Magazine, the center was able to prevent most of the 10-boat Freedom Flotilla II from sailing  to Gaza from Greece by informing insurance companies, satellite providers and Greek authorities of potential liabilities issues stemming from the flotilla.


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