Coalition bidding for ban on federal funding for anti-Israel activity on campus
Menu JTA Search

Coalition bidding for ban on federal funding for anti-Israel activity on campus

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Ten organizations, most of them Jewish, are cooperating on an effort to prevent federal funding for anti-American and anti-Israel activity on college campuses.

The coalition wants Congress to reform the Higher Education Act, or HEA, which includes the allocation of federal funds to 129 international studies and foreign language centers at universities nationwide. Congress is considering the act’s reauthorization.

The organizations, which are involved in education, the Jewish community and civil rights, are working to ensure there is oversight of universities. The goal is to require recipients of federal funding to implement grievance procedures and for the Department of Education to include a complaint resolution process.

Rabbi Meyer May, executive director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called on Congress to press the Department of Education to demand that those who receive HEA funding “guarantee that the funds will not be used to stifle the free speech of Israel advocates or to foment anti-Semitism on campus.”

The organizations involved are Accuracy in Academia, the AMCHA Initiative, the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, the Middle East Forum, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations and the Zionist Organization of America.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League is calling on university administrators to look out for the safety and well-being of Jewish students on campus due to a possible increase in anti-Israel activity around the High Holidays.

American Muslims for Palestine has set Sept. 23, the day before the start of Rosh Hashanah, as the International Day of Action on College Campuses. The group has called for the elimination of study abroad programs in Israel, a ban on university administrators traveling to Israel and an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.

“Such tactics disrupt campus life and stifle the ideals of inquiry, free expression and the civil exchange of ideas — precisely the foundation on which university communities are built,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director.