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According to an investigation, administrators ignored antisemitic harassment by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

By Dion J. Pierre, Algemeiner

The US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has launched an investigation into Chapman University to determine whether school administrators ignored antisemitic bullying and harassment perpetrated by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

Prompted by a complaint filed by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, the inquiry will review a slew of charges, including that the school — located in Orange, California — stood down when SJP, which the Brandeis Center describes as a “national anti-Jewish hate group,” refused to admit Jews into its club or allow them at their events, a privilege it has granted Jews at other universities to protect itself against accusations that anti-Zionism is antisemitic.

SJP’s alleged discriminatory behavior predates the Hamas terrorist group’s massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7 by a year, the complaint says.

In Oct. 2022, a Jewish student with a “Jewish sounding surname” was blocked from joining SJP, with the group delisting them from a “listserv,” an electronic mailing service.

The student attempted to join the group again after Oct. 7. They were rejected again. The complaint says that other Jewish students with “Jewish-sounding” names were treated similarly.

SJP allegedly went beyond a kind of racial discrimination not practiced openly in the US since the 1950s. According to the complaint, one of its members sent a death threat to a Jewish student after Oct. 7 because she responded to a post in which he wished for “death to all Israelis who follow Zionism,” asking if he hoped that she would meet the same fate.

“F—k yeah I want you and all Zionist trash bags dead the f—k kinda question is that,” the SJP member responded. Afterward, the complaint continues, he inundated the Jewish student with “messages accusing her of not being a real Jew” and claiming that “Zionism is terrorism.”

The Brandeis Center stresses that the student who issued the threat was never punished by the university. While the school did investigate his behavior, it declined to restrict his access to campus.

Since then, he has allegedly threatened another Jewish student, whom he badgered for their address, with death and filmed himself desecrating a memorial on school grounds which commemorated the over 1,200 people murdered by Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists on Oct. 7.

The onslaught in southern Israel was the biggest single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

The university’s alleged neglect was a material failure and violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Brandeis Center hopes OCR’s investigation will show.

“Antisemitism continues to run rampant on college campuses. Too many universities are refusing to do what’s needed to address these civil rights violations.

It is imperative that federal officials enforce the law,” Kenneth Marcus, chairman of the Brandeis Center and a former US assistant secretary of education, said in a statement on Monday.

“It is about time that the federal government is finally investigating Students for Justice in Palestine’s discriminatory activities. We welcome this outcome and look forward to pursuing the case to implement needed remedies to address past violations and stop future wrongs.”

Chapman University did not respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment for this story.

Chapman is not the only higher education institution against which the Brandeis Center has filed a legal complaint.

The group, founded in 2012 by Kenneth Marcus, sued Harvard University in federal court last month, alleging that administrators there have been ignoring antisemitism since before Oct. 7 prompted an explosion of anti-Jewish hatred across the world.

Focusing on the conduct of Harvard Kennedy School professor Marshall Ganz, the group’s complaint alleges that Ganz refused to accept a group project submitted by Israeli students because they described Israel as a “liberal Jewish democracy.”

Ganz castigated the students over their premise, the Brandeis Center says, accusing them of “white supremacy” without allowing them to defend themselves.

Later, Ganz allegedly forced the Israeli students to attend “a class exercise on Palestinian solidarity” and the taking of a class photograph in which their classmates and teaching fellows “wore ‘keffiyehs’ as a symbol of Palestinian support.”

The Brandeis Center is also fighting civil rights violations at K-12 schools.

It recently prevailed in case brought forth on behalf of a North Carolina middle schooler who was bullied for being “perceived” as Jewish.

The Community School of Davidson agreed to settle a complaint alleging that it failed to address a series of heinous antisemitic incidents in which a non-Jewish student, whose name is redacted from public record, was called a “dirty Jew,” told that “the oven is that way,” and battered with other denigrating comments too vulgar for publication.

“The Jewish community was slower than we should have been to grasp the threat posed by antisemitism in higher education.

Now we’re in danger of repeating the same problem in elementary and secondary education,” Marcus told The Algemeiner during an interview earlier this month.

“It is horrifying to acknowledge, but the fact is that the situation in many high schools is starting to replicate some of our most worrisome campuses. Elementary schools are not safe either.

One ramification is that college campuses may get even worse, as entering freshmen arrive after having already been indoctrinated while in elementary and secondary schools.”


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