Huh? NYT’s Odd Attack on Trump Nominee: He Fights Too Hard Against Campus Anti-Semitism

January 19th, 2018 5:20 PM

New York Times education reporter Erica Green picked a bizarre fight against a Trump nominee for being too concerned about anti-Semitic violence on campus -- reminding readers how hostile the paper is to pro-Israel voices and how accommodating it can be to radical pro-Islamic ones: “An Advocate for Israel, Named to a Civil Rights Post, Draws Criticism” was the headline in Friday’s Times. The text box took anti-Israel critics to heart: “Opponents see a narrow focus as a hurdle to fairness.”

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison had gathered last spring to consider a resolution calling on the university to divest in companies and countries that abuse human rights, profit from the “military-industrial complex” and promote fossil fuels when the debate jumped the rails.

Soon, the students were in a full-scale battle over whether the resolution should cover Israel, with charges of anti-Semitism and racism rattling the room. A student representative who was Jewish said that the last-minute inclusion of Israel “crossed the line from legitimate conversation to a point where I consider it malicious.” The student government chairwoman, who is black, suggested the opposition to the resolution amounted to “white supremacy,” which she condemned with a four-letter expletive.

In the aftermath, Kenneth L. Marcus, the founder and president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, decided to enter the fray, writing to university administrators to denounce calls for divestment from Israel as anti-Semitic, and to assail the meeting as hostile toward Jewish students. He urged that the black student leader be disciplined.

Green didn’t portray anti-Semitism on campus as an urgent matter.

On Thursday, Mr. Marcus received the approval of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to be President Trump’s assistant secretary for civil rights in the Education Department, a prestigious post known more for policing racial bias and sexual violence in schools than refereeing the battles over Israel and Palestinian rights on the nation’s university campuses.


Critics see him as a biased crusader whose singular focus on what he believes to be rising anti-Semitism on the campus left will further impede the Education Department’s already tentative efforts to enforce civil rights protections for marginalized groups of students.

Marcus remained “dangerous,” at least to left-wing pressure groups (or “human rights groups”), and:

His critics question whether he will fulfill the office’s goal to stand up for all students. More than 30 civil rights organizations wrote a letter to the Senate Education Committee urging his rejection.

Green cited as negative the Trump administration’s insistence on due process for the accused.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights also questioned his support for Ms. DeVos’s decision to rescind Obama-era guidance that strengthened processes for investigating sexual assault on college campuses....

At the Times, combating anti-Semitism like the BDS movement is considered an overly “narrow agenda.”

Human rights groups also expressed concern that Mr. Marcus will use his office to further a more narrow agenda: combating the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement on college campuses, which he believes has devolved into violent, anti-Semitic harassment.