Head Of Anti-Palestinian Group Is Now Top Civil Rights Enforcer

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Above photo: Growing waves of legislation intend to silence and punish boycott activists in the US. (Stephen Melkisethian, Flickr)

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Washington, DC – In a troubling move for students and Palestine rights activists, the Trump administration has tapped Kenneth Marcus as the top civil rights enforcer at the US Department of Education.

He will lead the department’s Office of Civil Rights.

Marcus is the head of the Brandeis Center for Human Rights, an Israel advocacy group that has for years worked to smear Palestine solidarity activism as anti-Semitism. It has no affiliation with the better known Brandeis University.

Since 2010, Marcus’ key strategy has been to file civil rights complaints with the Office of Civil Rights claiming that universities were failing to protect Jewish students by not cracking down on the Palestine solidarity movement, especially the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

The tactic was unsuccessful. But now, Marcus himself will be in charge of investigating such complaints.

Marcus’ appointment comes just weeks after Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rolled back regulations aimed at protecting victims of campus sexual assault.

Abuse of civil rights law

Marcus previously served as the Office of Civil Rights’ top enforcement officer from 2002-2004, under President George W. Bush, and has held other government jobs.

He is author of the strategy Israel advocacy groups have used to instigate federal crackdowns on Palestine solidarity activism by filing complaints under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The act obligates administrators to ensure that there is no discrimination based on race or national origin in institutions that receive federal funding.

In 2010, the Obama administration expanded its interpretation of the law to include religion, opening the way for complaints alleging that Palestine advocacy harms Jewish students.

In 2013, the Office of Civil Rights threw out Title VI complaints filed against the University of California campuses at BerkeleySanta Cruz and Irvine.

The previous year the department threw out a similar complaint against Barnard College.

Repressive bill

These decisions marked a setback to Marcus’ strategy which was based on advancing the notion that Palestine rights activism on US campuses is inherently anti-Semitic.

Earlier this year, Marcus testified in support of a bill in the South Carolina legislature aimed at censoring Palestine advocacy on campuses.

legal memo from civil and human rights groups said the bill sought to unconstitutionally amend South Carolina’s education law “by directing public colleges and universities to classify virtually all political speech critical of Israel and Israeli government policies as anti-Semitic.”

Opposition from activists – including members of Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of South Carolina – helped defeat the bill in the state senate.

Inside job

As the top civil rights enforcer, Marcus “will do from the inside the Department of Education what he has failed to do from the outside: advance Title VI cases that push universities to punish students who exercise their First Amendment right to advocate for justice in Palestine,” said Dima Khalidi, director of Palestine Legal.

Warning his appointment could be “catastrophic,” Jewish Voice for Peace’s academic advisory council has launched a petition for educators to oppose Marcus’ new position.

“His tactics dilute the definition of anti-Semitism so much that it becomes useless, and have contributed to widespread repression on college campuses, where students and faculty fear studying Palestinian history or advocating for Palestinian rights,” Jewish Voice for Peace said.

This appointment comes as more than 20 states have adopted measures ostracizing or attempting to restrict the BDS movement.

Last week, it was revealed that a city in Texas required residents to verify that they do not boycott Israel in order to receive aid to rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

Earlier this month, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a teacher in Kansas who is being required to repudiate boycotts of Israel as a condition for taking on a state contract as a trainer.

Currently, the US Congress is considering the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which could impose prison and heavy fines on companies or their personnel accused of abiding by boycotts of Israel called for by international organizations.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act currently has 266 sponsors in the House and 50 in the Senate.

“Make the enemy pay”

Although pro-Israel lawfare groups have suffered rounding defeats when their claims end up before judges, they have been undeterred.

Last year, another Israel-aligned litigation group, the Lawfare Project, indicated that it was preparing another round of Title VI challenges against US universities despite the strategy’s previous failures.

“The goal is to make the enemy pay,” Brooke Goldstein, the Lawfare Project’s director, said.

With Kenneth Marcus now at the helm of the Office of Civil Rights, those targeted by such complaints will have anything but an impartial adjudicator in charge of investigating them.

His new role will be a boon for Israel lobby groups seeking to silence campus organizing for Palestinian human rights, censor educators who teach about Israeli and Palestinian history and even shut down Students for Justice in Palestine chapters.

“Marcus has no business enforcing civil rights laws when he has explicitly used such laws to chill the speech activities and violate the civil rights of Arab, Muslim, Jewish and other students who advocate for Palestinian rights,” Palestine Legal’s Khalidi added.

“His appointment will only further the white supremacist and anti-Muslim agenda of the Trump administration.”

  • tibetan cowboy

    How many 10s of millions of Americans want Trump disappeared asap?

  • Robert H. Stiver

    Great post; thank you. They’re (Zionists’re) everywhere: Treasury, Education, State, OPOTUS, Congress, SCOTUS, MSM, state and local outposts….

    We, the People, need a Second Declaration of Independence, but we’re not going to get one: we are too entangled and strangled by those who are everywhere. Get used to it, We the Sheople, are on the way to being hewers of wood and carriers of water for the two percent of the population who are everywhere at the power-and-influence centers.

    Never forget Palestine in this sordid, satanic mix. Palestine Is Still THE Issue!

  • Lili-Ann Berg

    You should read the excellent article by John Steppling: “Fixation on Trump’s Crimes Distracts from (a) Criminal System, a system in which crime is an inbuilt factor. Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump, they are only the figureheads that carry water for the system and the system is the property of the ruling class. Trump is just a continuation of a prevailing policy.”
    One of the things Steppling mention is that “nobody likes Trump, but they liked Obama, that’s why he was able to do so much harm.”
    There’s hardly a corner of this planet free of US criminal intervention, greed and violence. Thousands of innocent people are slaughtered or displaced every day due to the omnipresent force of American militarism and hegemonic ambitions. Donald Trump is nothing but a pawn, a vulgar clown amusing or disgusting his insouciant audience while the real action goes on behind the scenes.

  • DHFabian

    The reason “pro-Palestinian” groups are considered anti-jewish is that their goal is the destruction of the sole Jewish nation, the establishment of a “pure” Moslem Mideast.. If you don’t think people get touchy about that sort of thing, consider the US response to 9/11.

    As tiny as Israel is, Jews are indigenous to this bit of land. They regained the right to self-govern in 1948. Americans, with all their “outrage” against the Jews for trying to survive in their own homeland, could spend some time talking about who are the rightful owners of the land that we occupy right here.

  • DHFabian

    Fan of the Protocol of the Elders? (Zionism, incidentally, is about the right of the Jewish people to re-establish and self-govern the Jewish nation.) Besides, the anti-Jewish thing is just so 1930s. Obviously, Russians took over here. They stole the election after seeping into: Treasury, Education, State, OPOTUS (?), Congress, SCOTUS (fill in the blanks). They’ve infiltrated US churches and schools, hidden under American beds. Old Joe McCarthy warned us about this!

  • kevinzeese

    No matter what facts you are presented with you keep publishing false statement. The land for Israel was stolen from Palestinians. That is a fact you ignore. Most Jews are not indigenous to the area. You are just a Zionist who continuously lies for Israel.

  • Helen4Yemen

    Bernie Sanders = 97.7% Ashkenazi

    Larry David = 97.8% Ashkenazi

    Larry David and Bernie Sanders are cousins.

    What are the chances either one can be related to anyone Middle Eastern? ZERO%!

    You can keep hallucinating about a purely European people the Ashkenazi being indigenous to the Middle East, but it still remains a fantasy and nothing else.

  • Helen4Yemen

    Question:

    1) Does the Ashkenazi claim to be a HYBRID of European women and Israelite men?

    2) According to Jewish law, that makes every Ashkenazi non-Jewish since their mothers were European gentile women.

    3) Since the Israelite abandoned their women and left them behind, those Jewish women who were abandoned were the mothers of today’s Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians who are in fact the real descendants of the ancient Jews.

  • Helen4Yemen

    What do the Palestinians have in common with the indigenous people of the land that they now call “North America”?

    a) The colonizers were both white Europeans

    b) The colonized were dark-skinned people of color

    c) Both white Europeans wanted only the land and not the people.

    d) Both white Europeans attempted the total remove of the indigenous peoples by expulsion or genocide.

  • Helen4Yemen

    COLONIALISM NOT = SELF DETERMINATION!

    A rose by any other name is a rose. The European says he is Israelite and “coming back”, but the world knows that he is nothing more than a European colonial settler like the French in Algeria.

    Here are a few quotes from Vladimir Jabotinsky’s “The Iron Wall”, 1923.

    1 Colonization itself has its own explanation, integral and inescapable, and understood by every Arab and every Jew with his wits about him. Colonization can have only one goal. For the Palestinian Arabs this goal is inadmissible. This is in the nature of things. To change that nature is impossible.

    2 Their voluntary agreement is out of the question. Hence those who hold that an agreement with the natives is an essential condition for Zionism can now say “no” and depart from Zionism. Zionist Colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This Colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy.

    3 I do not believe that they will be hurt. Except for those who were born blind, they realised long ago that it is utterly impossible to obtain the voluntary consent of the Palestine Arabs for converting Palestine from an Arab country into a country with a Jewish majority.

    4 My readers have a general idea of the history of colonisation in other countries. I suggest that they consider all the precedents with which they are acquainted, and see whether there is one solitary instance of any colonisation being carried on with the consent of the native population. There is no such precedent. The native populations, civilised or uncivilised, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, irrespective of whether they were civilised or savage. And it made no difference whatever whether the colonists behaved decently or not.

    5 All Natives Resist colonists.There is no justification for such a belief. It may be that some individual Arabs take bribes. But that does not mean that the Arab people of Palestine as a whole will sell that fervent patriotism that they guard so jealously, and which even the Papuans will never sell. Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonosed.

    6 Colonisation carries its own explanation, the only possible explanation, unalterable and as clear as daylight to every ordinary Jew and every ordinary Arab. colonisation can have only one aim, and Palestine Arabs cannot accept this aim. It lies in the very nature of things, and in this particular regard nature cannot be changed.

    7 Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.

    8 But that does not mean that the Arab people of Palestine as a whole will sell that fervent patriotism that they guard so jealously, and which even the Papuans will never sell. Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonosed.

    9 colonisation can have only one aim, and Palestine Arabs cannot accept this aim. It lies in the very nature of things, and in this particular regard nature cannot be changed.

    10 Let us consider for a moment the point of view of those to whom this seems immoral. We shall trace the root of the evil to this – that we are seeking to colonise a country against the wishes of its population, in other words, by force. Everything else that is undesirable grows out of this root with axiomatic inevitability. What then is to be done?

    11 The simplest way out would be to look for a different country to colonise. Like Uganda. But if we look more closely into the matter we shall find that the same evil exists there, too. Uganda also has a native population, which consciously or unconsciously as in every other instance in history, will resist the coming of the colonisers.

  • Helen4Yemen

    Ashkenazi did not come looking for “bit of land”, did he? He wanted “Greater Israel”, did he not?

    “Area: from the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates”.
    Herzl Complete Diaris – page 711

    This is “Greater Israel”:

    ♦ All of Palestine
    ♦ All of Jordan
    ♦ All Lebanon
    ♦ 2/3 of Syria
    ♦ 1/2 of Saudi Arabia
    ♦ Egypt up to the Nile

    And it would displace 70,000,000 who already live in those areas if European Jewry could succeeded in what he had been salivating after.

  • Helen4Yemen

    What “Jewish people”? 95% of world Jewry is white European
    with the utmost contempt for the other Jews of color. Yemenite
    children were murdered to be experimented upon. The white
    Jew was trying to create a new drug for sickle cell anemia to be
    sold in America. Sick cell is a genetic disorder that affects
    mainly black Americans. The white Jews said they believed
    the Yemenite Jews had what they called “Negro blood” and
    therefore why go to Africa or anywhere else looking for “negro
    blood” while you have already “negro Jews” from Yemen,
    right? It is vile, it is disgusting. Now tell me when did the Nazis
    resort to such horrors against other human beings? You do not
    believe me? Simply google: “Yemenite children negro blood”.
    Black Jews were destined for total elimination when the white
    Jews forcefully sterilized black women because they did not
    want the idea of too many black Jews multiplying. In one
    decade, the birth rate among black Jews fell by 50%. You do
    not believe me? Google: “Ethiopian women injected with birth
    control”. Now who is the Nazi?

  • Helen4Yemen

    Who are “re-establishing”? Are they Israelite or Israelite-European half-breeds or are they Middle Eastern?

  • Helen4Yemen

    For over a thousand years, there were no Jews living in Palestine.

    In 1882 when European Jewry arrived in Palestine as Zionist colonial settlers, they found:

    • 400,000 Arabic-speaking indigenous Palestinian Muslims (78%)

    • 40,000 Arabic-speaking indigenous Palestinian Christians (6%)

    • 15,000 YIDDISH-SPEAKING European Jews (3%)

    All the 15,000 Jews were migrants from Eastern Europe who had arrived in the 1830′s and 1840′s to live on halukka (charity) sent them to from abroad. Make no mistake about it that these indigent Jews of Eastern Europe were sent to plant the seed for Jewish presence on that land before the stampede to colonize the land would begin by European Jewry.

  • What right?

  • How shallow your argument truly is when time after time and again you completely fail to defend your comments or back it up with a logical argument.

    If anything you’re providing fresh evidence of how shallow and morally bankrupt Israel truly is.

  • AlanMacDonald

    I tried to comment (and give credit) on this excellent article by
    Kevin and Margaret on Truth Dig — although they often censor me there
    at TD:

    Nice to see Kevin and Dr. Flowers (from the fabulously revealing “Popular
    Resistance”) writing about his founding meta-causal cancerous issue of
    the October 2011 DC movement they started — which was EMPIRE.

    Now that I think about it, the concurrent “Occupy WS” movement in NYC —
    which became more popular with its somewhat limited single issue of
    ‘income inequality’ — sort of reminds me of the Microsoft DOS Intel
    8088/286/386 … WinTel duopoly becoming more popular than the vastly
    superior UNIX 68020 VM alliance that was overshadowed by the WinTel
    Empire and thus retarded the humanistic promise of information
    enlightenment by three decades (just as the dead-end IBM 360/70 monopoly
    Empire era/error did in the preceding decades).

    In
    fact, now that I think even more about it, the Exxon Empire (see Steven
    Coll’s “Private Empire” below), of fossil fuel ‘negative externality
    cost
    dumping’ to generate faux-profits and fame is another example of an
    Empire driven strategy (and lack of ‘ethics’)

    “ExxonMobil
    has cut a ruthless path through the Age of Oil. Yet intense secrecy has
    kept one of the world’s largest companies a mystery, until now. Private
    Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power is a masterful study of Big Oil’s
    biggest player. . . . Coll’s in-depth reporting, buttressed by his
    anecdotal
    prose, make Private Empire a must-read. Consider Private Empire a sequel
    of sorts to The Prize, Daniel Yergin’s Pulitzer Prize–winning history
    of the oil industry. . . . Coll’s portrait of ExxonMobil is both
    riveting and appalling. . . . Yet Private Empire is not so much an
    indictment as a fascinating look into American business and politics.”

    Coll, Steve (2012-04-30T23:58:59). Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American
    Power (Kindle Locations 17-23). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle
    Edition. [Kindle version only $11]

    So
    what can we learn from all these examples of Empire in both a ‘bidness’
    sphere; like WinTel Microthief, IBMspymaster, Exxon’s Empire and now
    — like our commercial real estate “Looter in Chief” — and in the
    political sphere, where a certain real estate developer crook
    transferred his power in an insane “New York crooked developer’s
    Minute”?

    Well, I would argue that EMPIRE is the cancerous
    commonality of; lies, looting, foreign wars of exploitation, and
    domestic tyranny which is always in style with the UHNWI’s who head-up
    this current, and yet only partially diagnosed first in human history;
    ‘effectively-Disguised’, ‘truly-Global’, and crony ‘Capitalist-fueled’
    EMPIRE by merely ‘going into the streets’ and
    loudly, publicly, consistently, but non-violently firing a “Shout (not
    shot) heard round the world” that our country is now an EMPIRE, and that
    ‘we the American people’ need an essential Second American people’s
    patriotic peaceful “Political/economic and socialist Revolution Against
    Empire” in order to restore our country to our people!

    As I shouted to Bernie Sanders in Manchester NH. a year ago at an AFL-CIO
    presentation, “Bernie, be a real socialist” and”Speak-out against this
    Empire”.

    We
    the American people, like Martin Luther King AND Bernie have to “Break
    the Silence”(not just the Silence on the illegal and immoral Vietnam War
    — and speak-out against our own country’s disease of being infected
    by the cancer of EMPIRE before it is too late to heal her.

  • AlanMacDonald

    Kevin, rather than my being more expansive on the issue of Empire, I will focus like an effin laser on the very direct and very dangerous connection between precisely the issue of this article and the disease of Empire and “Empire thinking” — because any further tilt toward aggression on this issue is likely to be heading down a slippery slope toward unnecessary violence.

    Here is what I wrote more than a decade ago on this very issue:

    “The last people in the world who should want to stay
    in (or ever promote) a world of tribalism, are the Muslims and Jews —-
    based on how they have been abused by various nationalism and other modern “-ism” Empires.

    Fighter pilots have a saying that, “speed is life”.
    But, for all the rest of us, “inclusiveness is life” — and
    tribalism is death by the oldest lie of empire.

    Racism is another deadly old lie of empire, as is aggressively
    fundamentalist religion.

    Nationalism is a somewhat newer lie of empire, proving
    particularly deadly in the 20th century.

    While, economic ideology is the newest, and current,
    lie of empire (which is causing our economic and environmental collapse).

    But all the lies and deceptions of “empire-thinking”
    lead ineluctably to the very same grave — so choose your empire poison,
    stupidly. Or choose your inclusiveness, wisely.”

    Full text of full article:

    http://rense.com/general88/aip.htm

    The deadly problem is ‘Empire-thinking’ — and, of course, “Empire-acting”.

    This BDS vs. Anti-BDS confrontation, particularly between the U.S. HQed metropole of this DGCEmpire and the Middle East ‘border fort’ of the same Empire could very well get very ugly very fast if ‘democracy-thinking’ peaceful parties, citizens, and sane peace-makers of both former countries do not get involved and defuse this very quickly.