By Jim Brown
December 2, 2005
(AgapePress) - A pro-Israel advocate is warning of an intensifying anti-Semitic climate on university campuses in the United States. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently heard testimony from Jewish groups troubled that tax dollars are being used to fund university Middle East studies programs that have a radical outlook on the U.S. and Israel.
Sarah Stern of the American Jewish Congress (AJC) testified at the hearing. She says anti-Semitism is a virus that is spreading on U.S. campuses and seems to be immune to any antidote. "It is multiplying very, very quickly on college campuses," she says, "everywhere from Columbia and Harvard in the East to San Francisco State and Berkley, UC-California at Irvine, Davis, throughout the UC system, Michigan and hundreds upon hundreds of points in between."
As she testified before the Commission, Stern says she hears "horrific stories." She asserts that many Middle East studies programs view the United States as a hegemonic power that carves up the world in the interests of its own capitalist greed and see Israel as an outpost of American colonialism.
As a result, the AJC spokeswoman says, "Throughout America there are very vulnerable Jewish kids who are being attacked, and they don't know how to respond. So I don't think the situation is very good." But unfortunately, she adds, very little light has been shed on the problem of anti-Semitism pervading U.S. academic environments.
In light of the current situation, Stern is pushing two separate congressional bills. One piece of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to ensure that university students are exposed to a diversity of perspectives on the Middle East; another in the Senate would provide a grievance procedure for students who are silenced for their conservative or pro-Israel views.
Meanwhile, some Jewish groups are clamoring for federal oversight of taxpayer-funded Middle East studies programs in American colleges and universities. However, at present the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has decided against the idea.