WASHINGTON – Ten organizations have announced a coordinated effort to convince Congress to reform the Higher Education Act to prevent federal funding of anti-American and anti-Israel activity.
Congress currently is considering the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, or HEA, which includes the allocation of federal funds to 129 international studies and foreign language centers at universities nationwide.
Most of the ten organizations working on the reform effort are Jewish.
Organizations involved in education, the Jewish community and civil rights are working together 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 upon 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 include Accuracy in Academia, AMCHA Initiative, American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, Endowment for Middle East Truth, The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Middle East Forum, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and 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 set September 23, a day before the start of Rosh Hashanah, as International Day of Action on College Campuses. That 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 national director.