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Plan gains to recognize campus harassment of Jewish students as a Civil Rights violation

August 10, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW YORK (Press Release)—The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) praises U.S. Reps. Michael E. McMahon (D-NY) and Gary C. Peters (D-MI) for urging the Department of Education to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation. 

In a letter sent Monday, August 9,  to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Reps. McMahon and Peters joined three dozen other Members of Congress in supporting the ZOA’s long-held position that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be enforced to protect Jewish students, consistent with policy statements issued by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights in 2004.  Title VI requires recipients of federal funding to ensure that their programs and activities are free from racial and ethnic discrimination. 

In July 2010, 36 Members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary Duncan, urging that Jewish students be protected from harassment and intimidation under Title VI. 

The two congressional letters to Secretary Duncan followed from a well-attended June 2010 congressional briefing convened by U.S Rep. Ron Klein (D-FL), co-chair of the Congressional Taskforce on Anti-Semitism.  Susan Tuchman, Director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, and representatives from three other organizations, briefed congressional staffers on anti-Semitic harassment on U.S. college campuses and the federal government’s role in addressing these incidents. 

In addition to Rep. Klein, the July letter to Secretary Duncan was signed by the other co-chairs of the Congressional Taskforce on Anti-Semitism — Reps. Mike Pence (R-IN), Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Chris Smith (R-NJ ) – and by Carolyn Maloney (D-NY); Shelley Berkley (D-NV); Gary Ackerman (D-NY); Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL); Ted Deutch (D-FL): Keith Ellison (D-MN); Jan Schakowsky (D-IL); Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL); Brad Sherman (D-CA); Kendrick Meek (D-FL); Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); Allyson Schwartz (D-PA); Henry Waxman (D-CA); John Adler (D-NJ); Alan Grayson (D-FL); Kathy Castor (D-FL); Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX); Rush Holt (D-NJ); Jackie Speier (D-CA); Steve Israel (D-NY); Steve Kagen (D-WI); Doug Lamborn (R-CO); Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); Jared Polis (D-CO); Michele Bachmann (R-MN); Anthony Weiner (D-NY); Sander Levin (D-MI); Steve Rothman (D-NJ); Buck McKeon (R-CA); John Yarmuth (D-KY); Adam Schiff (D-CA); and Howard L. Berman (D-CA).

Their letter stated:  “We believe that enforcing Title VI to protect Jewish students who, in rare but highly significant situations, face harassment, intimidation or discrimination based on their ancestral or ethnic characteristics – including when it is manifested as anti-Israel or anti-Zionist sentiment that crosses the line into anti-Semitism – would help ensure that we’re preserving the integrity of our higher education system by affording the same protection to all ethnic and racial groups on our college campuses.” 

Endorsing this congressional letter “in its entirety,” Reps. McMahon and Peters said in their letter to Secretary Duncan, “It is critical that our civil rights laws be enforced as broadly as possible to make sure that all students can obtain their education in an environment that is tolerant, respectful, physically and emotionally safe, and conducive to learning.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein praised Reps. McMahon and Peters for calling on the Department of Education to provide Jewish students with the same legal protections that other ethnic and racial groups are already afforded: 

“We know from our work on college campuses that Jewish students have been threatened and physically assaulted.  Some students are even afraid for their physical safety because of the hateful speakers and programs that demonize Jews and Israel.  The ZOA thanks Congressmen McMahon and Peters for joining their colleagues in the House in supporting these students and affirming their legal right to a campus environment free from anti-Semitic hostility and Israel-bashing.”

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Preceding provided by Zionist Organization of America

Rothman lauds funding for U.S.-Israel anti-missile programs

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)–U.S. Representative Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, released the following statement:

On July 27, 2010, the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a strong message – to our allies and enemies alike – by appropriating more funds than ever before toward joint U.S.-Israel and Israeli missile defense programs. This is only the latest example that when it comes to defense, military, and intelligence cooperation, the relationship between the U.S. and Israel has never been stronger.

Chairman Norm Dicks, myself and all the members of the Defense Subcommittee understand how important it is to be at the cutting edge of anti-missile technology, both to safeguard our own citizens and troops, but also those citizens and troops of our allies and friends such as the people of the Jewish state of Israel.

Given the concern and attention that we are focusing now on every dollar we are expending on behalf of the U.S. taxpayer for all purposes, including the defense of the United States and its allies, it is a mark of the importance of these projects that they were all funded so robustly and fully by our Subcommittee.

The Appropriations Defense Subcommittee has just appropriated $217.7 million in funding for essential joint U.S.-Israel missile defense programs, which is an increase of $95.7 million in funds over the original request. I am proud that since 2007, the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee has allocated more than $750 million in federal funding for the Arrow and David’s Sling anti-missile systems. Including this year’s allocation of $205 million toward Israel’s Iron Dome program, the Subcommittee has allocated nearly one billion dollars toward these three missile defense systems over the past three years.

I thank President Barack Obama, Chairman of the Defense Subcommittee, Norm Dicks, and all my colleagues on the Subcommittee for their leadership and vision in providing this life-saving support. The growing proliferation and increasing deadliness of missiles around the world pose a direct threat to the U.S. and our allies, making funding missile defense systems vitally important for America’s national security.

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Preceding provided by U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman

Israel’s Security: What the Media has Underreported

June 18, 2010 Leave a comment

By U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman

WASHINGTON, D.C. –There are six hugely important developments that have happened in the last month that will provide extraordinary help to protect Israel’s security. Unfortunately, these events have been underreported in the media:

1.     On June 9, 2010,  the U.N. Security Council passed a set of new sanctions against Iran with Russia, China, the U.S. and nine others voting in favor, with Brazil and Turkey voting no, and Lebanon abstaining.  While these sanctions will have some additional effects, and are expected to result in even greater sanctions from the Europeans and the U.S., the most immediate, as well as long term benefit of the sanctions is that Russia has agreed not to sell its S-300 anti-aircraft system to Iran!  The S-300 system is extremely difficult to overcome, according to all knowledgeable military experts.  If delivered to Iran, it would be a game-changer in Iran’s military position vis-a-vis Israel.

2.     On June 12, 2010, Saudi Arabia agreed to permit Israel to over fly a portion of its territory, should Israel feel it necessary to undertake military actions against Iran.

 
3.     On June 10, 2010, the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, publically stated that Israel should not be forced to end its blockade of Gaza.

4.     On June 9, 2010, Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas publically declared in Washington, D.C. that he and the Palestinians were ready to recognize that the Jewish people have a right to some portion of Israel and the territories.
 
5.      On May 10, 2010, Israel was admitted, unanimously, to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This enables Israel to join the world’s fellow economic powers as a co-equal, first class citizen for the first time.

 
6.      On May 13, 2010, President Barack Obama announced his intention to give the state of Israel $205 million so that Israel might purchase additional Iron Dome anti-missile defense batteries for deployment throughout the State of Israel.On May 20, 2010, the House of Representatives voted 410 – 4 to affirm President Obama’s decision. The Iron Dome Short Range Artillery Rocket Defense System is designed to intercept short-range rockets, missiles, and mortars launched by terrorists in Gaza and southern Lebanon. It can protect Israel from rockets within a range of 2.5 – 45 miles.
 
All these six items have a major, positive impact on the security of the State of Israel!

Each of these six accomplishments was only made possible with the direct, powerful, and demanding insistence of President Barack Obama. In my opinion, the big picture for Israel’s security has improved!

There is, obviously, a long way to go, but progress such as this is important not to overlook, ignore, or belittle.

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Congressman Steve Rothman (Democrat-New Jersey) is in his seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives.  He serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittees of Defense; and State and Foreign Operations, which appropriate all spending for the United States military, and all foreign aid, respectively.