The Zionist Organization of America condemned the U.S. government's Office for Civil Rights on Wednesday for failing to protect Jewish students it says have been subject to a series of anti-Semitic provocations on the campus of the University of California, Irvine.
The ZOA alleged that Muslim students on campus have given anti-Semitic speeches, distributed Judeophobic literature, and used intimidation tactics against Jewish students. The university's failure to take disciplinary action constitutes discrimination against Jewish students, the ZOA charges.
The Office of Civil Rights, which operates under the auspices of the Department of Education, said in a report released last week that some Muslim student activities were offensive to Jewish students.
But the report concludes the speeches, marches and other activities were based on opposition to Israeli policies, not the national origin of Jewish students.
"In its decision, OCR disregarded the fact that a Holocaust memorial was destroyed; that swastikas repeatedly defaced property on the campus; that a rock was thrown at a Jewish student; and that other Jewish students were harassed and verbally threatened with such statements as 'slaughter the Jews,' 'dirty Jew,' 'go back to Russia,' 'burn in hell,' and 'f_ _king Jew,'" the ZOA said in a press release.
In October 2004, the ZOA filed a complaint against the university under a federal statute which requires any body which receives government funding, including colleges and universities, make every effort to purge all forms of discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity from its programs and activities.
"OCR has sent a devastating message to Jews - that we don't care about your legitimate fears or your psychological and physical well-being," said ZOA chief Morton Klein, who called the decision "a disgrace."
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