Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Jewish Power: Denounce "anti-Semitic" posts or we’ll threaten your funding, Jewish group tells University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) has tried to play down years of incendiary comments by members and leaders of campus Muslim organizations that were recently brought to light, citing their right to free expression. But it may have to respond more forcefully if a Jewish "civil rights" group, led by a former civil rights chief at the Department of Education, follows through on its suggestion that UTK’s federal funding is at risk for tacitly enabling a “hostile environment” against Jewish students. UTK “should look upon the situation as a teachable moment and … act as educators to remind their community about their shared values,” Kenneth Marcus, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, said. “[W]e are litigators,” and though a lawsuit isn’t the group’s first choice of action, it’s “always a possibility” should the university not take steps to quell "anti-Semitism" on campus, Marcus said. Canary Mission, a secretive watchdog group that compiles dossiers on students and academics it accuses of "anti-Semitism", claimed in two releases recently that it found dozens of problematic social media posts by current and former members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at UTK. Some of those posts incited or personally threatened violence, it has claimed. In response to the administration’s subsequent denials that the campus is infested with rampant anti-Semitism, Canary Mission and Jewish campus groups doubled down, demanding stronger denunciations of the “cesspool” created by the Muslim student groups. Canary Mission said that it found a “disturbing trend” of "anti-Semitic" behavior reflected in social media posts by SJP and MSA members, naming six in particular.