Conference of Jewish Affairs spokesman Rabbi Aryeh Spero released the following statement today:
The Conference of Jewish Affairs applauds Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, and her department for questioning the use of federal funds at certain colleges that promote programs with “severe anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric”. One such incident happened recently at a joint Duke/University North Carolina event where a symposium on Gaza was laced with one-sided anti-Israel propaganda and followed by a rapper who performed a brazenly anti-Semitic song.
Under a federal grant from the National Resource Center, the Dept. of Education provides grants for language instruction. Secretary DeVos and her department have questioned “the lack of balance of perspective” in some of the programs using these federal funds. For example: programs developed by professors that focus a disproportionate amount of time and adoration on things Islamic with virtually no positive mention of things Jewish or Christian.
Professor Henry Reichman accused the Department of Education of interfering with academic matters, though he and his colleagues were extremely supportive of the micro-managing and agenda-pushing by the Obama administration while it was in charge of overseeing the use of federal funds, which resulted in much of the current pro-Islamic tilt and anti-Israel rhetoric that needs to be redressed.
Secretary DeVos’s inquiry as to what transpired at Duke joins a broader Department effort to root out anti-Semitism at U.S. universities as well as the chilling effect and bullying of Jewish students on campus due to the BDS movement. This form of harassment was overlooked during the Obama years despite calls by Jewish student groups looking to the federal government for rescue. In fact, Mrs. DeVos has looked into an incident at Rutgers Univ. in New Jersey where Jewish students were allegedly charged a higher fee for admission than other students for an activity on campus.
Conference of Jewish Affairs is delighted with Secretary DeVos’s fair and fresh approach to investigating matters where federal funds are involved and knows that she does so out of conviction and with the blessings of President Trump.