The US Department of Education has opened an investigation into the University of California Los Angeles for possible discrimination against Jews as a group, for having hosted a national conference of the anti-Zionist Students for Justice in Palestine organization on its campus in November 2018.
The Zachor Legal Institute submitted a complaint against UCLA at the time. The department’s Office for Civil Rights wrote to Zachor last week to inform the organization that it “is appropriate to open an investigation concerning the Student’s allegations of harassment on the basis of shared ancestry.”
SJP is a vocal and prominent pro-Palestinian advocacy group, which has strongly promoted the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel and is opposed to the Jewish state.
On its 2018 national conference website, it stated in one of the goals of the conference that “Zionism is a human ideology and a set of laws that have been challenged and can be destroyed,” and that “Zionism is ethnic cleansing, destruction, mass expulsion, apartheid and death.”
Zachor contacted UCLA’s administration to challenge its decision to host the SJP conference, but was rebuffed. When the conference began, Zachor received numerous reports of discrimination from students at UCLA, and so filed a complaint with the department under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
In its letter to Zachor, the Department of Education said that it was “appropriate to open an investigation” due to allegations of “harassment on the basis of shared ancestry.” Specifically, the department will be looking at UCLA’s failure to respond appropriately to the complaint of a student, “that he was subjected to harassment that created a hostile environment based on shared ancestry.”