November 30, 2017
Leaders of major American Jewish organizations are rallying around Kenneth L. Marcus, the nominee for assistant secretary of education for civil rights, as pro-Palestinian groups denounce him for opposing the BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanction) movement.
Marcus, an attorney, served in the Department of Education’s civil rights division and then was staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, before founding the Washington, D.C.-based Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law in 2011.
The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights is mobilizing its members against the nomination, arguing that Marcus’s efforts against BDS activity on college campuses were intended to “repress college students from organizing for Palestinian rights.”
The anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) recently announced that “over 100 faculty members” at unnamed universities had signed their petition against the Marcus nomination. The petition claimed that because of Marcus’s anti-BDS efforts, “students and faculty [on unidentified campuses] fear studying Palestinian history or advocating for Palestinian rights.” But JVP officials have not responded to multiple requests from JNS.org for a list of the alleged signatories.
A number of Jewish organizations this week endorsed Marcus.