Catholic University Law Review


Alyza D. Lewin


This article answers the false assertion that Zionism is nothing more than a political movement that should be abandoned by Jewish students on American university campuses. Yearning for the Land of Israel and Jerusalem is, in fact, a deep spiritual integral part of Jewish identity. It dates back 3000 years to Biblical times. The connection of Jews to Zion is a key component of Jews' shared ancestry and ethnicity and has persisted throughout Jewish history. This dedication is demonstrated today by the custom that concludes a Jewish wedding ceremony and by the declaration ending the Passover Seder. Harassment of students who express their Jewish identity by supporting Israel is as much anti-Semitism as demands that they stop eating kosher food. Zionism's opponents claim that the Jewish people have no right to self-determination in the Land of Israel. This amounts to anti-Semitism under the definition of that term adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance ("IHRA"). That definition has been adopted by many countries and by the US Department of State. The article discusses an egregious event disruption by anti-Israel protesters in May 2018 at the University of California, Los Angeles ("UCLA") and the national conference at UCLA of Students for Justice in Palestine ("SJP") in November 2018. One available remedy for harassment of Zionist students on campus is legal action under 42 USC 1983. An administrative remedy can also be pursued by filing a complaint under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights against a university administration that fails to protect Jewish students from discrimination. This misfeasance constitutes discrimination based on national origin and is equivalent to racial and ethnic discrimination. The Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law has recently initiated its new "JIGSAW" program to provide law student assistance to Jewish undergraduates who are harassed on their campuses because of their support for the State of Israel.