Home » Biden administration faces pressure to step up its response to antisemitic incidents on college campuses

Biden administration faces pressure to step up its response to antisemitic incidents on college campuses

by NBC News

As antisemitic incidents mushroom on college campuses, some Jewish leaders and lawmakers from both parties are accusing President Joe Biden’s administration of taking a lax approach toward enforcement of civil rights laws, exposing Jewish students to continued harassment.

They point to a surge of complaints filed with the Education Department that have yet to be resolved, creating a backlog that effectively eases pressure on school administrators to take action needed to protect Jewish students amid protests over the Israel-Hamas war.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat, sent a letter Thursday to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona objecting to the “speed of these investigations, delayed conclusions, and lack of adequate resources allocated to these investigations.”

The congressman asked Cardona for an update on the pending investigations into antisemitism on college campuses, noting that at Columbia University in New York, “the eruption of antisemitism … has created a particularly hostile environment for Jewish students.”

Neither Columbia nor the New York Police Department has released data on the number of antisemitic incidents at the school.

The tumult spreading through college campuses is especially tricky for Biden as he works to rebuild the voting coalition from the 2020 presidential race. Many of the students protesting the war in Gaza say they are unhappy with him for not bringing about a cease-fire.

At the same time, some Jewish students and their defenders are displeased that the Biden administration isn’t showing more resolve in stamping out antisemitic harassment on campus.

The breakdown in support is not so tidy, though. Plenty of Jewish Americans across the country oppose Israel’s conduct of the war and have joined with protesters in demanding a cease-fire and an end to U.S. military aid to Israel. At Columbia last week, one Jewish student stood near an encampment that has cropped up in the shadow of Butler Library and told NBC News…

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