Tomorrow morning the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will decide on Trump’s pick of anti-Palestinian rights crusader Kenneth Marcus to be Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Department of Education. Marcus has built his career on targeting student activism and free-speech, especially speech critical of the Israeli government. He has also been a vocal opponent of LGBTQ rights and affirmative action. He is unfit to protect anyone’s civil rights, especially students!
The Department of Education office Marcus would be running is meant to protect students from systematic discrimination. But Marcus has spent years trying to intimidate and silence students who organize for Palestinian rights.
- In 2012, Marcus filed a Title VI discrimination complaint against UC Berkeley for student construction of mock checkpoint and introduction of a divestment resolution. The Department of Education threw the case out.
- In 2016, Marcus accused UC Davis students organizing for racial justice and Palestinian rights of being an “angry mob.” He demanded they be punished. But, the university found the charges to be unsubstantiated.
- In 2010, Marcus opposed investigations of human rights violations, including for LGBTQ persons, by the US Commission on Civil Rights
- Marcus campaigns for the Department of Education to use a watered-down definition of anti-semitism that includes virtually all criticism of Israel
And the list goes on.
So far, Marcus’s attempts to curtail and punish student activism have been unsuccessful, and the Department of Education has reaffirmed that organizing for Palestinian rights is protected political speech. But, if confirmed, he will be in the very position to make those decisions.
Student organizers inspire us all. They are at the forefront of the fight for Palestinian rights. Instead of curtailing their First Amendment rights, let’s curtail the reach of Kenneth Marcus! Don't forget to share this message on Twitter and Facebook!
Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Haley, Jodie, Katie, Mariana, Mark, Mary, Medea, Nancy, Paki, Taylor, and Tighe
P.S. If you are concerned about the children of Gaza, you should be concerned about the relationship between the state of Israel and weapons giant Lockheed Martin. Join us tomorrow, December 5 at 4pm EST (1pm PST) for our webinar on how to Divest from the War Machine.