US/World News

Education official Kenneth Marcus returns to Jewish civil rights agency

(JTA) – A top-ranking official at the U.S. Education Department is returning to the organization he started eight years ago to combat antisemitism at colleges and universities. Kenneth Marcus will become chairman of the board of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law after two years as the education department’s assistant secretary for civil rights. 

Marcus was confirmed in 2018 after a bruising process in which not a single Democrat supported him. In his role at the department, Marcus built on his work fighting the boycott Israel movement and campus antisemitism through the Brandeis Center. Marcus notably reopened a case involving Rutgers University and a forum there in 2011 that Jewish students said involved harassment. He widely employed the State Department’s definition of antisemitism, which includes some types of anti-Israel activity, to investigate claims of discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The definition includes “applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” and holding Jews collectively responsible for Israel’s actions.

Alyza Lewin, who took over for him at the Brandeis Center, said Marcus’ return is welcome at a time when online antisemitic activity is on the rise. “The services and guidance provided by the Brandeis Center have become crucially important to students on the front lines battling this scourge,” she said in a statement. “There is no one more knowledgeable and experienced in this field than Kenneth Marcus, and we are thrilled that the Brandeis Center will once again be the vehicle for him to share his expertise.”

Main Photo: Kenneth Marcus in 2017. (Facebook)

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