Report: Audit finds U.S. Higher Education Act funding anti-Semitism at UCLA

Report: Audit finds U.S. Higher Education Act funding anti-Semitism at UCLA

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A high-profile academic center used federal funds to promote anti-Semitism on the campus of the University of California Los Angeles, a watchdog says.

The university’s Gustav E. von Grunebaum Center for Near East Studies “is promoting a one-sided, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bias to impressionable students,” Leila Beckwith said Wednesday during a Board of Regents meeting.

Beckwith is a UCLA professor emeritus and co-founder of AMCHA Initiative, the watchdog group that audited CNES events from 2010 to 2013. The CNES program, she said, “completely distorts UCLA’s scholarly and educational mission and is a violation of the Higher Education Act.”

During the period AMCHA reviewed, CNES received approximately $1.5 million from the Department of Education under Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965. In 2008, fearing that recipients would engage in biased programming, lawmakers amended the act to require recipients “reflect diverse perspectives and a wide range of views and generate debate on world regions and international affairs.”

As Congress considers reauthorizing the law, AMCHA and numerous others say the amended act is “not working.”

Nine other organizations joined AMCHA to condemn the alleged anti-Semitic programming. These groups, including Accuracy in Academia, The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, sent their report to U.S. House and Senate leaders to alert them that “Middle East centers funded under Title VI have failed to comply with federal law, by using taxpayer dollars to present biased, anti-American, anti-Israel views in their outreach programs.”

The AMCHA study reviewed all public events concerning Israel, utilizing the U.S. State Department’s own definition of anti-Semitism. Anti-Israel bias also was examined, as well as the total number of events sponsored by CNES that pertained to all Middle East countries. Biographical information was also prepared about every speaker and the three CNES directors.

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