Will Education Nominee DeVos Respect Student Criticism of Israel?

In advance of today’s U.S. Senate confirmation hearing for Trump’s controversial Education Secretary pick, Palestine Legal and allies sent a letter to Senators urging them to question nominee Betsy DeVos on her views regarding enforcement of federal anti-discrimination laws while respecting students’ First Amendment right to criticize Israeli government policies.

In December, a controversial bill, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (ASAA), failed to pass Congress. The ASAA would have imposed on the U.S. Department of Education a definition of anti-Semitism that is so broad it would encompass virtually any criticism of Israel. If enacted, the bill would have been used to justify federal civil rights investigations of Palestine rights activism while adding no new legal protections for Jewish students.

Because the ASAA is expected to be reintroduced in Congress soon, it is crucial for Senators to question the potential DOE chief on her views regarding enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in a manner consistent with the First Amendment, particularly with regards to criticism of government policies, including foreign government policies.

Read the letter here