Zoe Goldblum, President of the J Street U National Student Board, released the following statement on J Street’s opposition to the confirmation of Kenneth Marcus as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the US Department of Education:
“As a movement that includes thousands of dedicated student activists across the country, J Street is alarmed by Kenneth Marcus’ positions on civil rights and particularly his support for the rollback of vital Title IX protections on college campuses. We are deeply concerned that some organizations in the American Jewish community are supporting Marcus’ nomination on the basis of his views on Israel alone, while allowing those views to excuse or distract from his unacceptable stance on sexual violence and discrimination.
This is part of a disturbing pattern. Time and again, we have seen some Jewish communal leaders defend and legitimize problematic public figures and elected officials because of their perceived support for Israel, while ignoring other crucial ways in which they are out of step with our core principles.
Students deserve an assistant secretary who will uphold all of our community’s values and priorities — including support for the fight against sexual violence and all forms of discrimination. We need government officials who will defend women and all those impacted by sexual violence, and who will fight this epidemic on college campuses and in our society. It’s evident that Marcus would be an obstacle and not an ally in this work. His record shows that he is not prepared to take a stand against the many forms of discrimination based on gender, race, sexual identity and disability that harm students today.
J Street stands with the large and diverse coalition of organizations, including the National Council of Jewish Women and Jewish Women International, that have urged the Senate to oppose Marcus’ confirmation. We stand with survivors of sexual violence as they seek the assistance they need and pursue the justice they deserve.
We urge Jewish organizations supporting Marcus solely on the basis of his pro-Israel background, without taking these concerns into consideration, to consider how their decision will impact students in our community and our country.”