Jewish Community Relations Councilof San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties


Civil Rights Lawsuit against SF State alleges Anti-Semitism

June 21, 2017
Posted by: JCRC Staff

On Monday, a lawsuit claiming San Francisco State University (SFSU) is “among the worst of the worst” for anti-Semitism was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The suit, Mandel et al v. SFSU et al, was filed by six Bay Area Jewish community members, including current and former students, against SFSU and the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees, as well as more than a dozen individuals in the administration.

JCRC is not associated with this lawsuit, nor can we comment on its merits. In fact, we only learned of the suit when the news of its filing became public on Monday, June 19. However, the administration’s inaction has been well documented in the J Weekly and the suit reveals the depth of frustration felt by students and community members. Unrelated to this lawsuit, JCRC has been involved for more than two years in conversations with the SFSU administration (and for the past eight months with the CSU system, as well) about the pervasive nature of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric and activity on campus.

The suit is being brought by lawyers from The Lawfare Project, a non-profit organization that describes itself as "the legal arm of the pro-Israel community." The lawyers say the suit was triggered following "the alleged complicity of senior university administrators and police officers in the disruption of an April, 2016, speech by the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat." The Lawfare Project says it hopes the case will set an important precedent protecting the rights of all. Brooke Goldstein, director of The Lawfare Project, explained in a statement that:

This case isn’t about Jews, it’s about equal protection under the law. If the courts fail to apply Title VI [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964] in this context, we are creating a massive loophole that will ultimately be exploited at some point to target other marginalized minority communities. If we refuse to enforce anti-discrimination law for Jews, if we say Jews don’t deserve equal protection, it will erode constitutional protections for everyone.

Mandel et al v. SFSU et al - Full Text

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