HomeJanuary 2024Fighting Antisemitism

Fighting Antisemitism

Agencies team up with law firm to create legal helpline

Sixty percent of the hate crimes in America are committed against Jews. Incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault have increased by 388 percent over the same period last year.
    Hillel International’s recent survey of Jewish college students shows that more than half polled (56 percent) say they feel scared on campus. In addition, one-in-four Jewish students (25 percent) say there has been violence or acts of hate on their campus since the war began in October. Only half of those who say there has been hate or violence say they are satisfied with their university’s response.
    For those reasons, ADL, Hillel International, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and the legal firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP have announced the Campus Antisemitism Legal Line (CALL), a free legal protection helpline for students who have experienced antisemitism on campus.
    Any student, family, faculty, or staff member can go to the CALL website or text “CALLhelp” to 51555 to report incidents of antisemitic discrimination, intimidation, harassment, vandalism, or violence that may be subject to legal action. Lawyers will assess reports of antisemitic discrimination and hate, conduct in-depth information-gathering interviews, and provide pro bono representation for victims who choose to move forward with specific cases. CALL will also provide referrals to social services, mental health counseling services, and other relevant support services in their area.  
    A legal team from ADL, the Brandeis Center, Hillel International, and Gibson Dunn will guide overall strategy and coordinate volunteer lawyers from other leading firms including Gibson Dunn and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. CALL invites volunteer lawyers from other firms and companies, as well as other organizations, to join in this effort.
    Supporting organizations include Alpha Epsilon Phi, Alpha Epsilon Pi, the American Jewish Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Jewish on Campus, the Jewish Federations of North America, JGO: The Jewish Grad Organization (formerly JGSI), the Israel on Campus Coalition, the Israeli-American Council, Masa, Olami, the OU Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus, Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Delta Tau, and Zeta Beta Tau.
    “Since the brutal terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7, there has been an alarming rise in antisemitism and hate directed toward Jewish college students,” said Adam Lehman, Hillel International President and CEO. “This is an important tool for reducing campus antisemitism. All students deserve to pursue their studies and live their full college experience in a safe and secure campus environment—and Jewish students are no exception.”
    According to Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director, “We don’t need a cancel culture on campus. We need a consequences culture. No longer will anyone be able to harass Jewish students with impunity, and no longer will a university or school be able to just look the other way.”
    While college campuses have become a hotbed of antisemitism, rising hatred against Jews goes beyond universities. Preliminary data from the ADL Center on Extremism indicates that from October 7 to 23, reported incidents of harassment, vandalism, and assault increased by 388 percent over the same period last year.
    Alyza D. Lewin, president of the Brandeis Center, said, “The frightening incidents we’re seeing on campus today did not start on October 7. They are a direct result of far too many universities failing in their legal responsibility to promptly, publicly and forcefully address the anti-Semitism that has been simmering on their campus for years. This explosion of Jew hatred was foreseeable and preventable. It’s high time for universities to enforce the law and protect their Jewish students.”
    The Brandeis Center has filed and resolved numerous federal anti-discrimination complaints with the Department of Education. The organization has heard from more Jewish students in the past three weeks than in the last year combined. 
     Barbara Becker, Gibson Dunn Chair and Managing Partner, concluded, “There is no place for antisemitism, racism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind in a just and humane society. We believe it is our responsibility and privilege to provide free legal services to communities in need, and this collaboration will serve that mission and help keep students safe.”   

Ilene Schneider has been chronicling Jewish life in Orange County for five publications since 1978. She has served as a communications consultant for a number of Jewish organizations. She is a contributing writer to Jlife Magazine.


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