Tell Hillel: Stand With Survivors of Sexual Assault, Withdraw Your Endorsement of Kenneth Marcus

Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of Hillel International

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Sponsored by Know Your IX a Project of Advocates for Youth, Open Hillel, and IfNotNow.

We, Jewish students, alumni, and community members call on Hillel International to withdraw its endorsement of Kenneth Marcus, Trump’s nominee for Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Department of Education.


Hillel is betraying our Jewish values by endorsing a candidate who rejects free speech and civil rights at the expense of those who face injustice. It is our responsibility as Jews to protect the civil rights of justice seekers everywhere against the creeping overreach of authoritarian governments.

Kenneth Marcus has made his career discrediting and attacking the vulnerable communities that he's now being appointed to protect. He opposes key anti-discrimination and civil rights protections for students of color, queer students, trans students, women, students with disabilities, and victims of sexual assault and harassment.

Students play a huge role in organizing for strengthened protections against sexual harassment and assault, and are a major part of the #MeToo movement that is bringing conversations around sexual violence to the fore. Marcus, on the other hand, supports the rollback of critical Title IX protections that ensure survivors of campus sexual assault will not be forced out of school.

Marcus claims to be an advocate for Jewish students on campus. But we know that Kenneth Marcus doesn’t care about students — he cares about protecting Israel from criticism at any cost. Marcus is the architect of a legal strategy to use civil rights law to suppress criticism of Israeli policy on campus. He has repeatedly lobbied state and federal lawmakers to require colleges and universities to classify support for Palestinian human rights as antisemitic. Marcus intentionally manipulates the rhetoric of civil rights to silence those who speak out against the occupation and Israel’s human rights abuses.

While multiple Jewish organizations like the National Council of Jewish Women and Jewish Women International have rejected Kenneth Marcus’ nomination, Hillel chose to endorse Marcus, calling him, “an excellent partner and collaborative leader on these issues of critical importance to Jewish students.” Yet many Jewish students are survivors of sexual assault and are fighting for the very protections that Marcus seeks to eliminate. Furthermore, many Jewish students are members of the marginalized communities whose rights Marcus consistently disregards.   Hillel clearly prioritized its anti-BDS, pro-occupation donors over the students it claims to represent.

Hillel International cannot claim to be in service of Jewish students when their endorsement of Ken Marcus makes it obvious that they care more about protecting Israel from criticism than protecting the civil rights of marginalized students.

We reject Hillel International’s pro-Israel-at-any-cost politics. We are yearning for a Jewish community on our campuses that is rooted in the core Jewish values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and open discourse, and which stands in solidarity with those facing oppression within and beyond our community.

We demand that Hillel stand with students withdraw its endorsement of Kenneth Marcus.  

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To: Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of Hillel International
From: [Your Name]

We, Jewish students, alumni, and community members call on Hillel International to withdraw its endorsement of Kenneth Marcus, Trump’s nominee for Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Department of Education.