Kristen Clarke, who leads the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, is responsible for prosecuting hate crimes and making sure that school officials don’t discriminate because of ethnicity or religion.

This means that Clarke is the official in Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Justice Department responsible for policing antisemitic hate crimes and antisemitic discrimination on campus. These incidents have spiked since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel that left 1,400 civilians dead and over 200 held hostage.

Unfortunately, there is little evidence that Clarke, who like Garland was appointed by President Joe Biden, is doing anything about antisemitic hate crimes and discrimination. And, distressingly, there are reasons to think she might not want to.

Clarke’s radical views show she is a zealous believer in the oppressor-oppressed worldview so popular among the radical Left.

At Harvard Law School, she hosted speakers who defended violent anti-government activists and murderers of police officers as “political prisoners” because they were racial minorities. She parroted pseudo-scientific black supremacist views, writing, “Melanin endows Blacks with greater mental, physical and spiritual abilities” than people with light skin.

According to former staff in the Civil Rights Division, Clarke doesn’t believe in the race-neutral application of civil rights laws. She has said that law enforcement created “decades of oppression and racial violence.” And she rushed to the defense of disgraced actor Jussie Smollett, saying that Chicago police were “demonizing” him in investigating his hate-crime hoax.

None of this is new. But the recent outbreak of vile antisemitic rhetoric from far-left activists reveals that many who share Clarke’s oppressor-oppressed worldview also have antisemitic beliefs. This is so, as my Heritage Foundation colleague Mike Gonzalez explains, because they see Israel as another “oppressor, another white settler-state just like the U.S.”

Little surprise, then, that Clarke has her own past scandals involving antisemitism. At Harvard, she invited the antisemitic and Holocaust-denying writer Tony Martin to campus to give a talk about his book “The Jewish Onslaught.” In that book, Martin argues, falsely, that an international cabal of Jews orchestrated the international slave trade. Clarke later said that it was a “mistake” to invite Martin, but she insisted that he “bases his information on indisputable fact.”  

Clarke also edited a journal with Amiri Baraka, an antisemitic and anti-white poet who wrote that Jews are “a dangerous germ culture,” that white people are a “cancer” who “can help the world’s people with [their] death,” and that Jews had inside knowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America.

When Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, asked Clarke during her confirmation hearing about her time working alongside Baraka, she denied that it ever happened.

Archived copies of the journal masthead proved that she wasn’t truthful in her sworn testimony.  

In 2018, Clarke defended left-wing activist Tamika Mallory after Mallory was criticized for making antisemitic statements, such as saying that Jews “uphold white supremacy,” and for supporting antisemitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who, like Martin, has said that Jews are responsible for the slave trade.  

Since then, Clarke has said that she doesn’t support antisemitism.

And yet, Clarke’s Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department is AWOL in the wake of Hamas’ terrorist attacks in Israel, antisemitic violence on college campuses, and increasing antisemitic hate crimes.

As of this writing, no press releases or other statements posted on the Civil Rights Division’s website discuss how Clarke and her team plan to combat this rising threat. In the dozens of press reports since Hamas’ terrorist acts a month ago, you will find only one small mention of antisemitic crimes.

On Nov. 1, Clarke spared a single sentence for antisemitism in a speech about hate crimes more generally. After discussing hate crimes directed against black people, Clarke mentioned in passing that “antisemitic hate crimes rose 25% from last year,” before quickly moving on to discuss hate crimes directed at Muslims or LGBTQ+ individuals.

Clarke didn’t explore why antisemitic hate crimes are rising. She did not address the increasing violence faced by American Jews in the aftermath of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks. She didn’t address the hatred and harassment they face on college campuses. And, worst of all, she didn’t say that her DOJ division was doing anything about it.

The hatred and violence that Jews face right now falls under Clarke’s purview. Jews need to know that Clarke’s Civil Rights Division is just as eager to defend them as it is black men who “identify” as women and drag show organizers.

But although a press release would be nice, it is not enough.

Given Kristen Clarke’s commitment to the oppressor-oppressed worldview that morphs so easily into antisemitism, and given her past dalliances with antisemitism itself, American Jews need to see the Civil Rights Division step up to the plate and take deliberate actions to defend them.

Until it does, it is reasonable to doubt that Clarke is willing or able to protect Jewish Americans.

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