FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2018, file photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a student town hall at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. One of the nation's largest teachers' unions sued the U.S. Education Department on Thursday, July 11, 2019, over a federal program that promises to forgive student loans for public workers but has been beset by problems. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

DeVos: Efforts to boycott Israel are a 'pernicious threat'

July 15, 2019 - 12:49 pm

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says a movement to boycott Israel has become a "pernicious threat" and a source of anti-Semitism on college campuses.

DeVos made the comments Monday while speaking at a Justice Department summit on combating anti-Semitism. She said supporters of the boycott movement are "bullies" who claim to stand for human rights but actually harbor bias against Jews.

Pro-Palestine activists at many colleges have called for a boycott of Israel over its treatment of Palestine, often leading to tension with pro-Israel groups on campus.

DeVos said Israel has friends in the Education Department and that her own visits to the Holy Land have shaped her in many ways.

Her defense of Israel comes as President Donald Trump accuses four congresswomen of color of being anti-Semitic.

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