The Steven Salaita case, on which IAM reported in length is reoccurring, this time at Oberlin College.
To recall, Salaita, then an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, was on the verge of being hired by the department of American Indian Studies of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Over a long period he produced a series of tweets and Facebook posts including the following:
Steven Salaita @stevesalaita · 2 Aug 2014
"Hamas" is the biggest red herring in American political discourse since Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction." #Gaza #GazaUnderAttack
When will the attack on #Gaza end? What is left for #Israel to prove? Who is left for Israel to kill? This is the logic of genocide.
Members of the Knesset routinely call for the elimination of Palestinians, so #Israel can spare us the bullshit about restraint in #Gaza.
#Israel is rounding up people and murdering them at point-blank range. The word "genocide" is more germane the more news we hear. #Gaza
Following Salaita's harsh anti-Israel comments on social media, the university rescinded its offer. Salaita sued the university in court. The parties reached settlement out of court whereby the university agreed to pay Salaita as compensation $600,000 plus $275,000 to cover his legal costs. Salaita was also invited to teach at the prestigious American University in Beirut. The Salaita saga was over by November 2015.
The new "Salaita case" comes curtesy of Joy Karega, an assistant professor at Oberlin College. Shortly after the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, she shared a graphic of an ISIS terrorist pulling off a mask of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The terrorist had a tattoo with a Star of David sign. Karega wrote: “This ain’t even hard. They unleashed Mossad on France and it’s clear why.” She added that Netanyahu went to the free-speech rally that took place in Paris “uninvited and of course he went even when he was asked by Pres. Hollande (France) not to come. Netanyahu wanted to bend Hollande and French governmental officials over one more time in public just in case the message wasn’t received via Massod [sic] and the ‘attacks’ they orchestrated in Paris.” In November Karega wrote that ISIS was not really Islamic, but “a CIA and Mossad operation, and there’s too much information out here for the general public not to know this.”
In her later posts Karega went further; she accused the Rothschild family and Israel of downing the Malaysian plane that went down over the Ukraine. She also posted a graphic of Jacob Rothschild, a member of the prominent Jewish banking family, with a caption reading: “We own your news. The media. Your oil. And your government.”
Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov wrote that "Oberlin College respects the rights of its faculty, students, staff and alumni to express their personal views. Acknowledgement of this right does not signal institutional support for, or endorsement of, any specific position. The statements posted on social media by Dr. Joy Karega, assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, are hers alone and do not represent the views of Oberlin College".
The response of Oberlin College seems weak, raising the question if the Salaita case has influenced its decision. At the time, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) stood by Salaita, stating that the university infringed on his rights of free expression.
It would be interesting to know if the AAUP can comment on whether Karega has the right to post classic anti-Semitic tropes on her Facebook page.
The conspiracy theories surrounding Jews and Israel espoused by Oberlin College Professor Joy Karega, first reported
on Thursday by The Tower, have prompted a tepid response from the school, despite mounting controversy.
In a statement initially published on an alumni Facebook page and later communicated to The Tower, Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov wrote:
Oberlin College respects the rights of its faculty, students, staff and alumni to express their personal views. Acknowledgement of this right does not signal institutional support for, or endorsement of, any specific position. The statements posted on social media by Dr. Joy Karega, assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, are hers alone and do not represent the views of Oberlin College.
The response, which disassociated Oberlin from Karega’s postings, failed to address the offensiveness of her conspiracies, prompting Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz to tell The Tower, “If Karega had expressed comparably bigoted views about Blacks, Muslims or gays, the President of Oberlin would not have posted the boilerplate he posted. He would have condemned those views, even if he defended her right to express them.”
According to one alumna of the school who contacted The Tower, “President Krislov’s response shows that the Oberlin administration simply does not care about virulent anti-semitism on its own campus. Although I haven’t been a student there for many years, it is still deeply hurtful to see how little the administration cares about its Jewish students.”
A group of alumni wrote an open letter
to Krislov and Oberlin’s administration earlier this year, calling on the college to address “the continued intimidation of Jewish students and the many other forms of anti-Semitism occurring on campus.”
contributor David Bernstein wrote
a few weeks ago about the Facebook post of a recent Oberlin alumna who asserted that multiple progressive students at the college dismissed the Holocaust as “white-on-white crime.” Bernstein observed that based on this and other incidents described by the alumna, which ranged “from gross insensitivity to blatant anti-Semitism,” it is evident that “those who are the most acutely sensitive to and active against other forms of racism, ignore anti-Semitism, belittle it and, in some cases participate in it.”
Krislov’s response to Karega differs significantly from his response to a series of reported hate crimes three years ago. After the perpetrators behind those crimes were identified and removed from campus, Krislov wrote
, “When confronted by bias, our community turned our shared values into meaningful, positive action.”
Oberlin Professor's anti-Semitic Posts Are 'Personal Views,' Says College
Ohio college will not punish professor Joy Karega for Facebook posts disparaging Rothschild family, claiming Israel downed Malaysian plane over Ukraine.
JTA Feb 28, 2016 1:01 AM
In response to an article revealing that an Oberlin College professor made numerous postings about Jews and Israel to Facebook, the liberal arts college’s president said the college “respects the right of its faculty, students, staff and alumni to express their personal views.”
Marvin Krislov’s statement came after The Tower on Thursday published an article about Joy Karega, an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at the elite Ohio institution.
Karega, who took down her Facebook posts and Twitter account after the article’s publication, had made comments accusing Israel and “Rothschild-led bankers” of responsibility for downing a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine in 2014. She also posted a graphic of Jacob Rothschild, a member of the prominent Jewish banking family, with a caption reading: “We own your news. The media. Your oil. And your government.”
In a statement posted on Oberlin’s alumni Facebook page on Thursday, Krislov, who is Jewish, added, “The statements posted on social media by Dr. Joy Karega, assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, are hers alone and do not represent the views of Oberlin College.”
Alan Dershowitz, an emeritus professor of law at Harvard University, criticized Krislov’s response, telling The Tower: “If Karega had expressed comparably bigoted views about Blacks, Muslims or gays, the President of Oberlin would not have posted the boilerplate he posted. He would have condemned those views, even if he defended her right to express them.”
In one post, Karega accused “the same people behind the massacre in Gaza” of shooting down the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. She continued: “With this false flag, the Rothschild-led banksters, exposed and hated and out of economic options to stave off the coming global deflationary depression, are implementing the World War III option.”
Karega’s social media posts drew attention after she was listed as co-sponsor of an event at Oberlin scheduled for March 2 in which Robin Kelley, a history professor at UCLA, is due to deliver a lecture entitled, “Fighting Apartheid Since 1948: Key Moments in Palestinian and Black Solidarity.”
Karega declined to respond to The Tower, but posted on Facebook Friday: “Robin Kelley IS still coming to Oberlin next week, despite efforts by some to prevent it. Trust, when I come up out of my Unbothered state of being, I’ll have a lot to say (analysis, no doubt) about the kinds of intimidation and silencing tactics that are rhetorically enacted in digital spaces, through email, through telephone communication, and propagandized editorial articles, masquerading as ‘journalism,’ and how common it is for Black women, who are early in their career on the tenure track as part of the professoriate, to be prime targets for these kinds of activities and practices.”
Oberlin has drawn attention in recent months for what some alumni claim is a culture of tolerance for anti-Semitism. More than 250 alumni have signed an open letter to Krislov voicing concern about this and mentioning several incidents at the school, including the expulsion of the Kosher Halal co-op from the Oberlin Student Cooperation Association and a protest against Israel on Rosh Hashanah that Jewish students had to pass through on their way to holiday services.
Some Jewish student leaders criticized that letter in an op-ed published in the Cleveland Jewish News this week, saying the letter “lack(ed) a nuanced understanding of the complex dynamics on Oberlin’s campus” and expressing concern that “there was virtually no student involvement or input on the letter’s contents.”
The school also garnered headlines in December when African-American student activists issued a 14-page list of demands to Krislov, including that the school divest from companies doing business with Israel. The document also demanded that Krislov guarantee tenure “upon review” for Karega and seven other African-American tenure-track faculty members.
A professor at Oberlin College, one of the most prestigious institutes of higher education in the country, has written and shared a series of Facebook posts claiming that Jews or Israelis control much of the world and are responsible for the 9/11 and Charlie Hebdoattacks and the rise of ISIS.
, an assistant professor of Rhetoric and Composition, shared
a graphic shortly after the Charlie Hebdo
shooting last year of an ISIS terrorist pulling off a mask resembling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The terrorist has a tattoo with a Star of David and the acronym “JSIL” – presumably a Jewish version of ISIL/ISIS. The picture includes graphic text implying that the murder of cartoonists was a “false flag” conspiracy designed to stop French support for Palestinians. In the accompanying status, Karega wrote, “This ain’t even hard. They unleashed Mossad on France and it’s clear why.” The Mossad is Israel’s national intelligence agency.
the same day that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to the massive free-speech rally in Paris “uninvited and of course he went even when he was asked by Pres. Hollande (France) not to come. Netanyahu wanted to bend Hollande and French governmental officials over one more time in public just in case the message wasn’t received via Massod [sic] and the ‘attacks’ they orchestrated in Paris.” She neglected to mention that Netanayhu was in Paris to honor
four Jews who were killed in a terror attack in a kosher supermarket that same week. Karega also wrote
in November that ISIS was not really Islamic, but rather “a CIA and Mossad operation, and there’s too much information out here for the general public not to know this.”
Karega, who received a PhD from the University of Louisville in 2014, publicized claims
last year that “Israeli and Zionist Jews” were behind the attacks on the World Trade Center. She shared a blog post
that embedded a speech by Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who has frequently been accused of anti-Semitism. At about 1:04 in the video
, Farrakhan offers his theory of the attackers and their motivations:
They say that the World Trade Center building were brought down by carefully placed explosives, not by planes. They say that all three buildings had to have been wired with explosive charges long before September the 11th and this is something that took tremendous sophistication to do, and that sophistication was not with Osama bin Laden or his followers. Listen. But if it was not Muslims then who? Thanks to the exemplary work of scholars like Victor Thorn and Christopher Bollyn it is now becoming apparent that there were many Israeli and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attack.
Although Karega claimed to disagree with Farrakhan in many respects, she endorsed the link, writing “Farrakhan is truth-telling in this video.”
Karega’s Facebook history also shows a preoccupation with the Rothschild family, a banking dynasty of Jewish heritage that has been the subject of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories for hundreds of years. She posted
an unflattering photograph of banker Jacob Rothschild in December 2014, with the text accompanying the photograph saying, “We own nearly every central bank in the world. We financed both sides of every war since Napoleon. We own your news, the media, your oil and your government.” The Rothschilds made a reappearance
a few weeks later when Karega accused “the same people behind the massacre in Gaza” of shooting down a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. “With this false flag,” Karega surmised, “the Rothschild-led banksters, exposed and hated and out of economic options to stave off the coming global deflationary depression, are implementing the World War III option.”
Karega returned to the theme of Jewish control of the government when she shared
a news report about a $12 million grant that the Obama administration had given to Holocaust survivors. Karega seemed to take issue with the decision to give financial support to victims of genocide, writing, “One of these days some of My Peoples gonna learn who ALL American presidents work for and why they are chosen and placed in office.” She continued on this vein in the comments:
“Later I’m gonna try to look at some of these Federations that handle the money and resources. We can probably look deep and try to trace it.”
The revelations about Prof. Karega’s Facebook posts come amid growing concern that Jewish students at Oberlin are facing a rising wave of anti-Semitism. This January, the frequency of anti-Semitic events on campus spurred 225 alumni and students to form Oberlin Alumni and Students Against Anti-Semitism. In an open letter
, the group charged that several student organizations “have assumed the role as the mouthpiece of the BDS movement,” which delegitimizes Israel and has frequently been criticized for giving cover to anti-Semitism. The message that these groups promulgated is “Either forfeit your allegiance to Israel and join us, or we will brand you as an enemy of justice and complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people.” The group condemned the tactics employed by pro-BDS student groups, whose tactics “intimidate, threaten, and coerce Jewish students.”
Melissa Landa, an organizer of the group fighting anti-Semitism at Oberlin, wrote in an e-mail
last month to Prof. William Jacobson of the Legal Insurrection blog, one of the leading activists fighting anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in academia, that the group has “begun to document all incidents of anti Semitism at Oberlin by collecting testimonials from alumni and current students. As of today, that list is 5-pages in length and includes physical intimidation, verbal harassment, and vandalism.” (Full disclosure: I am a Legal Insurrection contributor).
The group’s open letter
to the school administration documented numerous incidents:
According to The Jewish Exponent
, an award-winning newspaper that serves the Jewish community of Philadelphia, one Oberlin student reported, “My fellow Obies and I were expected by our peers to join them in denouncing a plethora of social evils including…Israel.” That same student described an incident on campus when, “One speaker drew laughs when she said that Zionists should be burned at the stake.” In addition, the AMCHA campus monitor
, which is published by a non profit organization that addresses anti-Semitism on college campuses, has documented numerous messages posted on line by the student group, Students for a Free Palestine, including, “Ohio is infested with Zionism,” and describing Israel as a “white supremacist,” “violent apartheid state.” As reported to The Oberlin Review, other incidents include the expulsion
of the Kosher Halal co-op from the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA) and an exhibition of black flags
symbolizing the Palestinians killed in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge displayed on Rosh Hashanah, one of Judaism’s holiest days.
Jewish students have articulated the impact of these incidents on their lives. The Oberlin Review
quoted one student who said, “I quickly learned that at Oberlin, love for my own nation (Israel) was not something I could freely express.” The student who was quoted in The Jewish Exponent, also explained that she transferred out of Oberlin due to its “toxic climate…around Israel.”
Updated, 2/26: Karega did not respond to multiple requests for comment. After the original publication of this article, Oberlin spokesperson Scott Wargo issued this response:
Oberlin College respects the rights of its faculty, students, staff, and alumni to express their personal views. Acknowledgement of this right does not signal institutional support for, or endorsement of, any specific position. The statements posted on social media by Dr. Joy Karega, assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, are hers alone and do not represent the views of Oberlin College.
Karega appears to have deleted her Facebook posts, but more screenshots can be seen below.