Streak of serious anti-Semitism emerges among university professors

Streak of serious anti-Semitism emerges among university professors

The highly charged rhetoric about Israel, revealed last week on a leaked listserv, show that some professors involved in the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) resolution to boycott Israel are motivated by the belief that Jewish people are nefariously pulling the strings in American academia. …

The charges of anti-Semitism were underscored by a controversial Facebook posting by one of the professors involved in the debate questioning the deaths of 6 million Jewish people in the Holocaust. …

Professor Elizabeth Ordonez, a retired Spanish professor from Metropolitan State University in Denver, accused “Zionist attack dogs” of pressuring the resolution’s supporters.

“As on the broader political scene, moves to seek justice and opportunity for Palestinians (or to remove obstacles to achieving those goals) are countered by Zionist attack dogs,” Ordonez wrote in a March 22 post on the listserv. “When the Zionist lobby railroads its way through Congress, universities, and civil society no request is made for equal time for the other side.” …

Another listserv member, Professor Basem Ra’ad of the Palestinian Al Quds University, defended Ordonez’s comments and condemned the “unfair pressures being exercised on universities by Zionist funders and lobby groups.”

Ra’ad, whose university has faced criticism for holding Hamas terror rallies, goes on to claim that critics of the resolution “control and twist the media.” …

one professor in particular, Alessio Lerro of Temple University in Philadelphia, flatly accused “Jewish scholars” of manipulating academia, a comment that has sparked charges of anti-Semitism in the MLA debate.

“It is time that Zionists are asked to finally account for their support to the illegal occupation of Palestine since 1967,” Lerro wrote. “This resolution rightly targets only Israel given the humongous influence that Jewish scholars have in the decision making process of Academia in general.”

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The comment came as a shock to many on the listserv.

“Prof. Lerro is engaging in anti-Semitic hate speech, and it should not be tolerated,” wrote Peter Herman in response to the comment. …

Others on the listserv doubled down.

“I am pleased to see the tactfulness of the Palestinian resolution, as I’m tired of Zionists constantly carping at those who support Palestinian rights … such as this Jewish American,” wrote Professor Richard Pressman, a communications teacher at St. Mary’s University in Texas.

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