Oberlin, OH - Anti-Semitic Rhetoric On Part Of Professor Is Protected As Free Speech, Jewish College President Says
Oberlin, OH - An associate professor at Ohio’s Oberlin College is making headlines after anti-Semitic rantings she posted to Twitter and Facebook went viral.
Screenshots captured Professor Joy Karega’s allegations that Jews were responsible for the heinous 9/11 attacks and the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Her hateful rhetoric also includes criticism against Israel according to a report in The Chronicle-Telegram (http://bit.ly/1oZDTuA).
Despite this, Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov has resisted calls for Karega’s ouster, saying the professor is protected by her right to free speech.
“I am a practicing Jew, grandson of an Orthodox rabbi. Members of our family were murdered in the Holocaust,” Krislov said. “As someone who has studied history, I cannot comprehend how any person could or would question its existence, its horrors and the evil which caused it. I feel the same way about anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Regardless of the reason for spreading these materials, they cause pain for many people — members of our community and beyond.”
He continued, “I am also the son of a tenured faculty member at a large research university. My father instilled in me a strong belief in academic freedom,” he wrote. “I believe, as the American Association of University Professors says, that academic freedom is ‘the indispensable quality of institutions of higher education’ because it encourages free inquiry, promotes the expansion of knowledge, and creates an environment in which learning and research can flourish. “Cultivating academic freedom can be difficult and at times painful for any college community. The principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech are not just principles to which we turn to face these challenges, but also the very practices that ensure we can develop meaningful responses to prejudice. . . .”
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is calling on all of the 2016 presidential candidates to demand the removal of the associate professor and to “stand up against this kind of hatred.” “Her propaganda is not only intimidating, but it’s extremely dangerous,” Hikind said.
“I truly hope the leaders of America will see to address this atrocity, and will send a clear-cut message that anti-Semitism, and any form of hatred, won’t be tolerated. . . .This isn’t about freedom of speech, this is about pure, unadulterated hate that crosses the line.”
In a blog post, Karega says she remains unfazed by all the controversy.
“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,” she wrote.
“And… I’m going to talk about why it is so important to resist these intimidation and silencing tactics and not coil under pressure. But for now, still unbothered.”
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