Friday, March 25, 2016

In Academe, Should Anti-Semitism Be a Fireable Offense?

There is certainly a double standard here.  But it is probably because Karega is black.  The college needs her to get their racial quotas up.  But otherwise she should certainly be fired -- not on speech grounds but for incompetence as a scholar

Lately it seems like all anyone’s Jewish grandparents talk about these days is the pervasive anti-Israel sentiment found on college campuses in the U.S. In actuality, however, I’ve found that the silent majority actually doesn’t care that much either way. So while BDS campaigns and solidarity activism between pro-Palestinian and other leftist groups aren’t “fun” for students who choose to cultivate political views more nuanced than those of an eggplant, they also aren’t threatening to us, whether we agree with them or not. And I go to Columbia.

Occasionally, though, the discourse can descends from legitimate to dangerous. I’m talking about flat-out, no-holds-barred, in-your-face anti-Semitism. And when that monster rears its head, I’m left scratching my own.

Recently, Joy Karega, a rhetoric and composition professor at Oberlin College, was revealed to have posted wildly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel content, often in the form of conspiracy theories, on her personal Facebook page. According to Karega, the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, was the true mastermind of last year’s Charlie Hebdo massacre; ISIS is the product of a CIA-Mossad collaboration; the IDF shot down that Malaysian airliner over Ukraine; and Jews were behind the attacks on 9/11.

Karega’s views are vile and racist. And yet she is still employed, still teaching.

In response to calls for her dismissal, Oberlin president Marvin Krislov—a self-described “practicing Jew” and “grandson of an Orthodox rabbi” whose family members “were murdered in the Holocaust”—defended Karega. In an email to Oberlin’s student body, Krislov wrote that even though he understands Karega’s views “cause[d] pain for many people—members of our community and beyond,” she would be keeping her position because of her right to express “personal views.”

When I read Krislov’s comments, I thought maybe I wasn’t seeing clearly. The fact that her anti-Semitism isn’t seen as grounds for firing her—when other professors at other universities who’ve engaged in similar, if much less deliberate, prejudices or offenses against other minority groups are dismissed immediately—speaks volumes to the double standard to which Jewish students are held.



Use the Name, Luke said...

I have to say that I disagree with the author of that piece. Krislov is partially right in saying that someone shouldn't be fired for "cause[ing] pain for many people". Generally speaking, no one should be fired merely for saying something that offends someone else.

On the other hand, making claims that are wildly and provably untrue is a legitimate grounds for firing—especially in an institution which (theoretically) exists for the purposes of teaching students about truth. That neither President Krislov nor Mr. Narin addressed Ms. Karega's willful disregard for the truth is where both men fail completely.

Bird of Paradise said...

Whats become of Free Speech? Its become the victim of liberal speech codes and sniveling sensitive whining whiners afraid of offending sniveling whining wimps in their safe space(Play Pens)and crying for their mommies

Anonymous said...

Free speech is just that, free, and you can express any vile or provably incorrect position that you want. She should not be fired for her views but it is imperative that she be monitored to make sure she is doing her job correctly since belief in nonsensical ideas could be a sign of mental aberrations. That said there is clearly a double standard since professors are being fired for much milder comments about groups progressives hold dear.


Anonymous said...

Freedom of speech is not freedom to indoctrinate.

Birdzilla said...

In the minds of liberals who have smoked too much wacky weed free speech in only for them and their kind there's no logic in liberalism

Anonymous said...

"Free speech" does not mean "no consequences."

Oberlin College is a private school and can presumably fire her for conduct that is detrimental to the school. They won't, but they have that ability.

It should also be noted that the Board of Trustees issued a statement on this condemning the posts and labeling them as "anti-Semitic and abhorrent." The statement from the school's president did not come close to condemning the posts, the content or the anti-Semitic atmosphere created by this woman on campus (which may be the bigger issue.)

Finally, in December of 2015, the Black Student Union issued a 14 page list of "demands" to Oberlin College. The college rejected the demands but one of the demands was granting immediate tenure to Karega and others who were "on a path to tenure."

Because of the push back on this and other things Karega has said and done, she has now lawyered up and won't be speaking about her posts anymore.

stinky said...

If she can believe what she wants and say so, so can everyone else. This is the best position.

If she can be fired for perceived bigotry, then so can others. This is the second-best position, a huge step down from the best.

Under no circumstances, however, should there be a double standard (as, sigh, there is at present). This is the disastrously hypocritical position that will ultimately lead to bloodshed, as is currently happening for example in Europe. It is most often adopted by weaklings too timorous to take a principled stance.

Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

is'nt been her and her african/americans who have been getting speech codes on campuses?

Anonymous said...

I do not believe she should be fired for her comments, as ignorant and objectionable as they may be.
Of course, I also do not believe other people should be fired from their jobs merely for expressing a personal opinion online.
When everyone is held to the same standard, then stories like this one will not be news.

Anonymous said...

She should be fired for academic incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:02,

Of course, I also do not believe other people should be fired from their jobs merely for expressing a personal opinion online.

In a way, that may be the crux of this issue. She is free to say what she wants in a personal account or whatever. When she starts to invoke that she is an employee and or a professor at Oberlin, that becomes a problem because of the atmosphere it creates within the classroom. What member of the Jewish faith or ancestry would feel as they were getting an honest grade from this teacher? What Jewish person would want to sit in a class where the teacher advocates and puts forth ideas that Jews are all horrible people and should be eradicated?

Changing the parameters a little bit, what black student would want to be in a class where the professor is a known racist?

(It is also arguable that the woman's writings are against the anti-discrimination policy at the school.)

Go ahead and spout your hatred and ignorance all you want. The moment you tie that ignorance, hatred and stupidity to my college or firm, damaging the reputation and exposing those institutions to lawsuits, you no longer have a job.

Storm the Abatross said...

Speech codes for us but not them typical thinking of two faced liberal wanks

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree with you 3:34 I assumed that the remarks were personal. Of course, claiming that they were connected with or authorised by the University is another matter entirely.
As for students feeling they would not get an honest grade, I assume that all marking is anonymous at colleges now. I know it was at mine about 14 years ago. You submit your work and exams with only your student number - no names or other identifiers.
So, no problem if your name is Shmuley Abramowitz or Shaneequah Brown.