Controversial Oberlin Professor Suspended Over Anti-Israeli Comments

1456789323213We previously discussed the controversy surrounding Oberlin Professor Joy Karega, who has attracted fervent criticism for her social media comments including blaming Israel for the 9/11 attacks. In a move that will magnify the free speech issues discussed earlier, Karega has been suspended with pay as assistant professor of rhetoric and composition.

1456780943903Karega reportedly posted controversial statements after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, including a picture showing an Islamic State terrorist with a Star of David tattoo pulling off a mask, exposing the face of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She added “This ain’t even hard. They unleashed Mossad on France and it’s clear why.” She explained that the massacre was part of a conspiracy to stop French support for Palestinians. She also posted a statement that Islamic State is not Islamic, but rather “a CIA and Mossad operation” and even frustration that “there’s too much information out here for the general public not to know this.”

Then there is her view that “Israeli and Zionist Jews” orchestrated the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

I previously expressed concern over the inconsistent approach of universities and colleges to controversial statements made by academics on social media. My long-standing view is that such statements are an exercise of free speech as well as academic freedom in many circumstances. Oberlin President Marvin Krislov appeared to side with free speech when the controversy was first raised. However, this week Oberlin issued a statement saying the school had been “considering carefully the grave issues surrounding the anti-Semitic postings on social media by Oberlin faculty member Dr. Joy Karega.”

Karega in turn referred to her representative, Chui Karega, who denounced the school as “being used as a personal tool of religious extremism by a small number of people.” Chu Karega further accused the school of “pandering to the dictates of a handful of vocal and wealthy religious zealots, has set out to push Dr. Karega out of her faculty position at Oberlin.”

The issue in this case is really not the merits but the threshold question of whether academics should be allowed to express their views on such issues regardless of their objectionable or questionable content. If not, it is difficult to see where the line is to be drawn between permissible and sanctionable speech. There are obviously a wide array of pro and anti speech related to Palestinians and Israeli policies or conduct. Much of this speech is heavily steeped in historical, religious, and political viewpoints. The emphasis should be on whether there is evidence of bias displayed toward students. Obviously, Oberlin is not a state school and thus does not fall under the rules government government parties. Yet, free speech is the coin of the academic realm. It is essential to learning that students and faculty feel free to exchange views as part of an open and robust debate.

What do you think?

58 thoughts on “Controversial Oberlin Professor Suspended Over Anti-Israeli Comments”

  1. RALH,

    Who are “these leftist ultrasubcretins”? When you use terms like leftists in order to demonize something or someone that you disagree with, doesn’t confuse even YOU?,

  2. There will be plenty of jobs for Karega. The University of California at Berekely, for example, would love to have her, especially if she ramps up her Judeophobic rants. Funny, though, when David Duke says exactly the same thing as these leftist ultrasubcretins, they try to distance themselves from him. Why the hypocrisy? Oh yeah, I forgot. Leftists are always hypocritical. You can’t be a good leftist unless you are.

    As for the Jews and their omnipotence, I must advise you that Jews do, in fact, control everything that you see and hear. Not just the media and the banks, but EVERYTHING. They even control the Judeophobes. In fact, everything that you see and hear is but an illusion. In reality, each of you are connected to an electronic network that is controlled by Jews. All of your thoughts, impressions, and memories, have been implanted into your consciousness by Jews. You have no original thoughts, ideas, or anything. You are simply running a program designed by Jews. They are harnessing your life energies for their own diabolical purposes. Okay? I thought that–as a public service–I’d clear up any misconceptions about the “Jews control” this or that.

  3. @karenS

    Can you post an article/source that the BLM founders are anti semetic?

    Seems to me that anyone who questions Zionism or defends Palestine’s right to exist is labeled as such. When Alison Weir came to speak here in CharlestonI went to see her – in part because I interested in what she had to report and in part because I thought it would interesting to see how many local rabid Zionists would attend. Sure enough they turned out in force – refused to talk about issues, interrupted her speech and dialog with students and attacked her personally. Pitiful. Those folks should move back to Israel if they are so fond of it since they try to shut down free speech at a college.

  4. Ben Waters… A photo & a little more flatter? Problem solved.

    Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane would be a contender.
    White Rabbit. Go ask Alice….Chasing rabbits….Poor Alice….Feed your head.

  5. Regardless of the story, can’t you find a photo of the subject that meets basic photographic standards??? little more flatter

  6. It is a little known fact that the founders of BLM are anti-semitic. They traveled to Israel and met with Palestinian leaders, support terrorism in Israel, and have made comments such as that Israel is an illegal occupier. Some of their comments are rabidly anti-semitic. One also questions her mental stability if she thinks ISIS is really run by “ze Jews.”

    I think her speech is relevant if she shows bias towards Jewish students or demands an anti-semitic bent to writing, or if she is mentally unstable.

  7. Parents are idiots to pay thousands of dollars so their idiot children can take a course on “Rhetoric and Composition” from a idiots professor.

  8. @Paul

    re: “tripe” – I read stuff from all perspectives. And I think the National Black Caucus folks are Uncle Toms – selling out their own people for the Clinton machine. Ugh!

    re: Vance book – thanks for the tip. Heading to the library later today so I’ll see if they have it.

  9. Anti-Semitic postings? It seems that people can not tell the difference between anti-Semitism and remarks criticizing a government! Even if they were anti-semitic (most Jews in Israel are not even semites, but the Palestinians are) so what? The only free speech that needs to be protected is speech that is unpopular.

  10. The real gem is that Joy Karega’s lawyer is her father Chui Karega, who made anti-Semitic statements in his daughter’s dissertation.

    Specializing in personal injury, worker’s compensation, labor relations, and police harassment cases, Mr. Karega will help you get the settlement you deserve.

    Here’s daddy, Chui Karega, attorney in video.

  11. Sure, Oberlin’s becoming a mainstream business and shedding the left-leaning sympathies. These are realities in an overly business-oriented state. I don’t know that this is the administration’s fault.

    Was a waiver of political speech or some sort of subjective limitation on her speech – in this case, outside the work place – expressed in the employment contract she signed? If not, Oberlin needs to quit messing with her ideas. Rebut them, but don’t dampen them. This is the administration’s fault.

    Al Reardon: analogizing her ideas to a ’30s Nazi group is way over the top, but I’m sure our 51st state (and, no, I don’t mean Puerto Rico or Wash., D.C.) enjoys the sentiment.

  12. If she is teaching rhetoric and composition, she should know that people have varying perceptions of events depending on their previous experiences. Witnesses viewing a car wreck or a murder give varying interpretations of what happened. Many people have concluded that given all the evidence, it is quite likely that Israel was involved with the planning of 9/11. Others have concluded that Osama bin Laden planned it all, and yet others come to other variations of the information provided to the public. To make absolute statements held out as fact about such things, is not a valid example of useful rhetoric and composition.

  13. @Paul

    Is it worth the read? I find Musk fascinating – a real visionary like Jobs. One of friends has a Tesla – one of the most amazing cars I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding in. Superb design, comfortable and oh so quiet.

    1. Autumn – read the Vance book. He covers the warts as well as the beauty marks. It is a dense read so expect to take a little time.

  14. TJ

    re: “Some of the titles include, “Cowardly, Hypocritical, Subservient Congressional Black Caucus Endorses Israeli Apartheid and Current War Crimes in Gaza” and “How Today’s Liberal Zionists Echo Apartheid South Africa’s Defenders.””

    I would read those those.

    1. Autumn – why would you read tripe like “Cowardly, Hypocritical, Subservient Congressional Black Caucus Endorses Israeli Apartheid and Current War Crimes in Gaza” and “How Today’s Liberal Zionists Echo Apartheid South Africa’s Defenders.”” We only have so much time in our life. We should not waste it.

  15. Add: she posted the statements on the internet which is not “in class”. However that does not mean that she never made the same statements in a teaching context or had the issue on a test. That is what needs to be cleared up for me.

  16. You should read her dissertation. She got hired at Oberlin because of rather than despite this paper.
    Typical unreadable leftist cant and jargon.
    Dedicated to -and about- her father, lawyer Chui Karega.

    Servants of my people first : an examination of the political literacies of the Black Liberation Front International (BLFI), 1969-1973.

    Apparently it’s about the “functioning purpose and power of language for Black revolutionary struggle”
    ” Marxist theory ..told us how we — Black people, Africans — have been the proletariat revolting against oppression and dominance”
    ” reworking of the spelling of “Africa” by removing the “c” and reinserting the “k” was a political act of subversion and revision”
    “— breaking down theoretical jargon into understandable language. In this case, understandable language wasn’t an abbreviated and simplistic articulation or narration of Marxist-Leninist theory, but rather it involved using those common terms — “capitalist,” “imperialist,” and “propaganda”


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