The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today commended the Oberlin College administration for its recent handling of several troubling remarks made by one of its professors, and said it strongly believes that the expression of such hateful views have no place “on any campus in this country or in any other learning environment.”
In the wake of the comments, ADL, along with several other local Jewish organizations, facilitated a meeting with Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov and his administration to address the seriousness of the anti-Semitic views shared on social media by Assistant Professor Joy Karega. She has stated that ISIS is American and Israeli intelligence and not a terror group, blamed Israel for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, expressed support for Louis Farrakhan, the notorious anti-Semite and leader of the Nation of Islam, and shared anti-Semitic imagery on Facebook.
During the meeting, potential implications of espousing such extreme personal views, and how these sentiments have the potential to create an atmosphere where students feel uncomfortable, were discussed.
Anita Gray, ADL Cleveland Regional Director, issued the following statement:
After meeting with President Krislov and his team, we feel that Oberlin College is now on the right path in dealing with the horrific remarks made by Professor Karega. We are confident that the College understands why such anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views are troubling, how they can affect the overall campus climate, and why they are not welcome in the Oberlin community.
Although we understand the legitimate sensitivities surrounding the adherence to specific academic procedures, and share the Oberlin administration’s sentiments that academic freedom and free speech are of the utmost importance, Professor Karega’s views do not belong on any campus in this country or in any other learning environment. No student should be subjected to offensive stereotyping and extreme bias that not only puts a damper on the classroom atmosphere, but has the potential to make students feel uncomfortable and singled out. This is the exact opposite of what a healthy and inclusive campus environment should aim to be.
We have been assured that Oberlin will make every effort to combat this type of abhorrent rhetoric should it raise its ugly head again, and stand ready to assist the College and its student body with our resources to address anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias.
We look forward to additional fruitful meetings with President Krislov and his administration to discuss next steps.