Rutgers Hosted Professor Who Compared Israel Supporters To Rats As University Struggles With Israel-Palestine PR Nightmare

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Rutgers University recently hosted a pro-Palestine professor who once compared supporters of Israel to vermin, another hit for the university as it struggles in a public relations nightmare concerning its statements on the current Israel-Palestine conflict.

On May 20, Rutgers held an event featuring Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, who spoke about his book, “The 100 Years’ War on Palestine,” The College Fix reported. Khalidi “started by talking about the ‘extreme violence’ between Israel and Palestine,” the outlet reported.

As noted by the Fix, Khalidi in 2017 warned that supporters of Israel would gain influence in then-incoming President Donald Trump’s administration.

“These people in fact infest the Trump transition team, these people are going to infest our government as of January 20, and they are hand in glove with a similar group within the Israeli government,” Khalidi said in an interview with WBEZ Chicago.

Eugene Kontorovich, a Northwestern law professor who is now at George Mason, responded to Khalidi’s remarks by saying they were “a very manifestly Semitic rhetoric — Jews as vermin — for a supposedly refined albeit pro-Palestinian Columbia prof and Pres. Obama’s former mentor. This kind of statement deserves attention.”

Khalidi reportedly clarified his comments, but still voiced his opposition to Israel during Rutgers’ May 20 event. From the Fix:

Khalidi said the narrative is usually “Israel-favored” and focuses on who attacks first, an approach he opposes. He said Gaza has been “imprisoned” and they’ve been prevented from obtaining products such as building materials and medicine.

“Israel loves to start by talking about” the rockets that come from Gaza, which Khalidi said could be a “war crime” though they need to be understood in “context.”

While the Palestinians may commit war crimes, Khalidi said, Israel’s actions need to be examined.

Khalidi, according to the Fix, mentioned Israel’s “eviction of people from their homes, dispossession of families in Sheikh Jarrah.”

But as The Journal of International Security Affairs noted, the people being “evicted” never had a title to the land.

“For starters, the title to the land never belonged to the Palestinian Arabs currently residing on the property,” the outlet reported. “There is nothing pernicious happening beyond a standard landlord eviction of non-paying tenants.”

Khalidi’s pro-Palestine remarks came just before Rutgers embroiled itself in controversy over multiple statements it released on the current Israel-Palestine conflict. As The Daily Wire previously reported, Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy and Executive Vice-Chancellor Francine Conway issued a statement titled “Speaking Out Against Anti-Semitism,” in which they asserted:

We are saddened by and greatly concerned about the sharp rise in hostile sentiments and anti-Semitic violence in the United States. Recent incidents of hate directed toward Jewish members of our community again remind us of what history has to teach us. Tragically, in the last century alone, acts of prejudice and hatred left unaddressed have served as the foundation for many atrocities against targeted groups around the world. …

Although it has been nearly two decades since the U.S. Congress approved the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act, the upward trend of anti-Semitism continues. We have also been witnesses to the increasing violence between Israeli forces and Hamas in the Middle East leading to the deaths of children and adults and mass displacement of citizens in the Gaza region and the loss of lives in Israel. 

This recent resurgence of anti-Semitism demands that we again call out and denounce acts of hate and prejudice against members of the Jewish community and any other targeted and oppressed groups on our campus and in our community. …

We call out all forms of bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, xenophobia, and oppression, in whatever ways they may be expressed. We condemn any vile acts of hate against members of our community designed to generate fear, devalue, demonize, or dehumanize. We embrace and affirm the value and dignity of each member of our Rutgers community regardless of religion, race, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender, and ability.  

The next day, however, the two Rutgers officials apologized for not communicating “support for our Palestinian community members”:

We are writing today as a follow-up to the message sent on Wednesday, May 26th to the university community. We understand that intent and impact are two different things, and while the intent of our message was to affirm that Rutgers–New Brunswick is a place where all identities can feel validated and supported, the impact of the message fell short of that intention. In hindsight, it is clear to us that the message failed to communicate support for our Palestinian community members. We sincerely apologize for the hurt that this message has caused. … Our goal of creating a beloved community will not be easy, and while we may make mistakes along the way; we hope we can all learn from them as we continue this vital work together.

Days later, Rutgers president Jonathan Holloway released a third statement,  insisting the school didn’t apologize for condemning anti-Semitism.

Holloway’s statement was titled “On Hatred and Bigotry,” and said that Rutgers “deplores hatred and bigotry in all forms. We have not, nor would we ever, apologize for standing against anti-Semitism.”

“Neither hatred nor bigotry has a place at Rutgers, nor should they have a place anywhere in the world. At Rutgers we believe that anti-Semitism, anti-Hinduism, Islamophobia and all forms of racism, intolerance and xenophobia are unacceptable wherever and whenever they occur,” the short statement concluded.

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