American Jewish professor probed after comparing Israel to Nazis
By Cnaan Liphshiz and News Agencies
A Jewish professor from California who is under review for disseminating material that equates Israelis to Nazis has petitioned other scholars to protest a probe of his actions, an Israel advocacy group has told Haaretz.
The University of California, Santa Barbara, is investigating allegations of improper conduct and anti-Semitism against Sociology professor William I. Robinson for sending an e-mail to 80 of his students in January that contained photos of Jews killed by the Nazis and similar photos of Palestinians killed in the recent Israeli offensive in Gaza.
The founder of the group whose members filed the complaint against Robinson, the U.S.-based Israel advocacy student group StandWithUs, told Haaretz that the e-mail used the terms "concentration camp" and "genocide" when referring to Gaza. Advertisement
"The bylaws of the school forbid using classrooms for as platforms for dogmas that have nothing whatsoever to do with the material being studied," StandWithUs founder Roz Rothstein from Los Angeles said while on a visit to Israel.
The complaint against Robinson was filed by two students. Lia Yaiger, one of the pair, is a graduate of StandWithUs' Emerson Fellowship program, which trains students in campuses in "response techniques" to anti-Israel efforts on campus.
In Robinson's petition – which Rothstein says has been sent out to "radical left-wing" professors – he argues that he was within his rights of academic freedom to challenge students with controversial topics, and that the process that the university has initiated is an attempt to silence him and infringes on his right to free speech.
The same email that Robinson sent already roused controversy in January, after a Norwegian diplomat serving in Saudi Arabia used her official mail from the foreign ministry to spread it to recipients.
The letter contains gory40of slain children said to have been killed in the Israeli attack on Hamas in Gaza, juxtaposed with photos of Holocaust victims in seemingly correlating situations.
One photo showed the charred remains of casualties from Gaza next to burned bodies from a Nazi death camp. Others showed Arab children behind fences next to Jewish children in ghettos, and Israeli troops next to Nazi Wehrmacht soldiers. Sourced from Haaretz