Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) is deeply concerned over the Facebook posts of Joy Karega, an assistant professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Oberlin College, who wildly claimed that Jewish bankers control the world economy and have financed every war since Napoleon, that Israelis and Zionists were not only behind the 9/11 attacks in New York but also orchestrated the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, and that Israeli fingerprints could be found in the downing over Ukraine of Malaysian Air Flight 17 and also in the rise of ISIS.
According to various Facebook posts by Professor Karega, the archetypal malevolent Jew is found in the person of Jacob Rothschild, whose photograph she posted in December 2014, along with text, allegedly from him, stating that, “We own nearly every central bank in the world. We financed both sides of every war since Napoleon. We own your news, the media, your oil and your government”—oft-repeated tropes about Jewish domination of media and banking which suggest that Jewish wealth and influence enable Jews—and by extension Zionists and Israelis—to get away with various predations and political manipulations. She raised the specter of the Jewish banker in a later Facebook post when she blames Israel, “the same people behind the massacre in Gaza,” of shooting down the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. “With this false flag,” Karega rants, “the Rothschild-led banksters [sic], exposed and hated and out of economic options to stave off the coming global deflationary depression, are implementing the World War III option.”
Karega’s assertions that Jews and agents of the Jewish state and high-placed government officials are manipulating current events, fomenting war, profiting from global unrest—secretive, underhanded actions whose end result would not otherwise honestly, fairly, or reasonably be achieved—this language has drawn such immediate and thunderous denunciation of Karega’s various Facebook posts, as first made public with captured Facebook screenshots in the The Tower.
Karega not only attempted to expose the hidden wealth and power of Rothschild, but she further suggested that this wealth is put to nefarious purposes, shooting down a Malaysian civilian aircraft to draw attention away from Israel’s incursion into Gaza, as well as a more deadly agenda based on “the Rothschild’s propensity for whacking scientists who dare interfere with their depopulation agenda” Karega mused, “of which AIDS is a key component,” the oft-cited, but never substantiated, libel, repeated here by Karega, that Jewish scientists introduced AIDS into the black community as an act of genocidal racism.
In a March 2015 Facebook post, Karega also provided what she apparently thought was a helpful link to a crazed speech by Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, “Muslims for 9/11 Truth: Farrakhan on 9-11: What You Need to Know #False Flag,” in which, to no one’s great surprise, the enlightened minister ascribed the blame for the 9/11 attacks, not to the homicidal Muslim terrorists who clearly perpetrated them, but to Israel and greedy Jews who realized financial and political gains from the felling of the Twin Towers. “Farrakhan is truth-telling in this video,” Karega wrote in her post, and “we need more of us willing to venture into these areas.”
Minister Farrakhan, it will be remembered, characterized Judaism as a “gutter religion,” deemed Hitler “a great man,” and, lest there be any doubt where his sympathizes lie regarding Israel, decided that the “plight” of American blacks puts them “in the same position” as the Palestinians.
“Professor Karega’s Facebook postings, and the other examples of virulent anti-Israel activism we have witnessed over the past several years at Oberlin, have to be seen for what they are,” said Dr. Richard L. Cravatts, president of SPME, “thinly-disguised anti-Semitism and the promulgation of tropes about Jews and Israelis which characterize them as omnipotent, greedy financial predators in control of banks, media, and government, and who use these perceived powers to commit heinous acts—including unfounded and absurd complicity in the attacks on 9/11, the downing of a Malaysian Air plane, and involvement in the Charlie Hedbo Paris attacks. The content of Professor Karega’s posts, mirroring other anti-Jewish, anti-Israel radicalism world-wide, is about demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and Jews, with the ultimate purpose of weakening and destroying the Jewish state. That a purportedly educated professor at an elite college would propagate such poisonous views is both alarming and dispiriting.”
“SPME welcomes, and encourages, vigorous scholarly debate on campus about a broad range of topics involving the Middle East,” said Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, SPME’s Executive Director. “But Professor Karega’s post do not represent reasoned, fact-based reflections on problems about the Middle East. Her views are not academic discourse, or, as its supporters regularly contest, simply ‘criticism of Israel,’ but instead represents an abandonment of academic integrity, the failure of scholarly inquiry, and the use of highly-biased, libelous dialogue when discussing the Israel and Jews.”
“Oberlin President Marvin Krislov’s feckless response to Professor Karega’s virulent Facebook posts afforded her the protection of academic free speech, while noting that her views were not shared by the Oberlin community,” noted Richard Landes, chair of SPME’s Council of Scholars. “But the views expressed by Professor Karega are beyond the acceptable limits of what could ever be accepted as scholarly debate or inquiry; in fact, her views reflect the basest forms of classic anti-Semitism which depicts Jews as greed manipulators of societies and governments. President Krislov should not only distance the College from her comments; he should, on behalf of the Oberlin community, denounce them for they are and state their unacceptability in academia, where ideas need to be supported by evidence, research, and fact.”
SPME calls on the administration of the Oberlin College to continue to address this instance of very clear radicalism and perverse scholarship concerning Israel in an unambiguous, public, and forceful way, just as universities immediately have done when hate speech or acts of racism or prejudice have been directed at gay students, African-American students, Muslim students, or other minority groups on campus. We also call on faculty members to shed their reluctance to confront this wave of lethal propaganda, and speak out for the values that make American universities the centers of learning and research.