Denver Jewish Organizations Condemn Professor DU’s Rushdie Statement – ​​Boulder Jewish News


(DENVER) – We are appalled and angry at the claims made (per Jerusalem Post article August 23, 2022) by Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, according to Israel’s Mossad security agency is likely behind Salman Rushdie’s stabbing in Chautauqua, NY, earlier this month. Hashemi’s perverse assumption is yet another example in a long history of falsely blaming and scapegoating Jews for intervening in international affairs in manipulative and violent ways for nefarious gains. Such statements put our Jewish students – who already face unprecedented anti-Semitism on campuses across the country – at additional risk.

DU provided us with a statement they made to reporters that says, in part, that “Hashemi spoke as a faculty member and does not speak for the University…we wholeheartedly respect academic freedom and freedom of expression…his comments do not reflect the views of the university, and we know of no facts that support that view…we remain committed to ensuring that the experience of our students, faculty, and staff Jews be safe, supportive, respectful, and welcoming. To the extent they go, we acknowledge these words and call on the University of Denver, in the spirit of the rigor and standards we urge, below, to immediately publish a stronger statement, to publish and disseminate it widely and publicly.

In a united voice, we call on the University of Denver to exercise its own First Amendment right to condemn Professor Hashemi’s statement, which is damaging rhetoric disguised as legitimate opinion and completely unfounded in fact. Professors associated with a respected institution of higher learning such as DU should be expected to use academic rigor rather than fanciful speculation when making a statement. As American society is increasingly segregated by experts who spread misinformation, academia in general and the DU in particular must model for its students a higher standard, which teaches that with an academic platform comes great responsibility, that freedom of expression is never absolute, and that actions have consequences.

Scott Levin, Mountain States Anti-Defamation League
Daniel W. Bennett, Hillel of Colorado
Rabbi Jay Strear, JEWISHcolorado
Dan Leshem, Council on Jewish Community Relations
Rabbi Emily Hyatt, Rabbis and Cantors of the Rockies
Eran Hazary, American Jewish Committee of the Mountain States

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