January 18, 2021
UC Merced Engineering Professor Abbas Ghassemi will not be teaching at the university during the upcoming spring semester following a controversy over his anti-Semitic tweets.
Ghassemi’s tweets in question include a tweet of “The Zionist Brain” and another tweet stating that “the Zionists and IsraHell interest have embedded themselves in every component of the American system.” The university announced on December 29 that they would be investigating Ghassemi over the matter.
End Jew Hatred, a grassroots organization promoting the civil rights of Jews, announced on January 18 that UC Merced told them that Ghassemi will not be teaching during the spring semester. The Journal can confirm that this is the case and that the investigation is still ongoing.
“Blocking Professor Ghassemi from infecting impressionable young minds with his hateful propaganda this semester is an admirable first step,” Lawfare Project Executive Director and End Jew Hatred partner Brooke Goldstein said in a statement. “The university must be transparent throughout his disciplinary process and provide further details about the training workshops they intend to hold this spring. We demand that End Jew Hatred partner organizations be brought into the process to ensure that the training on anti-Jewish discrimination is done properly.”
Micha Danzig, another End Jew Hatred partner, also said in a statement, “Questions still remain about whether Ghassemi is receiving a salary throughout his suspension and whether he will return to teaching at some later date. The dangers of allowing him to spread Jew hatred on campus without proper repercussions cannot be overstated.”
Other Jewish groups also weighed in.
“We applaud UC Merced in this initial step in remedying the stain Abbas Ghassemi has placed on their University,” Liora Rez, director of the Stop Antisemitism.org watchdog, said in a statement to the Journal. “Ghassemi is a blatant Jew hater, fan of the Iranian Ayatollahs, and cheerleader of Hezbollah. He needs to be kept as far away from college campuses as possible.”
Stop Antisemitism launched a petition on January 5 calling on the university to fire Ghassemi; the petition has garnered thousands of signatures worldwide.
StandWithUs CEO and co-founder Roz Rothstein said in a statement to the Journal, “This is a very positive step, indicating that UC Merced is continuing to follow through on its pledge to stand against antisemitism. We look forward to hearing further details about how the university will ensure that Jewish students will not suffer at the hands of a professor who has expressed so much hate towards their community.”
Ghassemi did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.
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