German university suspends pro-BDS professor

Weisenthal Center's Zuroff says "it is very unfortunate that someone who has strong antisemitic views is allowed to promote those views in the German education system.”

January 10, 2017 19:22
2 minute read.
The Free University in Berlin

The Free University in Berlin. (photo credit: screenshot)


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The Free University in Berlin has canceled academic assignments for a pro-BDS professor who allegedly engaged in antisemitic activities.

In a tweet from FU sent to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, the university stated: “The professor will not receive teaching assignments at the Otto Suhr Institute until the accusations are clarified.”

The Otto Suhr Institute at FU said it takes the accusations very seriously. FU’s Twitter handle has 6,776 followers. The Otto Suhr Institute, where anti-Israel academic Eleonora Roldán Mendívil teaches, is a well-respected political science department.

Roldán Mendívil wrote on her blog, titled “cosas que no se rompen,” that it “only makes sense that different groups meet and BDS-affiliated or BDS activists fight against repression, occupation and arbitrary exploitation.” She has written, “Israel is a colonial state... Period.”

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s office in Jerusalem and the organization’s chief Nazi-hunter, told the Post on Tuesday that “obviously, this is a person who is an antisemite. It is unfortunate that someone who has strong antisemitic views is allowed to promote those views in the German education system.”

The German Jewish monthly Jüdische Rundschau reported Friday that Roldán Mendívil appeared in a rap video called “Long Live Palestine” and sang “No peace with the occupation regime.”

Alex Feuerherdt, a German journalist with expertise in contemporary European antisemitism, wrote on the “mena-watch” website on Tuesday that Roldán Mendívil “played down the antisemitic terrorism of Palestinian organizations and held the Jewish state responsible for this terrorism.”

The academic wrote that she supports the “Palestinian struggle” and argued that “one can clarify why Hamas has gained support.”

Roldán Mendívil apparently blamed the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 for the current conditions of Palestinians in Lebanon and for the EU- and US-designated terrorist organization Hamas, according to her critics.

She signed an anti-Israel petition in 2014 against Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, which sought to stop Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli communities.

The FU group “Against Every Form of Antisemitism” first notified the university administration in January about the anti-Israel positions of the academic. According to a Wednesday statement, the group welcomed the university’s decision to remove her from teaching.

“We consider it for unacceptable that a radical anti-Zionist who called Israel a colonial and apartheid state and shows solidarity for anti-Semites of a Maoist youth resistance group and the BDS movement is given a platform as an academic,” wrote the students from the FU group.

The students added, “Whoever calls for the abolition of Israel – the only Jewish state in the world – cannot be in the position to teach an academic seminar, especially on the topic of racism.”

Roldán Mendívil teaches a Racism in Capitalism seminar.

A query sent to Roldán Mendívil was unanswered by press time. FU spokeswoman Krstin Goran wrote the Post by email that the university management endorses the academic suspension.

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