Students' Union, University of Essex, Colchester Campus, across Square 3.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The University of Essex is currently investigating one of their computer science lecturers, Dr. Maaruf Ali, after he allegedly shared antisemtic material on Facebook regarding Holocaust denial, Zionist conspiracy theories and his distaste at the idea of the university creating a Jewish society within the campus grounds.
University officials were first made aware of the infractions after Ali commented on a post spread around Essex's freshman Facebook group that Israel planned to "expel 36,000 Palestinians from the Negev." The university professor proceeded to comment, "the Zionists next want to create a society here at our university!"
“We call for a full disciplinary investigation and the strongest possible sanction for a staff member who has engaged in racist hate-speech and discrimination,” said a spokesman for the Union of Jewish Students.
Vice President for the Board of Deputies of British Jews Amanda Bowman added, "We and the Union of Jewish Students will be contacting the university to express our disgust and to call for a full investigation into comments that include Holocaust denial, conspiracy theories and Israel-Nazi tropes.”
This is not the first instance of sharing antisemitic rhetoric, however, for the computer science lecturer.
In 2016, Ali allegedly claimed "50,000 Jews protested [against] Israel [in New York]... [But there was a] total mainstream media blackout by the Zionist mafia."
The professor has also allegedly shared images from far-right neo-Nazi websites claiming that one of the police officers shot dead in the 2015 Paris terror attacks was a "Mossad agent alive and well in Buenos Aires... a crypto-Jew in the service of Israeli Intelligence."
A conspiracy theory attributed to Edgar J. Steele, a disbarred trial attorney from northern Idaho known for "defending racism" and convicted felon accused of attempted solicitation of the murders of his wife and mother-in-law, was also shared on Ali's Facebook page in August 2018.
The post read, “In all of German Occupied Europe, there resided 2.4 million Jews before the war, according to the world Jewish encyclopedia. After the war, 3.8 million Jewish ‘Holocaust survivors’ were receiving pensions from the German government.
“Tragically, the remaining 6 million were lost,” the quote concluded.
“It is deeply disturbing that someone who posts such blatantly antisemitic material, including Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about a ‘Zionist mafia’ controlling the media, should be teaching students at university. The fact that Maaruf Ali lobbied students to campaign against the creation of a Jewish society shows he does not keep these views to himself," said Dave Rich, head of policy at the antisemitism watchdog NGO Community Security Trust. “He should be suspended from teaching immediately and Essex University must urgently investigate if he has pushed these antisemitic views on campus."
More than two-hundred students at Essex University recently voted against the creation of a Jewish society within the university. Out of 600 registered student voters, thirty-six percent of them chose to vote against the formalizing of the society.
“This is racism, pure and simple. Those students who voted to exclude Jewish students should hang their heads in shame,” Bowman said.
The Union of Jewish Students expressed its "shock" and dismay surrounding the recent vote.
Normal procedure requires the newly proposed society to gain formalization by a winning vote on the Student Union website - societies that have gained clear ratification in the past include the "Pokemon Go Society," "Ted-X Society" and the "K-Pop society."
“[The Union of Jewish Students is] deeply disappointed by the significant proportion of students who have voted against the establishment of a Jewish society at the University of Essex," a spokesman for the organization said. “Jewish societies, of which over 60 exist on UK campuses up and down the country, provide a space for Jewish students to celebrate their culture and identity. The fact that some students at the University of Essex deem it fit to vote against that is quite simply shocking.”
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