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November 6, 2015 3:07 pm

California College Professor Says Pro-Israel Stance Led to Harassment, Assault, Intimidation on Campus (INTERVIEW)

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Dr. Denise Dalaimo Nussbaum. Photo: Facebook.

Dr. Denise Dalaimo Nussbaum. Photo: Facebook.

“It’s ugly,” said sociology professor Dr. Denise Dalaimo Nussbaum, describing the hostile environment in which she finds herself at Mount San Jacinto College in California, where she has been a faculty member for nearly 17 years.

Nussbaum, head of the college’s sociology department and a long-time champion of ethnic diversity and human rights, told The Algemeiner on Wednesday about the months-long ordeal she has had to endure since taking a stand against anti-Israel bias. She is now suing the governing board of MSJC for 9.5 million dollars, and her lawsuit includes a litany of charges, including, “assault, battery… intentional infliction of emotional distress,” and “failure to prevent discrimination and harassment.”

Though Jewish, Nussbaum said she was never particularly vocal about specifically Jewish issues or Israel. On the contrary, as the director of BEAR (Bias Education, Advocacy & Resources), which she founded 10 years ago, Nussbaum was best known at her college for being the address for women uncomfortable going through official channels to complain about discrimination.

This is not to say Nussbaum never expressed her opinion about Israel – for example, when taking part in votes on potential guest lecturers.

“I have objected to some of the speakers that Amnesty International wanted to invite, due to their promotion of a radical Palestinian narrative,” she said.

But this year, she was absent during a meeting of the school’s “diversity committee,” at which Shahla Razavi, an Iranian math professor, who serves as the college’s Amnesty International Club adviser and leads the pro-Palestinian movement on campus – requested $2,500 to invite Israeli “peace activist” Miko Peled to give a talk.

Aware of Peled’s virulently anti-Israel politics and antisemitic statements (“according to the State Department’s definition”), Nussbaum wrote to the diversity committee to express her concerns. “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is incredibly important and deserves an open-minded, honest, factual and academic discussion,” she said in a letter. “If we are to bring this hot topic to campus, it must be in a balanced and scholarly manner.”

“I signed the letter: ‘Proud Zionist and Jew,’” Nussbaum said.

This prompted Razavi to launch a campaign to accuse Nussbaum of attempting to stifle free speech.

In her own email to the diversity committee, Razavi not only “utterly misrepresented my words, claiming I threatened to gather thousands of Jews to protest, but made Peled – someone who goes around saying Israel is an apartheid state – out to be a saint by comparing him to the likes of Nelson Mandela.”

“The most important issue here,” wrote Razavi, “is that if we can’t have the freedom and right to discuss controversial issues in academic institutions, where would we do? Academia is the natural habitat for diversity of opinions. Unfortunately, our faculty member opposing this event [i.e. Nussbaum] is using her power to intimidate not only myself, but the whole committee in what seems to me like academic bullying.”

Nussbaum was as incensed about what she considered Razavi’s “utterly false” portrayal of Peled as she was outraged at being called a bully. So she sent another letter to the diversity committee defending her position and setting the record straight about how she had originally represented it.

At this point, Nussbaum told The Algemeiner, she “didn’t think it was going to turn into a big deal; everyone knows me and what I stand for.”

However, for the next two months, from February to April – when a meeting of the faculty of all four campuses of MSJC was to be held – Nussbaum “could not go anywhere without being asked by teachers, and even some students, why I hate Razavi and Palestinians.”

During the week prior to the meeting, Nussbaum said, “I happened to be teaching my students about the civil rights movement [and protester William Lewis Moore’s 1963 sandwich board, with the words ‘Equal rights for all & Mississippi or Bust’ written on it] – and this gave me the idea to make one of my own.”

It was thus that Nussbaum arrived at the 100-strong faculty meeting wearing a board that said, “When did we abandon academic integrity for academic freedom?” It also featured two Martin Luther King quotes – “When people criticize Zionist(s), they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism,” and “Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity” – and one by Mahatma Gandhi about the link between democracy and education.

All this elicited, said Nussbaum, “were stares and glares around the room.”

What followed, according to Nussbaum, was a physical assault from a male colleague – associate professor of history Gary Vargas — “who couldn’t care less about Palestinians, but has had it in for me for years for protecting the names of a number of female students who had complained he treated them in a misogynistic way.”

The attack occurred at the end of the meeting, when Nussbaum discovered Vargas had snatched the sandwich board that she had leaned against a wall after making her point by wearing it.

“I tried to wrest it from his grip, but he grabbed my arm tightly and wouldn’t let go, even though I was screaming for him to do so,” Nussbaum said. “Nor did anybody come to help me.”

The large bruise this left on Nussbaum’s arm (which she photographed and submitted with a complaint to the police) was nothing, she said, compared to the subsequent psychological trauma she suffered by being abandoned by the college, “treated like a pariah” and subjected to a smear campaign. This has included attempts to ruin her reputation — by calling her such things as “Islamophobe” and “puppet of AIPAC” — and her career.

Indeed, Nussbaum said, threats to undercut her tenure have been issued, and her teaching schedule cut.

“None of this would have happened if I had remained silent about Israel,” Nussbaum concluded. “That’s what organizations like Amnesty International do – intimidate true liberals who don’t toe their line, and make everybody else cower. This is a larger issue than my suit against a colleague who assaulted me and the college that has rallied around him. It is a dangerous phenomenon that could happen to anyone these days who speaks out on behalf of the truth.”

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  • Hana

    Truth will prevail… and you amplified her voice!
    I envy you!!!
    I wish you complete healing of your traumas.
    Let your experience give you actually more force to work
    for the sake of our children who have to go through this tunnel at this time…
    Do you know professor Daniel Jonah Goldhagen and his monumental work?
    May be you collaborate and prepare a program that will assist the students in this grueling
    Journey, inside and out!
    Abundant blessings to you!

  • Sherlock Holmes

    Back in the 1960’s when I was a student at an East Coast ivy league university we looked on universities in California as living in a different universe. Not a lot has changed! I hope the police follow up her complaint. It’s hard to deny the evidence. I hope the university takes up her complaint and that she involves her Senator or Congressman. This needs full coverage as a test case.

    • Wow Sherlock! Aren’t we the profound one here?

      Yes it is hard to deny the evidence. The “anti-Semitic” voice that Nussbaum was trying to silence was the of Miko Peled, an Israeli Jew!
      It would seem that a well regarded sleuth such as yourself would have AT LEAST bothered to read Miko’s book The General’s Son or AT LEAST watched five minutes of one of Miko’s youtube videos before throwing in with the likes of Zionist Nazi “Burn the books!” Nussbaum.
      Not only is Miko an Israeli Jew who grew up in Israel, he is a former IDF soldier, part of a famous Zionist Israeli family, son of a famous Israeli general, grandson of one of the signers of the Israeli declaration of independence, and a well known and well respected peace activist who has given lectures all around the world. His 13 year old niece was killed by a suicide bomber.
      And what exactly are Nussbaum’s bonafides that would make her an expert over Miko? She’s an American Jew? Really?
      The evidence that is so hard to deny shows clearly that Nussbaum doesn’t give a flying flip about truth and academic integrity or academic freedom or freedom of speech or anything but protecting the Zionist lies that are provided as a steady diet to the people of the US.
      That same evidence also proves that Nussbaum should not be allowed to teach anything to anyone. I certainly wouldn’t want my children to be indoctrinated by someone who refuses to allow open and fair discussion on such an important issue, and who puts her opinion above that of everyone else.
      And I’m sure…also in typical Zionist fashion, she is being overly dramatic about the events surrounding her sandwich board. She is trying to stop free speech yet it is her who is suing the university? I hope she gets laughed out of court.

  • jakob wasi

    Touchy, touchy, touchy. What about the harassment of speakers who are critical of Israel? Am thinking of Chomsky and Finkelstein. Poor Finkelstein lost his position owing to that civil libertarian who is anything but civil nor libertarian the gasbag Dershowitz.When the spotlights on the Zionists they cry foul. Sniff, sniff, sniff. Croco tears!

  • Lauren Goldman

    It is nauseating how Razavi brings out the suppression of free speech, when it is the pro-‘palestinians’ who shout down those who disagree with them, and use physical intimidation. For those who doubt this, watch footage of any meeting, class, or any other event where there are people who are pro-Israel. Within minutes, it devolves into disruption and shouting-down caused by the pro-‘palestinian’ faction. It is also telling that the school administration allows this to happen, repeatedly.

  • abdur rahman khan

    all those suffering in world who are real roots of freedom so fascist hatters want to bring the world fromm light to dark ages fascist colonial slaveries based on faith of hate and narrominded culture .

  • David Cohen

    Reuven, in the article it says she has filed a $8.5 milliin suit agsinst the school.

  • Robert Davis

    She can thank obanana for letting in so many arabs while he curtails Israelis who want to travel to the US although the latter do not commit terror actions. Now arabs think they can do what they want in the US and this will not change as long as the gangster will squat the WH. IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH

  • The American Jewish community – the ADL, AIPAC, synagogue groups, the Federations, everyone – must stand up loudly and firmly for Professor Nussbaum. This outrageous and biased perversion of academic freedom can not be allowed to triumph over free speech, open discourse, common decency, and the truth. The community must vocally support Professor Nussbaum and call out the haters.

    • Stephanie Kay

      I agree! All the Jewish organizations must protest and protest loudly! Enough is enough! We have said Never Again so let us put our money where our mouth is!

  • reuven

    Professor Nussbaum should consult with a lawyer to see if legal action can be brought against Vargas. I think she should also discuss with the lawyer whether the school has behaved illegally toward her. The responsibility of the school is not clear to me.

  • Annie

    Antisemitism is a societal illness based on severe insecurity of goyim and their jelausy to Jewish talents and achievements. How do you comfort the ones who are lacking it?
    By telling them that this is the part of growing up. As for bullies, and the so called “friends” of freedom of speech in academia, there must be proper standards. Breach of standards warrants firing, paying fines, losing academic status, and shaming them in courts including financial repercussions. There must be zero tolerance to criminals everywhere, especially in academic circles.

  • Elliot Goldenberg

    Bravo Denise! Standing up for truth is a difficult but praiseworthy action. Keep up the fight. We stand behind you!May H” help you win this lawsuit. If needed call on Irwin Kotler (Montreal) to help with this lawsuit. .. he might even do it pro bono!

  • Sharon Binder

    Why am I not surprised? Good luck to Dr. Denise Dalaimo Nussbaum. I hope she wins her case.

  • Sharon Binder

    Why do we hear more and more of these kind of occurrences in the exact place which it shouldn’t happen?

  • Lisa French

    Miko Peled is the grandson of Avraham Katsnelson who signed Israel’s Declaration of Independence, he is the son of Mattityahu Peled, a general in the Israeli army who fought in the 1948 war. Are we to believe the Miko Peled wants to see all Jews in the Red Sea? He is considered dangerous to this professor because dispels the many myths about Israel. There is no doubt that Israel has become what Jews once fled from, a brutal oppressor. I lived in Israel in east Jerusalem in 1984 and almost all the Arab neighbors have been evicted and their towns renamed with Hebrew names. There will never be a 2 state solution because there is not a state left for the Palestinians. Jewish Settlers have taken the best land and carved up the West Banks into several Gaza like areas in which Palestinians have to wait at gates to move between their own land while the settlers drive on Jew only roads. Everyone should listen to Miko Peled speak the truth about his beloved country on youtube.

    • fanya vasilevsky

      Lisa: If you do not know, Jordan was the other state that was given to the people who came to Palestine. The UN definition of refugees in Palestine were the Arabs who lived not less than two years in Palestine. The Arabs were coming to Palestine, when the Jewish settlers were working hard to transform the desert to the good arable lands, that are now Israel. If the Jews took anything in Palestine it is the piece of desert that was once the home to two Jewish states and the Jewish Temple, the G-d’s First Temple in the world. The Jews were expelled from their prosperous land and when the Arabs came, the Jewish land became deserted and desolated place. This is so, because it is not their land. In the beginning of the last century the Jews start returning to their home and needed help to make this place prosperous again. Lisa:if you study history you will learn that there were no Palestinian people until the Arafat, the master terrorist invented this notion with the instigation of all the Arabs states. The truth is that the Arab world is not anti-Semitic, in fact the Jews and the Arabs are the cousins. The truth is that for the number of reasons the Arabs could not accept the Jews. The Jews were not supposed to exist. Period. And it seems that the entire world share these sentiments. It sad state of affair. So many lies, so many libels, so much violence!!! Yet, nothing works against the Jews, even the gas chambers did not make the Jews go away. So, get it over and accept the reality. The Jews and their Jewish state, Israel is here to stay.

  • Mordecai Ben Natan

    This shows how well the Muslims/Arabs have spread lies about Israel. They have the money and the population to do this. 1.6 BILLION Muslims and all the Arab oil money.

    Israel has very lite money to dispute the lies about Israel.
    With a world population of 14 Million Jews, it is easy to be the big bully and hurt Israel as much as possible.

    How many of those at her college (or anywhere) have ever been to Israel to learn the truth.?
    It is not possible for hundreds of millions to visit Israel and see for themselves that the stories about Israel are all lies.

    What makes matters worse, is Reuters, who publishwed an article which read
    “Elderly Palestinian woman shot deaf by Israeli army”
    So, people read the headline and not the story.
    In the body, it says a 72 year old woan tried to ram her car into a group of Israeli soldiers. a military spokesman “alleges”
    So, read the headline, and you will say. “those damn Jews again”

  • joe

    So here you have the continuing infiltration of propagandists for the lies of the Arab War against the Jews who pose and pretend to be second rate academics and human rights proponents. They do not care about truth but to win their argument of hate against the Jews.
    They will use any tactic to advance their argument including appealing to the base-emotion of hate and the use of shallow-minded stooges such as the collaborator Peled.
    As a casualty in the Arab War against the Jews, Professor Nussbaum has no choice but to fight with all her might against these enemies of truth. Professor Nussbaum can reach out to the Legal Project of the Middle East Forum run by Daniel Pipes to assist in her legal battle. They offer high quality, highly experienced pro bono [no cost] attorneys and law firms
    committed to protecting free speech especially when assaulted by the agents of the Arab War against the Jews and the West.
    Professor Nussbaum, you are not the first casualty and you are not alone. Good luck.

  • Elisabeth Wolf

    The anti-semitic activities at US universities does not differ much from what happened to Jews in Germany and Austria during 1932 to 1945. It is just lacking concentration camps and extinction institutions for Jews – so far.

    Elisabeth Wolf, Germany

    • fanya vasilevsky

      Not yet.

  • Ashley P. Wright

    I applaud Dr. Nussbaum’s integrity and courage.

  • mervyn

    prominent Palestinian human rights activist lamented on Monday night what he called the media’s unfair treatment of the Jewish state.
    At a pro-Israel gathering hosted by advocacy group StandWithUs in New York City, Bassem Eid, a Jerusalemite, said the press, which is “full of antisemitism” and “hatred,” is “much more interested in fighting against Israel” than discovering the truth. So, he added, “Let us [Palestinians] tell the world what we are really suffering from.”
    Eid, a former director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG), said Palestinians are “fed up and hopeless,” and have lost trust in the Palestinian Authority (PA). Meanwhile, he asserted, Israel is “the safest place” for Palestinians in the Middle East.
    He continued, “When Israeli Arabs complain about Israel, I tell them, ‘So move to Syria, go to Yemen…’ And they can, but it’ll be worse for them there.” He also cited a recent survey conducted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy which revealed that a majority of east Jerusalem Arabs would prefer living under Israeli rule than Palestinian.
    Talking about the current wave of terrorism sweeping Israel, Eid said, “When I watch TV and see a Palestinian youth — 13, 14 or 15 years old — holding a knife in his hand, running in the street and wanting to stab and kill, I think it’s the most barbaric thing I’ve ever seen. Will stabbing Jews solve my problems? Will killing a Jew solve my problems? Look at Hamas — in the past nine years they’ve been shooting rockets. What have we, as Palestinians, achieved? Let us be a little bit realistic.”
    He went on, “I [as a Palestinian] don’t want to be a victim anymore… I want to be considered as a human being who has full control of my own future and my children’s future.”
    Eid also claimed that Jerusalem has become “a victim” of several competing Palestinian political movements, including Fatah, Hamas and even Islamic movements inside Israel, who, he said, are all “adding oil to the flame.” He said Fatah’s only interest at the moment is to escalate the violence in Israel, and that even if Abbas were to call on Palestinians to calm tensions in east Jerusalem, “No one would listen to him.”
    This is one of many reasons Eid believes that Palestinians will have to wait at least another generation — “20-25 years” — for a solution to their plight.

    November 3, 2015
    7:22 pm
    Bassam Eid is clearly a modern who bears out my analysis of anti-Semitism as resistance to modernity. See, and note the concluding paragraph that explains that moderns are compared by those stuck in the medieval world as fallen angels, lost.

  • Julian Brachfeld

    I support Ms. Nussbaum’s actions 100%.

    I am so sick and tired of the constantly regurgitated anti -Israel propaganda which has little if any basis in fact and is highly symptomatic of the effectiveness of this propaganda.

    Far too many stupid people in the world wasting oxygen.

    Kudos for standing up to the scumbags called “educators” these days.

  • Julian Brachfeld

    I support Ms. Nussbaum’s across 100%.

    I am so sick and tired of the constantly regurgitated anti -Israel propaganda which has little if any basis in fact and is highly symptomatic of the effectiveness of this propaganda.

    Far too many stupid people in the world wasting oxygen.

    Kudos for standing up to the scumbags called “educators” these days.

  • If this is not nipped right away and at the source it will just continue to grow. My hat off for Denise standing up for what is right!!!

  • Dante

    A filthy mixture of misogyny and antisemitism at a campus of a free country.

  • Michael Levy

    The person whom we have to thank for this is non other than BARAK HUSSEIN OBAMA.
    It’s going to take some time to rid America (USA) from the anti-Semitism which exists due to Obama’s stance on Israel and the Jews.
    It will be a great day when he leaves office!!

  • a yid

    Dear Ms. Nussbaum,
    Thank you for standing up for Israel and the Jewish people. May Hashem protect you and help you with teshuvah.

  • Cyberats

    Arab Muslim occupied states: NY, MI, CA; any questions ?

  • Ephraim

    Good luck Professor Nussbaum! Absolutely right, and suffering for her honesty. I am sure our antisemite-in-chief is cheering the university on.

  • nelson marans

    The administrators and faculty have been complicit in shutting off free speech for supporters of Israel. Until donors and the state legislatures take action, there will be no safety for Jewish students nor pro-Israel professors at these institutions.

  • Samuel J. Savitz

    It is perplexing that the ADL and the ACLU have not come to Ms. Nussbaum’s defense, or for that matter any other organization that represents itself to be concerned with human rights. However, I shouldn’t be surprised given that her nemesis in this issue is Amnesty International, an organization which purports in its mission statement “…to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights.”

  • Isaac Gamiel

    Wow, did have any idea that there were folks with such guts and integrity

    Bless you and Hashem watch over you

    Isaac Gamiel

  • This is just one incident that will become millions if we allow the leftist facistsmto rule academia,the media and the country.

  • BUTSeriously

    Israel has never occupied another peoples’ land in all her 4,000 year recorded history. Calling Muslims as Palestinians is not just false; it is also a genocidal premise devised by Britain and Haj Amin. Its like calling Arabs as Israelis who are persecuted by the Jews. The pretend Arab Palestinians have a Caliphate dioctrine against Israel.

  • Fred

    America is being drawn into the sewage by pro Palestinian group. Academic excellence & freedom being curtailed by intimidation not open discussion.

  • Florres

    Don’t worry some UN NGO will do a survey to prove this is not ubiquitous and is not happening, never happened, ever. Just as it wasn’t happening for 1900 years earlier, without respite.

    They’ll bring out some NYT Jew like “conservative” Brooks, to tell us it was all the Jew’s fault, that 80 nations are in perpetual emotional war with us at all times yet it never happened, and we are the powerful, and it never happened, and all Jews are rich and white. The data always proves it. Antisemitism is customized for the left and for the right and for Islam, and the rich Jews will tell you that the Jews have alll the power, they minimize the physiical part, and completely erase the lesser physical and emotional stuff.

    “White” Jews were by far the most hated group among real whites in Europe. There is no higher level of racism than calling Jews with white skin “white”.

    And no I am not denying that the US, from about 1920-2000 has treated the Jews fairly, this country has. But the evil rich Jews are pretending that this was always the way it was, as the Jews are being purged from the Democrats by the insane right, blamed by the right, and hated uniquely and subteley by the Democrats. Jews need law based affirmative action, just not money, eff money, we need special and unique protection from the wirdness of rich Jews and antisemites and their continuam.

  • Alana Ronald

    How brave of this woman! She must have been very scared and this must have been a nightmare for her. I support her legal suit and wish her every success. Bullies need to be taught lessons, regardless of whether said bullies have academic degrees.

  • Dr Allan Pogrund

    How can you against these fascists?

  • Ronnie Jacob

    This is the sad reality and lack of diversity that has been simmering in academia for decades and has now boiled over. Prof. Nussbaum and many others like her must be supported by non-academics because academia has gone to hell.

  • Esther Kaplan

    The harassment of Nussbaum, emanating from faculty and emulated by students, is rapidly becoming the norm on American campuses. When I hear Jeb Bush ask rhetorically, “Who will take care of Israel, ” I think, oh, the academic community, twisted out of recognition, will take care of Israel all right. Propped up by the anti-Zionist liberal use-force-if-you-have-to governing boards of campuses across the nation will aid and abet the resulting insults to human decency.

  • SeeGG

    Please write Mount San Jacinto College to support Professor Dalaimo.

  • Mickey Oberman

    How can I, a Canadian, show my support for this courageous woman, Dr. Nussbaum?

    Mickey Oberman (Toronto)