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August 16, 2016 12:29 pm

Tennessee Jewish Federations Outraged by University’s ‘Tepid Response’ to Virulent Antisemitism, Racism on Knoxville Campus

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University of Tennessee Knoxville. Photo: UTK.

University of Tennessee Knoxville. Photo: UTK.

Jewish groups in Tennessee expressed “anger, disappointment and worry” over the “tepid response” of university administrators to antisemitism and racism on the Knoxville campus, The Algemeiner has learned.

The Jewish Federations of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville on Tuesday urged the chancellor of the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK), Jimmy Cheek, to stop downplaying evidence — exposed recently by The Algemeiner — of rampant Jew-hatred and anti-Zionism at his institution.

In a letter obtained by The Algemeiner, the heads of the four Tennessee Jewish Federations said they were reaching out to “share our collective concerns and ongoing concerns about the antisemitic and anti-Israel social media postings by current and former students of UTK,” adding that such rhetoric should not be cloaked or excused by the school under the rubric of free speech.

The letter reads in part:

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All four of our Jewish communities have strong ties to the University and many of our constituents have been in contact with us to express their anger, disappointment and worry about these incidents and UTK’s official response. We are deeply troubled by recent events and we insist the University act swiftly and forcefully to condemn this hateful, antisemitic language in clear and unambiguous terms.

Their outrage was sparked after a report earlier this month by The Algemeiner revealed what a covert campus watchdog group Canary Mission described as a “cesspool” of racism and antisemitism at UTK, created by a ring of students associated with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA).

The Jewish Federations of Tennessee are the latest voices in a chorus imploring UTK to condemn antisemitism and racism on its campus. On Friday, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) called on UTK’s chancellor not only to “’condone the statements’ expressed by the UTK statements, [but] we believe you must go a step further and condemn the statements as antisemitic.”

LDB wrote in a letter:

While we do not dispute the right of students to express themselves, even outrageously or hurtfully, these messages revive bigoted antisemitic and discriminatory tropes, and we are concerned that these types of statements, and similar statements, could create an environment that Israeli students, Jewish students, LGBTQ students, and other students, will reasonably perceive to be hostile.

In a follow-up to The Algemeiner’s original report and UTK’s subsequent response, Canary Mission – a secret organization that monitors anti-American, anti-Israel and antisemitic activities on college campuses – released an expanded dossier on the racist activities of UTK students associated with SJP and the MSA.

According to the group, 14 current students, eight former students and one individual campus outsider are responsible for a total of “97 highly racist, bigoted, antisemitic or threatening posts” on social media.” The information, the group said, is just “the tip of the iceberg.”

The 97 posts span a wide range of offenses, Canary Mission said, including inciting and threatening violence, antisemitism, racism against black and white people, homophobia, praise for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and endorsing terrorism and terrorist organizations.

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  • Linda Goudsmit

    Jewish students are going to have to start suing the universities. Only litigation will publicize the outrageous anti-Semitism allowed on campuses, inform the alumni to rethink their gifts, and warn prospective students that they may not be safe on campus.

  • Anti-Semitism is no longer a pejorative in too many areas outside Israel – especially in the Democrat Party seeking separation from Israel and alliances with Iran/Palestinians/Islamic-Jihadists and other non-Jewish, Judeau/Christian sympathizers. J-Street Jewish “black sheep” leading their likes to slaughter houses labeled “Liberal Work Will Make You Free” have only rails and boxcars to add to their historical analogies. Thus have we come to the decline of humanity where, again, Jews are persona-non-grata because, … we are Jews….

  • judorebbe

    Note to Jewish (alleged) leadership: Getting ‘outraged’ is easy, but waking up the complacent Jewish community requires ‘making waves’.

  • Reform School

    Nearly eight years exposure to our Racist-in-Chief and his politicized Attorneys General has taught Lamestream Media (if nothing else) that Holder and Lynch would run interference for the most outrageous behavior they could imagine, redefining Freedom of the Press as License to Libel. A blind man could see the no-holds-barred attack against virtually all Republican candidates. Does nobody dare ask whatever happened to media empire heiress turned bankrobber/revolutionary Patricia “Tanya” Hearst?

    Just when we thought UC’s college administraitors’ (sic) BS surrounding BDS couldn’t get any cheekier, we get UTK chancelor Jimmy Cheek’s cheeky platitudes.

    Disturbing fads now invading 21st century “journalism” include excessive headline quips and abbreviations running on steroids. Overuse of abbreviations can confuse both writer and reader. Witness:

    The Jewish Federations of Tennessee are the latest voices in a chorus imploring UTK to condemn antisemitism and racism on its campus. On Friday, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) called on UTK’s chancellor not only to “condone the statements’ expressed by the UTK statements, [but] we believe you must go a step further and condemn the statements as antisemitic.”

    Do advocacy organization condone what they abhor?

    Before her aspiring reporter can Lea nutter egg, would Managing Editor Ruthie Blum please show her how careless usage of antonyms like “condone” and “condemn” can confuse even the best-laid stories? This Canary Mission story is for the birds!

  • Al Talena

    University administrators are either lefty PC intelligentsia or are afraid of the leftys & airabs.
    airabs are involved in the printing of schoolbooks and are sugar coating islam. In some schools, to understand islam, Christian kids recite the shahada, the islam conversion prayer.
    First night of the DNC. No American flag but there was a fakestinian flag as leftys & airabs burned Isdraeli & American flags…media silent.
    muslimes have been appointed to security positions in state dept.
    muslimes are suing bosses who refuse to give them numerous breaks during the day to pray.

    No need for terror. airabs are infiltrating the US.

  • Why are you spending so much on so few at UT, when the California system has thousands of antisemitic students, supports BDS, supports CAIR, the New York system is also bad. Yes make UT administrators answer, but look where the real problems run rampant, they aren’t even close to be rampant in Tennessee.

  • esther noodelman

    I am very pleased to learn that the Canary Mission is being lodged,hopefully worldwide to counter the horrific anti-Semitism actively displayed worldwide,especially on campuses.Yasher Koach!!

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