Knox College Concludes Investigation Into Professor Who Claimed ‘Jews Act Like Nazis’
Knox College in Illinois has concluded an internal investigation into a faculty member who claimed “the Jews act like Nazis” while critiquing Israel, but is still reviewing an antisemitic incident involving another professor.
President Teresa Amott said her administration’s probe into tweets shared by Kwame Zulu Shabazz, a visiting assistant professor of Africana Studies whose contract is due to expire at the end of the academic year, “is complete and that actions have been taken” in accordance with school policy.
She explained that “corrective action” can only be pursued if “there is a finding that a faculty member has violated College standards,” but declined to comment on what specific steps were taken.
Amott indicated that many at Knox, herself included, believe that Shabazz’s social media posts “reference anti-Semitic themes and stereotypes” — a contention rejected by the instructor, who first drew concern in April for tweets claiming that the hip hop industry is controlled by “whites/Jews,” with “Jews pulling the strings for profit,” among other comments.
The revelations sparked a campus-wide controversy, which escalated when a Jewish professor who publicly condemned Shabazz’s posts for lacking “academic and intellectual integrity” was targeted with anonymous hate mail mocking her “cheap antisemitic accusation nobody cares about.”
College officials launched an investigation into the incident, which they say is still ongoing.
Shabazz — who has also expressed support for Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who publicly blamed “Satanic Jews” for the 9/11 terror attacks — has consistently denied charges of antisemitism, telling The Algemeiner on Friday that he is “not biased against Jews as a group.”
“I am critical of the behavior of some Jews, Zionists for example,” he said, noting that his “great grandmother is Jewish.”
Responding to criticism leveled against one of his more controversial tweets, which alleges that “the Jews act like Nazis,” Shabazz said he was referring to “Zionists (not all Jews).”
“The creation of Israel — policing borders, forming an army, making laws, etc. — was a genocidal act,” he continued. “I make the same point far more frequently about my own government (USA).”
Shabazz added that he tweets “about the pervasiveness of racism in the Arab world much more often than I do about Zionism or Black/Jewish relationships in America.”
He confirmed that his contract with the liberal arts college — which was set to conclude in 2017, but was extended for another year after students lobbied for his retention — has not been renewed.
“I worry that the interests of Black students have a low priority at Knox,” he said.
The school declined to respond directly to this allegation, pointing instead to Amott’s statement, which called on the “diverse” Knox community “to combat hatred and to educate ourselves to see beyond stereotypes.”