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February 14, 2019 5:02 pm

University of Sydney Fires Controversial Academic Over Image of Swastika on Israeli Flag

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The University of Sydney in Australia. Photo: Jason Tong.

The University of Sydney has fired a controversial faculty member who shared an image of an Israeli flag superimposed with a Nazi swastika during a lesson.

Tim Anderson, a senior lecturer in economics and international politics who taught at the university for two decades, was first suspended in December after showing the lecture slide in a “Human Rights in Development” course. The university deemed the material to be “disrespectful and offensive, and contrary to the university’s behavioural expectations and requirements for all staff.”

Anderson rejected the characterization, publishing the image online and asking others to decide “whether or how this infographic might be ‘offensive.'”

While he was given the opportunity to plead a case against termination, his appeal was ultimately rejected.

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A vociferous critic of Israel, Anderson has drawn widespread criticism — including from government officials — for his support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who he claimed has been the target of “false flag” attacks by Western governments. He has also expressed “solidarity” with North Korea in the face of US sanctions, repeatedly visiting Pyongyang.

In August, he was placed under official investigation for defending the badge of a former colleague that called for death to the US and Israel and featured a “curse on the Jews.”

He was convicted in 1990 over the 1978 Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing, but acquitted on appeal the following year.

“This move is the culmination of a series of failed attempts by management to restrict my public comments,” Anderson said in a statement after his suspension was first put into effect. “I have always rejected such censorship.”

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