Tuesday, November 28th | 15 Kislev 5784

November 14, 2023 1:53 pm

UNC Professor Said Israel Wanted to Kill Gazans Before Hamas Massacre; Will School Finally Do Something?

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avatar by Peter Reitzes


The bodies of people, some of them elderly, lie on a street after they were killed during a mass-infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, in Sderot, southern Israel, Oct. 7, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

On October 17, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), students taking a communications class were told:

“The majority of Palestinians are children. They are seen as legitimate targets of violence.”

“Israel and the United States do not give a shit about international law or war crimes.”

“White nationalists like Richard Spencer see Israel as a model to be emulated.”

“The attack by Hamas was not senseless, there is context.”

These are just some of the things that professor E. Chebrolu said during a class titled, “Rhetoric and Public Issues” (COMM 170).

Chebrolu told students, “What has been happening in Gaza and the West Bank is genocide.”

He went on, saying that “it is the mass killing of a people on the basis of their racialization. … It is ethnic cleansing. … It is what happens after a colonial apartheid state based on segregation decides that children and other non-combatants should be held collectively responsible for any act of violence taken to end that apartheid state.”

A student asked Chebrolu if Hamas still has Israeli hostages, and if that is why Israel is “mad.” Chebrolu responded, “Israel was going to do this at some point. That’s what I think.”

Seeking clarification, the student asked, “You said Israel was going to do it anyway?”

Chebrolu responded, apparently realizing the line he had just crossed, “Yeah, I think they were going to find an excuse. But it’s not something I should have said just now.”

Chebrolu called for a one state solution, twice telling students that the existence of Israel is “somewhat ridiculous.”

This UNC lecture occurred only 10 days after the October 7 massacre, in which Hamas terrorists invaded Israel, killing 1,200 people, taking more than 240 hostages, and raping and torturing many others.

After the class, Chebrolu apparently sent students an email which included five “resources,” explaining, “I don’t want to pretend as if I’m being impartial here — these are obviously from one perspective that I agree with.”

Chebrolu’s class is just one of many issues raised in a widely circulated petition, addressed to UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, written by “UNC Students, Parents, Alumni, Faculty, Staff, Friends, and Donors.”

The petition, which quickly reached 4,000 signatures, expresses “profound concerns” about campus antisemitism and “the hostile campus environment for Jews.”

This issue of safety on UNC’s campus is a serious one.

In a November 7 column in the campus paper, a UNC student explained, “I can no longer study Hebrew, the language of my people, in person due to safety concerns held by my Israeli professor.”

A local news outlet reported that at the October 12 “Day of Resistance Protest for Palestine” at UNC, “an Israeli professor was pushed down the stairs.”

The main sponsor of this protest, UNC’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, published a statement on October 8 — the day after the October 7 massacre — proclaiming: “It is our moral obligation to be in solidarity with the dispossessed, no matter the pathway to liberation they choose to take. This includes violence.”

The flier for the protest celebrated terrorism and violence by featuring a Hamas paraglider en route to kill, rape, and kidnap Israelis.

Matthew Kotzen, professor and chair of the UNC Department of Philosophy, wrote in the student newspaper that this image was “utterly indefensible” and endorsed “hateful violence.”

A protester at the rally was captured on video yelling, “All of us Hamas.”

For years, UNC faculty and students have been demonizing Israel in its classrooms, conference halls, and online spaces. As just one example, UNC’s 2021 course on Israel and the Palestinians was taught by Kylie Broderick who tweeted last month, “F**k Israel.” On November 10, Broderick reposted, “Israel & the United States have zero interest in retrieving those hostages.” Her anti-Israel track record is beyond vile, and has been reported on extensively.

Of all the possible people in the world who could educate our young about the complicated and tragically intertwined histories of Israelis and Palestinians, why would UNC ever choose Broderick?

The UNC administration holds a large amount of responsibility for its campus climate, which is increasingly hostile and unsafe for Jews and Israelis. Now a professor has been caught demonizing Israel, and its conflict with the Palestinians. If the UNC administration still refuses to act, it’s hard to draw any conclusion except that they are willing to accept it.

Peter Reitzes writes about issues related to antisemitism and Israel.

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