Oberlin College, one of the nation’s most notoriously leftist institutions of “higher education,” is facing a federal civil rights probe over allegations that it allowed antisemitism to propagate on campus, including having a professor of “peace studies” who called for the elimination of Israel as well as the death of novelist Salman Rushdie.
The private liberal arts college, which took in more than $5 million in federal grants last year, could end up losing some of the millions it receives in annual federal funding as a result of the antisemitism investigation, according to a report by the New York Post.
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating Oberlin for its possible breaches of Title VI, which protects students from being harassed and discriminated against due to their race and national origin.
The probe, launched September 29, is reportedly a result of a 2019 complaint filed by Oberlin College graduate Melissa Landa, who founded the Alliance for Israel, a counter to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to systematically destroy the world’s only Jewish state through financial means, by boycotting companies that do business with Israel.
Landa graduated from Oberlin in 1986, and is the president of the Oberlin Chapter of Alums for Campus Fairness, a non-profit that works to end antisemitism. In her complaint, Landa included a report of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incidents at the school between 2014 and 2017.
Landa notes self-proclaimed “professor of peace” Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, a tenured professor in Oberlin’s peace studies and religion department, who is accused of supporting Hamas, as well as giving his students extra credit for writing anti-Israel blogs.
The now 71-year-old professor has previously taught at Columbia, Georgetown, and Princeton.
Notably, Mahallati was also Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, where he was accused of defending an Islamic decree issued by Ayatollah Khomeini to murder novelist Salman Rushdie.
“I think all Islamic countries agree with Iran,” Mahallati told Reuters in 1989. “All Islamic nations and countries agree with Iran that any blasphemous statement against sacred figures should be condemned.”
Rushdie — who lost an eye after being stabbed repeatedly by a supporter of the Iranian regime while giving a speech in Chautauqua, New York — has lived under threat of being murdered since 1989.
The professor has also been accused of helping the Iranian government cover up the massacre of thousands of jailed political opponents in 1988. Mahallati has also claimed it was “a religious obligation” for Muslims to “liberate” Palestine from “Zionist usurpers.”
Landa’s complaint also accuses Oberlin of failing to maintain the safety of its Jewish students, noting an incident in 2014 when members of the student group Students for a Free Palestine placed 2,000 black flags outside a venue where Jewish students were holding Rosh Hashanah services.
The Oberlin graduate explained in her report that the flags were meant to infer that the Jewish students were responsible for events taking place in Israel. The Students for a Free Palestine members also hung a banner accusing Israel of “murder” in the 2014 Gaza War.