ADL Urges Columbia U. to Condemn 'Deeply Disturbing' Online Post

ADL calls on Columbia University to condemn "deeply disturbing" Facebook post by Palestine Studies program director.

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Rachel Hirshfeld ,

al-Qassam brigades terrorist
al-Qassam brigades terrorist

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) urged Columbia University on Sunday to condemn “deeply disturbing'” statements that called an Israeli border police officer a “terrorist” and were posted on Facebook by the Program Director for the University's Center for Palestine Studies.

On December 13, Maryam Zohny shared a post on Facebook of an Israel Defense Forces officer accompanied by the text, "Israeli terrorist/Killer of the Martyr Muhamad Salayme/Wanted by the Resistance."

The Facebook post also included the logos of several Palestinian terrorist groups including the Al Qassam Brigades, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.  A version of the image shared by Zohny had previously been circulated with text that claims that the officer is “wanted” by the Al Qassam Brigades.

Zohny's post came in response to an incident in which an Israeli Border Patrol officer allegedly killed an Arab teenager who reportedly pointed a gun at a patrol officer standing nearby. It was later determined that the gun was in fact a fake pistol.

In a letter to Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University, ADL expressed deep concern about the posting and urged University leadership to take appropriate action.

"We find this posting by Ms. Zohny, a Columbia employee, to be deeply disturbing," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "Ms. Zohny is certainly entitled to her own views, but as a University official ostensibly responsible for helping to educate students about the Middle East, the sentiments expressed in this post are alarming and unacceptable.  This offensive posting, and Ms. Zohny's apparent animus towards Israel, call into question her judgment as a university official.  It also raises several questions about the credibility and objectivity of the Center with which she is affiliated, an academic program presumably responsible for educating students about the Middle East."

ADL strongly urged President Bollinger to look into the matter and, if verified, to take appropriate action.

"In a circumstance such as this, we believe it is incumbent upon the University to issue a clear and unequivocal statement that these views are neither supported by nor a reflection of the school," Foxman wrote.