Newly-released video from a federally-funded event sponsored by Duke University and held at the University of North Carolina has revealed anti-Semitic content during what was billed as a conference on the Israel-Gaza conflict.
Last month, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill hosted the Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics, and Possibilities conference, which was cosponsored by Duke University and funded in part by a federal grant of some $235,000.
Documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz, who filmed portions of the conference before being forced off campus, released footage and audio recordings from the event on Sunday.
The footage taken by Horowitz includes a performance by the anti-Zionist Israeli-Arab rapper Tamer Nafar, who can be heard calling on the audience to “go that anti-Semitic”, before launching into a rendition of the song “Mama, I Fell in Love With a Jew”, by Nafar’s rap group, DAM.
“Anti-Semitism, yeah, okay,” said Nafar. “I know it sounds like R&B stuff, but don’t think of Rihanna when you sing it. Don’t think of Beyonce… think of Mel Gibson. Go that anti-Semitic.”
“Let’s try it together. I need your help because I cannot be anti-Semitic alone,” Nafar continued, later telling the audience, “You look beautifully anti-Semitic.”
Nafar, a former protégé of the Jewish rapper Kobi Shimoni – better known by his stage name “Subliminal” – has come under criticism in the past for his comments on suicide bombers and claim that Israel is a “terrorist state”.
Even Horowitz, who has documented anti-Israel events in the past, was taken aback by the open anti-Semitism he encountered at the conference.
"I heard there was a conference going on about the conflict in Gaza, and my initial assumption was that it was going to be a hate fest against Israel," Horowitz said in an interview with ABC-11.
"When I went there, that is what I found, but what I did not expect was for it to evolve into open anti-Semitism. You expect these attitudes from Neo-Nazis and white nationalists, but you don't expect these attitudes in the halls of academia.”
One professor, who was not named, even appeared to blame Jews for the recent spate of anti-Semitic attacks, committed mostly by young black men, in Brooklyn.
“Blacks have a lot of, also, reason to be angry at Jews now,” the professor said.
Audio taken from inside the conference highlighted snippets of conversations with attendees who articulated anti-Semitic canards regarding Jewish influence and the manipulation of global politics by Jewish money.
“You know, and their money rules the world,” one woman said, “and makes the decisions.”
Another woman told Horowitz, who is Jewish, that Jewish lobbyists “absolutely” control US government policy. “You guys…not you guys, Jewish lobbyists are very rich.”
“They’re influencing our politics,” another woman said of the “Jewish lobby”.
“Their money rules the world,” another attendee told Horowitz.
Days after the event, Swastikas were found drawn on campus. Later, posters warning of “an evil Jewish plot” were also found on campus.
Last Friday, University of North Carolina Interim Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz condemned Tamer Nafar’s performance, dubbing it “disturbing and hateful”.
“A performance during a recent conference held on our campus contained disturbing and hateful language. Like many members of our community, I am heartbroken and deeply offended that this performance happened. I stand steadfast against Anti-Semitism and hate in all its forms. The Carolina spirit is not about hateful language that divides us, but about civil discourse that advances ideas and knowledge. We must continue to aspire together to that ideal.”
Duke University also issued a statement, ABC-11 reported, generally addressing the recent spate of anti-Semitic graffiti and hanging of anti-Semitic posters – along with passing reference to “rallies or concerts, in conference rooms.”
We want to be very clear: anti-Semitism is one of the great scourges of modern life. Its resurgence, as demonstrated by the worldwide increase in hate crimes and incidents, is deeply troubling and should be of great concern to any civil society.”
"Whether it occurs on our campus, in our community, through graffiti, rallies or concerts, in conference rooms or courtrooms, we must all speak out forcefully against actions and statements that target and threaten members of our Jewish community.”