A professor at Oberlin College, one of the most prestigious institutes of higher education in the country, has written and shared a series of Facebook posts claiming that Jews or Israelis control much of the world and are responsible for the 9/11 and Charlie Hebdo attacks and the rise of ISIS.
Joy Karega, an assistant professor of Rhetoric and Composition, shared a graphic shortly after the Charlie Hebdo shooting last year of an ISIS terrorist pulling off a mask resembling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The terrorist has a tattoo with a Star of David and the acronym “JSIL” – presumably a Jewish version of ISIL/ISIS. The picture includes graphic text implying that the murder of cartoonists was a “false flag” conspiracy designed to stop French support for Palestinians. In the accompanying status, Karega wrote, “This ain’t even hard. They unleashed Mossad on France and it’s clear why.” The Mossad is Israel’s national intelligence agency.
She wrote the same day that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to the massive free-speech rally in Paris “uninvited and of course he went even when he was asked by Pres. Hollande (France) not to come. Netanyahu wanted to bend Hollande and French governmental officials over one more time in public just in case the message wasn’t received via Massod [sic] and the ‘attacks’ they orchestrated in Paris.” She neglected to mention that Netanayhu was in Paris to honor four Jews who were killed in a terror attack in a kosher supermarket that same week. Karega also wrote in November that ISIS was not really Islamic, but rather “a CIA and Mossad operation, and there’s too much information out here for the general public not to know this.”
Karega, who received a PhD from the University of Louisville in 2014, publicized claims last year that “Israeli and Zionist Jews” were behind the attacks on the World Trade Center. She shared a blog post that embedded a speech by Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who has frequently been accused of anti-Semitism. At about 1:04 in the video, Farrakhan offers his theory of the attackers and their motivations:
They say that the World Trade Center building were brought down by carefully placed explosives, not by planes. They say that all three buildings had to have been wired with explosive charges long before September the 11th and this is something that took tremendous sophistication to do, and that sophistication was not with Osama bin Laden or his followers. Listen. But if it was not Muslims then who? Thanks to the exemplary work of scholars like Victor Thorn and Christopher Bollyn it is now becoming apparent that there were many Israeli and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attack.
Although Karega claimed to disagree with Farrakhan in many respects, she endorsed the link, writing “Farrakhan is truth-telling in this video.”
Karega’s Facebook history also shows a preoccupation with the Rothschild family, a banking dynasty of Jewish heritage that has been the subject of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories for hundreds of years. She posted an unflattering photograph of banker Jacob Rothschild in December 2014, with the text accompanying the photograph saying, “We own nearly every central bank in the world. We financed both sides of every war since Napoleon. We own your news, the media, your oil and your government.” The Rothschilds made a reappearance a few weeks later when Karega accused “the same people behind the massacre in Gaza” of shooting down a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. “With this false flag,” Karega surmised, “the Rothschild-led banksters, exposed and hated and out of economic options to stave off the coming global deflationary depression, are implementing the World War III option.”
Karega returned to the theme of Jewish control of the government when she shared a news report about a $12 million grant that the Obama administration had given to Holocaust survivors. Karega seemed to take issue with the decision to give financial support to victims of genocide, writing, “One of these days some of My Peoples gonna learn who ALL American presidents work for and why they are chosen and placed in office.” She continued on this vein in the comments: “Later I’m gonna try to look at some of these Federations that handle the money and resources. We can probably look deep and try to trace it.”
The revelations about Prof. Karega’s Facebook posts come amid growing concern that Jewish students at Oberlin are facing a rising wave of anti-Semitism. This January, the frequency of anti-Semitic events on campus spurred 225 alumni and students to form Oberlin Alumni and Students Against Anti-Semitism. In an open letter, the group charged that several student organizations “have assumed the role as the mouthpiece of the BDS movement,” which delegitimizes Israel and has frequently been criticized for giving cover to anti-Semitism. The message that these groups promulgated is “Either forfeit your allegiance to Israel and join us, or we will brand you as an enemy of justice and complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people.” The group condemned the tactics employed by pro-BDS student groups, whose tactics “intimidate, threaten, and coerce Jewish students.”
Melissa Landa, an organizer of the group fighting anti-Semitism at Oberlin, wrote in an e-mail last month to Prof. William Jacobson of the Legal Insurrection blog, one of the leading activists fighting anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in academia, that the group has “begun to document all incidents of anti Semitism at Oberlin by collecting testimonials from alumni and current students. As of today, that list is 5-pages in length and includes physical intimidation, verbal harassment, and vandalism.” (Full disclosure: I am a Legal Insurrection contributor).
The group’s open letter to the school administration documented numerous incidents:
According to The Jewish Exponent, an award-winning newspaper that serves the Jewish community of Philadelphia, one Oberlin student reported, “My fellow Obies and I were expected by our peers to join them in denouncing a plethora of social evils including…Israel.” That same student described an incident on campus when, “One speaker drew laughs when she said that Zionists should be burned at the stake.” In addition, the AMCHA campus monitor, which is published by a non profit organization that addresses anti-Semitism on college campuses, has documented numerous messages posted on line by the student group, Students for a Free Palestine, including, “Ohio is infested with Zionism,” and describing Israel as a “white supremacist,” “violent apartheid state.” As reported to The Oberlin Review, other incidents include the expulsion of the Kosher Halal co-op from the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA) and an exhibition of black flags symbolizing the Palestinians killed in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge displayed on Rosh Hashanah, one of Judaism’s holiest days.
Jewish students have articulated the impact of these incidents on their lives. The Oberlin Review quoted one student who said, “I quickly learned that at Oberlin, love for my own nation (Israel) was not something I could freely express.” The student who was quoted in The Jewish Exponent, also explained that she transferred out of Oberlin due to its “toxic climate…around Israel.”
Updated, 2/26: Karega did not respond to multiple requests for comment. After the original publication of this article, Oberlin spokesperson Scott Wargo issued this response:
Oberlin College respects the rights of its faculty, students, staff, and alumni to express their personal views. Acknowledgement of this right does not signal institutional support for, or endorsement of, any specific position. The statements posted on social media by Dr. Joy Karega, assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, are hers alone and do not represent the views of Oberlin College.
Karega appears to have deleted her Facebook posts, but more screenshots can be seen below.