Ivy League University Allowing Antisemitic Cartoonist to Teach Fall Course Because of Course It Is

875fa81d f0c3 4020 adca 43bdc9b12cb3

Despite the congressional hearings and public backlash against Ivy League universities about their acceptance of antisemitism on campus, the leaders of these institutions don’t appear to have learned their lesson.

The University of Pennsylvania recently announced that a political cartoonist named Dwayne Booth would be allowed to return to the university to teach a class on political humor. The course, titled “Sick and Satired: The Insanity of Humor and How it Keeps Us Sane,” is set to run from August to December 2024.

The problem? Booth is a virulent antisemite who has infused his cartoons with anti-Jewish bigotry, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Dwayne Booth, a lecturer at Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication, will teach a course during the upcoming fall semester titled “Sick and Satired: The Insanity of Humor and How it Keeps Us Sane,” according to a new course description updated Friday morning. The course, which will run from August to December, examines “the role of satire in revealing and mediating differences between disparate social groups” based on “political affiliation,” “cultural identity,” and “religious fellowship.”

The revelation comes roughly one month after the Washington Free Beacon unearthed anti-Semitic cartoons from Booth, who publishes the images under the pen name “Mr. Fish.”

One cartoon depicts Zionists sipping Gazan blood from wine glasses, a version of the ancient blood libel employed in anti-Semitic propaganda. Another shows Jews in a Nazi concentration camp holding signs that read “Stop the Holocaust In Gaza” and “Gaza, The World’s Biggest Concentration Camp.” A third depicts a Nazi flag with a Star of David drawn in place of a swastika.

Despite the outcry against this move, the university’s interim president, J. Larry Jameson, defended the decision in a statement on social media. He assured students that “these political cartoons, posted on a personal website, were not taught in the classroom and do not reflect the views of the University of Pennsylvania or me, personally.” He noted that he finds Booth’s work “reprehensible, with antisemitic symbols, and incongruent with our efforts to fight hate.”

The president affirmed that the university has “a bedrock commitment to open expression and academic freedom” and that it has “a responsibility to challenge what we find offensive, and to do so acknowledging the right and ability of members of our community to express their views, however loathsome we find them.”

Nevertheless, this move raises important questions about speech and how a higher learning institution should handle offensive viewpoints.

For starters, this move suggests that Penn, as well as other Ivy League institutions, is just fine with antisemitism as long as it comes from the left. Indeed, this is not about free speech – it is about politics.

There is no doubt as to how the school would have reacted if a cartoonist who drew offensive pictures of black or Hispanic people sought to be hired as a professor. There is no way they would allow for this type of individual and the beliefs they espouse to be in a prominent position of influence.

Being a private institution, the University of Pennsylvania is not bound by the First Amendment, meaning it can implement its own speech guidelines. The issue is not whether they can have rules regarding what types of views are acceptable—the issue is that these schools are not applying their guidelines consistently.

If the institution wishes to prop up people with offensive views, they need to allow it regardless of the group or demographic they are targeting. On the other hand, if the administration wants to put guidelines in place determining what is acceptable and what is not, these should also be applied consistently across the board instead of allowing bigotry toward one group but not another.

Booth’s rehiring is an obvious indicator that this university isn’t concerned about the spread of antisemitic sentiment on its campus. The question is: Will there be enough backlash to bring about accountability?

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top