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ADL Highly Concerned About a ‘Deeply Disturbing’ Facebook Post by a Columbia University Program Director

  • December 17, 2012

Update: (12/17/12) The image and text calling the Israeli soldier a “terrorist” and “killer” was sub­se­quently removed from Maryam Zohny’s Facebook wall.  To date Columbia University has not responded to ADL’s letter.

             The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) urged Columbia University leadership to condemn ‘deeply disturbing’ online statements made 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 ‘Nofar Mizrahi’/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 Ms. Zohny had previously been circulated with text that claims that the officer is ‘wanted’ by the Al Qassam Brigades.

            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,” Mr. Foxman wrote.

            Ms. Zohny’s post was in response to an incident in which an Israeli Border Patrol officer allegedly killed a Palestinian teenager who reportedly pointed a gun at a patrol officer standing near her.  It was later determined that the gun was in fact a fake pistol.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.