Remember Joy Karega, the anti-Semitic Oberlin College professor who shared such gems on social media as her theory of ISIS secretly being a creation of the Jewish state? Not to be outdone, this week another professor is making waves for his noxious views on the Jews.
Like Karega, Michael Chikindas, a professor in Rutgers’ Department of Food Science, is fond of using Facebook as a canvas for his hateful screeds and conspiracy theories. (Chikindas’ anti-Semitic Facebook posts were originally discovered by Israellycool.com.) Looking at his ouevre—ravings about hoodwinked “goyim” and the Rothschilds, accompanied by several versions of the Internet’s most popular caricature of the hook-nosed Jew—you would hardly be surprised to learn that he was educated in Soviet schools, which upheld an “anti-Zionism” that drew on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
And as you might also expect, Chikindas blends anti-Semitism with other forms of bigotry, particularly misogyny and homophobia. He refers to Melania and Ivanka Trump as “two black widow style [sic] bitches” and claims repeatedly that “Israel is far ahead of many countries in homosexuality,” curiously laboring to remind his readers that Israel leaves even Holland in the dust.
Proving that conspiratorial thinking is an endlessly inventive art form, Chikindas dabbles not only in Holocaust denial and claims of “false flag” attacks, but also advances the bizarre theory that it was the Jews, not the Turks, who orchestrated the Armenian genocide.
All of this should deeply trouble his employer. In October of last year, Brandeis University released a report on campus “Hotspots of Antisemitism and Anti-Israel Sentiment.” Rutgers did not score well: Around 39 percent of its Jewish students perceived a “hostile environment to Israel”. Yet while we’re accustomed lately to blaming this sort of thing on Left anti-Zionism, the survey concluded that the “relatively high” hostility at Rutgers had less to do with Israel than “more traditional antisemitic stereotypes and tropes”. While Chikindas is clearly obsessed with the Jewish state, his hateful idiolect reflects the pattern Brandeis noted.
Rutgers is also the employer of the preeminent far-Left anti-Semite, Jasbir Puar. An Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Puar, who is a key proponent of the “pinkwashing” conspiracy theory, became notorious in early 2016. In a talk at Vassar College, she combined queer theory and Foucault’s biopolitics in a blood libel claiming that Israel holds the Palestinians in a limbo of debility, “maiming” but not killing them so as to extract their resources indefinitely. Outrage went viral and Puar disappeared for a while, but she has resurfaced and is releasing a book on November 3rd about Israel’s vampyric imperialism.
Such prejudice mustn’t be tolerated, in Rutgers or anywhere else. Inevitably this will stir a debate about their academic freedom, but the real question is what did Rutgers see in Chikindas and Puar in the first place? We should expect our professors and scholars to dismantle, rather than spread, odious and demonstrably false ideas that serve only to stoke hatred.
Note: This piece has been amended to acknowledge that reports of Chikindas’s Facebook page first appeared on Israellycool.com.
John-Paul Pagano is a writer in New York. He blogs at The Socialism of Fools.