Temple University: Professor Questioning Holocaust Just a "Vigorous Exchange of Ideas"

Leah Barkoukis

5/29/2014 8:56:00 PM - Leah Barkoukis

Just another day on a liberal college campus:

A Temple University professor who questioned the deaths of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust and engaged in what human rights observers described as anti-Semitic discourse is entitled to promote his controversial ideas, according to a university spokesman who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

Adjunct Temple University Professor Alessio Lerro came under fire from Jewish scholars after he and other professors were caught on a secret listserv engaging in highly inflammatory anti-Semitic discourse about a resolution by the Modern Language Association (MLA) to boycott Israel.

Lerro accused “Jewish scholars” of having “humungous influence” over the entirety of academia and stated, “It is time that Zionists are asked to finally account for their support to the illegal occupation of Palestine since 1967,” according to message left on the listserv.

It further came to light that Lerro, in a now deleted Facebook posting, also questioned the deaths of 6 million Jewish people in the Holocaust.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are the great minds that are teaching the next generation. And what's worse, these types of attitudes and beliefs are welcome on campus, according to school officials.

“Temple University promotes open discussion and expression among its diverse community of scholars,” Temple spokesman Brandon Lausch told the Free Beacon. “The exercise of academic freedom necessarily results in a vigorous exchange of ideas.”

Lausch went on to say in a statement that the views and opinions expressed by instructors do not reflect those of the university. OK, even if so, couldn’t the school at least condemn such statements? Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, doesn’t think that’s too much to ask.

“’Vigorous exchange of ideas’?” Cooper asked, the Free Beacon reports. “Let us be clear. A person who questions and mocks the central fact about history’s worst crime is not acting like a scholar but a bigot.”

“I refuse to believe that the true scholars at Temple University would equate hate with historic fact when any group would be targeted in such a way,” he continued. “Of course he has the rights to such hateful views but why doesn’t the administration of Temple University have the decency to actually condemn these statements?”