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UPenn Announces the Return of Lectures by Antisemitic Cartoonist

The University of Pennsylvania communications lecturer who published a slew of antisemitic cartoons will return to the classroom in the fall to teach a course on political humor, the Ivy League school announced.

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.

NGO StopAntisemitism shared the images to X.

While Penn’s interim president, Larry Jameson, described the images as “reprehensible,” he made clear that he would not take action to sanction or remove Booth from the faculty, citing the school’s “bedrock commitment to open expression.”

Booth’s upcoming class confirms he remains in good standing at Penn.

Booth has taught the “Sick and Satired” course in the past, most recently during the fall 2023 semester.

As of Feb. 1, Penn’s course description site said Booth taught the class in “Fall 2022” and “Fall 2023,” an archived version shows.

The site was recently updated to note that Booth will teach the class in “Fall 2024.” Penn also began allowing students to enroll in the course this week, an online posting shows.

For Penn junior Noah Rubin, Jameson’s decision to allow Booth to teach a course in the fall is “outrageous but not surprising.”

“It’s disgraceful and embarrassing that Interim President Jameson has decided to rehire Booth,” Rubin told the Free Beacon. “I don’t feel safe taking a class with someone who spreads blood libel, and I know the majority of my Jewish friends feel the same way.”

“Over a month ago I met with the Vice Provost for Faculty to discuss Booth’s cartoons and she told me that we had to balance the values of ‘academic freedom’ with my concerns,” he continued.

“She also promised me that she would at least ensure students within his courses were reached out to—I’m still waiting for her to follow up and update me on this.”

Penn’s citation of “academic freedom” to defend Booth is at odds with the school’s handling of Amy Wax, a tenured law professor.

Former Penn president Liz Magill, who resigned in December after her disastrous congressional testimony on campus anti-Semitism, signed off last year on a decision to suspend Wax over the professor’s criticism of diversity initiatives.

According to a hearing board memo previously obtained by the Free Beacon, Wax “polarized the student body and alienated many students.”

Neither Booth nor Penn responded to requests for comment.

Booth has received a swell of support from Penn administrators and faculty members since his cartoons were unearthed.

The school’s faculty union went as far as to threaten to investigate Penn if Booth is disciplined.

“We write to express our concern about the targeted harassment of Annenberg faculty member Dwayne Booth,” the union wrote in a February letter.

“Jameson’s public rebuke of a faculty member for protected extramural speech imperils the academic freedom of every faculty member at Penn, and it adds fuel to the fire started by those who are actively campaigning to damage our university’s reputation and to destabilize its basic academic functioning.”

Booth in recent weeks has also defended his cartoons, saying that those who view the images “by themselves” are missing “necessary context,” given that he created the cartoons to accompany columns by former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges.

The columns routinely accuse Israel of “genocide” and compare the Jewish state to Nazi Germany.

“The Nazis shipped their victims to death camps. The Israelis will ship their victims to squalid refugee camps in countries outside of Israel,” Hedges wrote in one column that includes a Booth cartoon as its feature image.

“And if we do not stand in eternal vigilance over evil—our evil—we become, like those carrying out the mass killing in Gaza, monsters.”