Julianne Malveaux, the new dean of ethnic studies at California State University Los Angeles, is stepping into her new role with a history of past anti-Semitic remarks and controversial comments that have drawn criticism.
Malveaux has defended the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, using a 2018 article to minimize the controversial figure’s antisemitic remarks in the wake of that year’s Tree of Life synagogue shooting.
This year’s hiring announcement led to a variety of groups to condemn the university’s decision to tap Malveaux for the ethnic studies position.
StandWithUs CEO and Co-Founder Roz Rothstein told Education Next that “while we fully support better representation of marginalized groups in public education, it is now well documented that too many ethnic studies departments are institutionally biased against Jews and Israel.”
“Unfortunately, it appears this appointment will make that problem worse,” she continued. “How can Jews expect to be treated with respect in a college where the leader has defended Louis Farrakhan, downplayed concerns about antisemitism, and promoted destructive conspiracy theories about Jewish power?”
In a statement to Campus Reform, Cal State LA president William A. Covino expressed his support for Malveaux.
““Dr. Malveaux comes to Cal State LA as a highly regarded public intellectual, whose scholarship and commentary present a complex and challenging vision of how best to serve the public good. I am convinced that she is not antisemitic.”
Also in 2018, Malveaux was a guest on “Roland Martin Unfiltered,” a news show on YouTube, where she stated that “Jewish people certainly have a right to live, to survive, and to thrive, but at the expense of other people who they’ve run off their land,” in characterizing past Israeli government policies.
“And if you take it in terms of historical context, remember that Israel was created out of Palestinian land,” continued Malveaux. “Guess where they were gonna put it first? Uganda. The initial plan was to put Israel — they wanted to snatch some Black people land, but you know those Maasai were not having that. But that was the initial plan, was to create a Jewish homeland on the African continent.”
In a statement to Campus Reform, Rothstein explains that there was no official plan to settle in Uganda.
“The idea of Uganda as a Jewish refuge was overwhelmingly rejected by Jews in the early 1900s. They insisted that their freedom and independence could only be achieved in their ancestral homeland – Israel,” read Rothstein’s statement. “Malveaux and others can try as hard as they want to frame antisemitism as mere ‘criticism of Israel.’ These arguments can’t change the fact that ‘from the river to the sea’ is a statement of opposition to Israel’s existence, not its government policies.”
The “Uganda Plan,” as Haaretz reports, was an “idea was raised at the Sixth Zionist Congress, held in Basel in August 1903,” and “met with fierce opposition from many members.”
Campus Reform reached out to Malveaux for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.