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Notorious Canadian Antisemite Scheduled to Teach a College Class on Antisemitism

B’nai Brith Canada wrote to the University of Victoria (UVic) calling for more details about a planned course on the history of antisemitism taught by a professor it accused of expressing “hostility” toward North American Jews.

Dr. Shamma Boyarin — who the group charged with calling former Anti-Defamation League CEO Abraham Foxman a “zionist pig,” and accusing Jews at large of being complicit in genocide — will teach “Introduction to Antisemitism: A Historical Survey of Key Texts from Augustine to Luther” when the fall term begins on September 8th.

“To state the obvious, this is unacceptable,” wrote B’nai Brith Canada to administrators at the public university in British Columbia.

“Neither UVic nor any reputable university would ever allow someone who called a Black community leader a ‘racist pig,’ accused Black Canadians of complicity in genocide, or gave notice that he intended to mock a victim of anti-Black racism to teach a course on anti-Black racism,” the group said.

“Moreover,” it continued, “there is no evidence online that Dr. Boyarin has prior experience teaching or writing academically about antisemitism.”

A UVic spokesperson told The Algemeiner that Boyarin’s views had not been made on behalf of the university or in the context of his work, and that it was not the university’s role to “judge or censor its employees’ exercise of free speech in their private lives.”

“While all faculty enjoy the privilege of academic freedom, there are also limitations to this right,” the spokesperson said. “In this specific instance there is no evidence at this time that the faculty member has or will exceed those limitations in teaching this course. The university will act on any allegation that there has been a violation of university policies against discrimination or harassment, which apply to all members of our community.”

Boyarin was originally scheduled to teach “Towards an Understanding of Antisemitism,” whose course description said he would show that “even the most fundamental aspects of antisemitism are controversial.” But, B’nai Brith said, the university changed its title and description after the group raised concerns about Boyarin’s past conduct.

“Moving this course away from modern antisemitism is an important first step,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith CEO. “However, we are still concerned that instead of educating students on the scourge of Jew-hatred, there is a risk, albeit a reduced one, that hostility toward Jews will instead be promoted.”

Tuesday’s letter, “Academic Freedom Is No Excuse for Antisemitism,” said the university should publish the syllabus of the altered course online and be prepared to cancel it if it becomes a “platform” for antisemitism.