Campus

UC Merced Professor Won’t Teach Spring Semester After Anti-Semitic Tweets Exposed

U.C. Merced campus / Wikimedia Commons

A University of California Merced professor who came under fire for anti-Semitic tweets earlier this year will not teach during the school's spring semester, sources confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon.

Abbas Ghassemi, an engineering professor at the publicly funded U.C. Merced campus, came under fire in January after the Free Beacon exposed a series of social media posts that called for Israel's destruction and mocked the Holocaust. An investigation into Ghassemi's conduct is ongoing and his spring semester classes will be halted, according to sources familiar with the matter.

U.C. Merced notified the advocacy group End Jew Hatred late Monday that Ghassemi would not be teaching his scheduled courses, a decision independently confirmed by the Free Beacon. End Jew Hatred and other pro-Israel groups have been pressuring the school to take action since his tweets first surfaced. Online petitions have also called for Ghassemi to be fired.

The decision marks a rare victory for pro-Israel advocacy groups fighting anti-Semitism on America's college campuses, which have become increasingly hostile to pro-Israel and Jewish students in recent years. Organizations involved in the effort to pressure U.C. Merced said they should be consulted in any administrative process addressing Ghassemi's actions.

"Blocking Professor Ghassemi from infecting impressionable young minds with his hateful propaganda this semester is an admirable first step," said Brooke Goldstein, executive director of the Lawfare Project and an End Jew Hatred partner. "The university must be transparent throughout his disciplinary process and provide further details about the training workshops they intend to hold this spring."

A full index of Ghassemi's now-deleted tweets compiled by the advocacy organization StopAntisemitism.org showed the professor praising the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah and referring to Israel as "IsraHell." Other tweets referred to outgoing secretary of state Mike Pompeo as "Pimp-eo" and promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. "The Zionists and IsraHell interest have embedded themselves in every component of the American system, media, banking, policy, commerce," one tweet stated.

"Abbas Ghassemi, a vile Jew hater and supporter of Iran's terror regime, needs to be kept as far away from young, impressionable students as possible," said Liora Rez, director of StopAntisemitism.org. "We applaud U.C. Merced for canceling his spring semester classes but continue to call on the university to fully terminate his teaching contract."

A spokesman for U.C. Merced declined to comment on the situation.