UPenn Honors Radical Professor Who Accused Israel of ‘Genocide’

Dorothy Roberts set to receive MLK Jr. Social Justice Award

Dorothy Roberts (Wikimedia Commons/YoungColtrane)
January 24, 2024

The University of Pennsylvania is giving its annual MLK Jr. Social Justice Award on Wednesday to a radical professor who signed a letter accusing Israel of "genocide" and "apartheid" and denounced U.S. military support for the Jewish state as a "moral catastrophe."

Dorothy Roberts, a UPenn sociology and law professor, is slated to receive the award from the UPenn Africana studies department and give the annual MLK Social Justice lecture.

"The 23rd Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture in Social Justice proudly presents Dorothy Roberts as she reflects on the Civil Rights Act of 1964," said an announcement for the event on the UPenn website. The event is sponsored by the UPenn Center for Africana Studies, the Annenberg School of Communication, the Penn Carey Law School, and the Department of Sociology.

Roberts’s speech comes as the university has been rocked by multiple anti-Semitism scandals. UPenn president Liz Magill was forced to resign last month after she and other Ivy League presidents suggested during a congressional hearing that calls for Jewish genocide could be permitted under campus rules.

The university also drew fire after hosting a conference with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic speakers in September, including Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters, who has dressed in Nazi regalia.

UPenn and Roberts did not respond to a request for comment.

Roberts, who often denounces prisons and child protection services as racist, signed a letter calling on President Joe Biden to demand a "ceasefire" in Israel on Oct. 17, less than two weeks after Hamas terrorists brutally slaughtered over 1,000 Israelis.

She said she was "morally compelled to sign" the letter in a post on Twitter.

The letter described Israel’s military response to the Hamas attacks as an "internationally supported genocide." It also called Israel "an apartheid regime whose occupation is in clear violation of international law" and argued that Palestinians "face genocide and ethnic cleansing."

Roberts previously posted a defense of a global boycott of Israel and questioned whether Jews were white, writing that "race is a political invention, so who qualifies as ‘white’ depends on power, not biology."

Roberts has also argued that adoption and anti-child abuse policies are racist, calling for a "world without adoption."

She said adoption "supports the white savior narrative and masks the state neglect & violence that put children there."

Child protection services are "designed to police and punish low-income, mostly BIPOC parents for conditions created by structural inequities instead of supporting children and their families," she wrote in another post.