Thursday, December 1, 2011

CSU Northridge David Klein's offensive webpage.

Is there a limit to academic freedom? Is there ever a time when academic freedom crosses the line into full-fledged indocrination of students? Does a Professor have the right to post offensive, racially charged and academically irrelevant material on his state-funded website?

From the AMCHA Initiative, authored by Tammi Benjamin, a nominee for Jewish Community Hero of 2011

David Klein, a Mathematics professor at California State University Northridge, is a founding member of the Academic Boycott of Israel campaign, and recently authored an open letter to CSU Chancellor Reed, urging him to rescind the newly revived CSU-Study Abroad Program in "apartheid" Israel. Professor Klein uses the official website of the CSUN Mathematics department to post anti-Semitic text and pictures, which are intended to incite hatred of Israel and her supporters and encourage political activism to harm the Jewish state.

Last week we sent the following letter to CSU Northridge President Jolene Koester , apprising her of Professor Klein's anti-Semitic webpages and urging her to have them removed from the CSUN server:

Dr. Jolene Koester
President, California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA 91330

Dear President Koester,

We are faculty members at the University of California, who have been investigating and documenting anti-Jewish bigotry on California public university campuses for the last several years.

In case you have not seen them, we wanted to bring to your attention two webpages of CSU Northridge Professor of Mathematics David Klein, which are hosted on the CSUN server:
Professor Klein's "Home Page," linked to the "Tenure-Track Faculty" webpage of the CSUN Department of Mathematics, contains a section entitled "CSU and Political Issues," that includes a link to another CSUN-hosted webpage entitled "Boycott Israel."
Professor Klein's "Boycott Israel" page contains a litany of false and inflammatory statements and photographs intended to incite hatred and promote political activism against the Jewish state.

There are several reasons why Professor Klein's webpages should be immediately removed from the CSUN server:

1) These webpages are in clear violation of the CSU policy prohibiting the misuse of the CSU name for inappropriate purposes, including for the promotion of political organizations and activities such as "boycott." As you have seen on Professor Klein's Home Page, he specifically links the University to several political action organizations and activities, including the boycott of Israel, in a section he telling calls "CSU and Political Issues."

2) Many of Professor Klein's statements on his "Boycott Israel" webpage meet the U.S. Department of State's Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, including the statement that "Israel is the most racist country in the world." In addition, the pictures of mutilated dead babies that appear on this page, with the clear implication that the babies have been brutally murdered by Israeli soldiers, are perfect examples of the classic anti-Semitic "blood libel", the false accusation that Jews kill non-Jewish children for evil purposes, an accusation that has been used throughout Jewish history for the purpose of inciting hatred and violence against Jews. Campaigns to boycott the Jewish state are also anti-Semitic according to the U.S. State Department, and in some cases are a violation of U.S. law.

3) The promotion of virulently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements and imagery on the departmental website of a CSUN faculty member cannot help but contribute to a hostile environment for Jewish students on your campus.

4) CSUN is a public university, whose facilities and resources, including the CSUN website, are supported by the tax dollars of California citizens, many of whom would find Professor Klein's webpages an egregious violation of public trust.

We do not believe that this is an issue of Professor Klein's freedom of speech. Indeed, CSUN's policy on internet use explicitly states that the University has the right to remove "any defamatory, offensive, infringing, or illegal materials" from its website. If you choose not to remove Professor Klein's anti-Semitic material from the CSUN website, we will presume that it is because the University finds nothing "defamatory, offensive, infringing, or illegal" about these webpages, and is unconcerned with the effects they may have on CSUN students, parents, community members, and taxpayers.

We know that you will soon be retiring as CSUN President, but we trust that you will have the opportunity to look into this matter and take appropriate action.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Lecturer, University of California at Santa Cruz
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative

Leila Beckwith
Professor Emeritus, University of California at Los Angeles
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative


It has been over a week, and we have not heard from CSUN President Koester or the individuals copied on our email. We believe it is important for the CSU leadership to know that members of the Jewish community are outraged that a publicly funded university is hosting an anti-Semitic website. Please consider sending a respectful letter to one or more of the following individuals, asking them to remove Professor David Klein's anti-Semitic webpages from the CSUN server:

CSU Northridge President Jolene Koester:
CSU Chancellor Charles Reed:
CSUN Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Harold Hellenbrand:
CSUN Department of Mathematics Chair Werner Horn:

You may also consider sending an email to Chancellor Reed, asking him to reject the open letter authored by Professor Klein urging the Chancellor to rescind CSU's Israel Study Abroad program. Given the anti-Semitic nature of Professor Klein's website, it is quite clear that his open letter is yet one more attempt to harm the Jewish state and those who support it. In this case, his anti-Jewish animus is aimed directly at our students.


Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Lecturer, University of California at Santa Cruz
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative

Leila Beckwith
Professor Emeritus, University of California at Los Angeles
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative


Please consider writing a letter to the CSU Chancellor regarding this wildly inappropriate use of tax-payer sponsored bandwith. Its up to ALL of us to defend the rights of Jewish students on campus.


Anonymous said...

While I do believe the Professor David Klein should not be punished for holding an unpopular or controversial political viewpoint, it is inappropriate for him to promote his personal political viewS on the offical Cal State Univeristy Northridge website.

He should establish a personal website to express his personal political views.

His resource for boycott Israel appears to be violating official CSU policy. The President of CSUN should seek legal counsel and get a legal determination if this page is consist with policy or violates policy.

Anonymous said...

faculty at universities can't express political opinions now? is this the america we want to live in?

is it any political opinions you object to? or should we have some committee that decides which opinions can be expressed and which cannot?

and if they can't be expressed on a website, I guess they can't be expressed in class, and not on university grounds either, because that also takes university support .

I work at a university. Please let me know what opinions I am allowed to express and which ones are forbidden.

thanks in advance

Dusty said...

Prof. Klein can express what ever bigoted, racist opinion he wants, but using tax-payer financed resources gives his ravings the imprimatur of acceptance by the University. Thats inappropriate.

Just curious. Do you also support Donald Sterlings right to "free speech"? Do you believe his punishment was unjust because he was just expressing his opinion?

Must Love Dogs said...

If you are so brave about sharing your opinion, why are you afraid to share your name? Coward!