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George Washington University Professor Accused of Antisemitism Leaves School, Heads to Qatar-Based Institute

Professor Lara Sheehi of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. Photo: X/Twitter.

George Washington University psychology professor Lara Sheehi, who was accused of verbally abusing and discriminating against her Jewish graduate students, has left the school and accepted a job at an institution based in Qatar, according to a correspondence obtained by The Algemeiner.

“I am writing to let you know that I have been offered a job at another university and I have made the difficult decision not to return to GW at the end of this year,” Sheehi wrote in an email sent to members of the university’s Professional Psychology Program. “As you can imagine, while this is an aligned professional and personal choice, I have mixed emotions, especially as GW has been my professional home since I was a graduate student.”

Sheehi added that she will “miss” her students, without mentioning that she was accused of mistreating several based on their ethnic and religious background. She is now employed as an assistant professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, a school based in the capital of Qatar, which hosts leaders of Hamas and, together with Iran and Turkey, has provided a significant portion of the Palestinian terrorist group’s budget.

Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, Sheehi has shared posts on social media describing Hamas terrorists as “martyrs” and endorsing their “armed resistance.” However, the academic was embroiled in controversy long before the current Israel-Hamas and surge in antisemitism on US college campuses.

In Jan. 2023, StandWithUs, an educational nonprofit, filed a civil rights complaint alleging that Sheehi, who taught a mandatory diversity course, invited an antisemitic speaker to address her class, launched a smear campaign against Jewish students, and later filed disciplinary charges against them in retaliation for their accusing her of antisemitism.

According to the complaint, Sheehi expressed contempt for Jews on the first day of class, when, in Aug. 2022, she asked every student to share information about their backgrounds and cultures. Replying to a student who revealed that she was Israeli, Sheehi said, “It’s not your fault you were born in Israel.” The students claimed they made several attempts to persuade the university to correct Sheehi’s behavior or arrange an alternative option for fulfilling the requirements of her course. Each time, StandWithUs alleged, administrators said nothing could be done.

Later, the complaint added, Sheehi spread rumors that the students were “combative” racists, and filed misconduct charges against them. One student told The Algemeiner at the time that she never learned what university policies Sheehi accused her and her classmates of violating.

“She turned the faculty against the Jewish students by spreading lies about us and our conduct, she disparaged us in front of our classmates, calling us Islamophobes,” said the student, who elected to speak anonymously for fear of additional retaliation. “She smeared our name in a community where success as a therapist really depends on relationships with our faculty supervisors and our colleagues. The disciplinary proceedings effectively silenced us, making it clear that you can’t be a Jew and you can’t speak up about antisemitism safely in this program.”

In response to a request for comment for this story, George Washington University just said it can confirm that Sheehi is no longer at the university, without addressing the accusations against her.

The allegations sent a seismic shock across the academic community, and a month after they became public over 500 academics and mental health professionals issued a letter urging the university to relieve Sheehi of her teaching duties.

Sheehi adamantly denied the students’ allegations, arguing in an essay published in CounterPunch on Feb. 3 that she was “targeted specifically because I am an Arab woman whose scholarship and activism advocates for Palestinians and, in the process, critiques Israeli settler-colonial apartheid.” Leehi also accused George Washington University of lacking “moral fibre” and having “colluded” with StandWithUs because it opened a third-party investigation into the students’ claims. She added that analyzing her X/Twitter account for evidence of her alleged antisemitism was ““civilizational and sexist discourse,” drawing from language that is popular among extreme left-wing academics.

That April, the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) opened an investigation into George Washington University to determine whether administrators refused to stop Sheehi’s alleged conduct. Weeks earlier, the school said there was no evidence to substantiate her students’ claims, citing an independent investigation it paid Crowell & Morning, a law firm based in Washington, DC, to conduct.

The government’s investigation into the university’s role in the events that took place during Sheehi’s tenure at the school is ongoing.

The Doha Institute for Graduate Studies did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Top IDF Brass Blindsided by UNRWA Fallout

View of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90.

i24 NewsSenior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) command was caught off guard by the speed with which the allegations implicating UNRWA staffers in the October 7 atrocities became public knowledge, according to a New York Times report published Saturday.

When, on January 18, UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini sat down with senior Israeli diplomat Amir Weissbrod in Tel Aviv for a routine meeting, the UN official was supplied with intelligence about the agency employees’ involvement in the massacre.

While the intelligence was provided by the IDF, the military establishment didn’t expect the explosive information to leak into the public domain. It emerged that Lazzarini relayed the allegations to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and began firing employees, eventually reporting the developments to U.S. officials.

Unnamed IDF officials cited in the NYT report were concerned that the allegations had been disseminated without Israel having devised a proper strategy for the fallout.

European countries, from the UK to Germany, as well as the United States, Canada and Australia all froze funding to UNRWA amid reviews in the aid agency and its employees.

While some have pushed for a complete shutdown of the agency, including U.S. lawmakers and Israeli ministers, others — including unnamed senior IDF officials — have said that it was inadvisable to do so during the war when UNRWA was providing needed humanitarian aid.

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Hamas Turns Down Hostage Deal, Demands Israel Release More Terrorists

Families of hostages and supporters protest to call for the release of hostages kidnapped on the deadly October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

i24 NewsHamas on Sunday said it rejected the proposed hostage deal formulated in Paris, demanding that Israel release more Palestinian terrorists locked up in Israeli jails, according to a Saudi outlet.

There are 136 hostages held in Gaza by Hamas and other Palestinian jihadists, abducted during the October 7 incursion and massacre.

The statement comes hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated Israel had “red lines” which could not be crossed.

Thus, the leader said, Israel will not end the war until all its goals are met, namely “the eradication of Hamas, the rescue of all our hostages, and ensuring that Gaza will never again pose a threat to Israel.”

“We will not agree to every deal, and not at any price,” he said, adding reports in the local media whereby Israel agreed to freeing large numbers of terrorists were not true.

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Dennis Ross Is Blaming Israel Again

Former Clinton adviser and US Mideast envoy Dennis Ross. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgFormer U.S. Middle East envoy Dennis Ross just can’t stop blaming Israel.

Speaking via Zoom for the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism & Policy on Jan. 31, Ross offered some expected, perfunctory criticism of Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah. But again and again, he managed to bring in one-sided and unfair criticism of Israel.

Referring to Israel’s counter-terrorism actions in Judea and Samaria, Ross said: “West Bank violence [by Arabs] is not disconnected from Israel’s policies in the West Bank.”

That’s just absurd. The terrorists are not responding to Israeli policies. They were murdering Jews long before there were any settlements or so-called occupied territories. They oppose Israel’s existence, not its borders. It’s these terrorists who are the aggressors, and Israelis must respond to them.

Regarding Gaza, Ross said: “The Israelis haven’t done everything they could to spare civilians in Gaza.” Is he kidding? The Israelis have refrained from striking terrorist targets where there are civilians. They have personally warned civilians to evacuate, again and again, through leaflets and phone calls and public announcements. They have risked the lives of their own soldiers by going house to house, instead of just bombing from the air. What else can they possibly do?

Ross also commented on the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice—the ruling that failed to condemn Hamas and demanded that Israel give more aid to Palestinians in Gaza. He said the ruling was “not irresponsible” and that it was provoked by “extreme statements by Israeli politicians.” That’s simply nonsense. The statement that the court cited most prominently was made by Israel’s left-leaning president, Isaac Herzog, who said that many ordinary Gazans supported the Hamas massacre, which was a perfectly reasonable statement of fact.

The practice of saying a few perfunctory crucial words about terrorists and then “balancing” it with criticism of Israel is typical of the grotesque “even-handedness” that Ross and his colleagues pushed during his many years at the U.S. State Department.

That approach was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. There can be no “balance” between good and evil. Israel and the Palestinian Authority are not on the same moral level. Israel is America’s loyal, reliable, democratic ally. The P.A. is a terror-sponsoring, hate-mongering dictatorship.

In recent months, Ross has been saying that Israel should allow the Hamas leadership to leave Gaza in exchange for the release of the remaining hostages. He points to Israel’s decision in 1982, under U.S. pressure, to allow PLO chief Yasser Arafat and thousands of PLO terrorists to leave besieged Beirut.

But Ross never mentions what happened after Arafat left. He didn’t retire. He set up PLO terrorist headquarters in Tunisia, and then 20 additional years of terrorism followed—suicide bombings, intifadas, mass shootings, stabbings. Ross’s new plan would have the same result.

This is the same Dennis Ross who has acknowledged—on the op-ed page of The Washington Post in 2014—that he pressured Israel to allow Hamas to import concrete. Ross wrote that the Israelis opposed his demand because they feared that Hamas would use the cement to build terror tunnels. Ross insisted the concrete would be used to build houses, and because of his pressure, the Israelis gave in. We all know the result.

In his Zoom talk this week, Ross had the chutzpah to mention that Hamas used imported cement to build tunnels instead of homes, though never mentioned that he was the one who helped them to get that cement into Gaza in the first place.

Ross is frequently quoted in The New York Times and invited to appear on television shows and webinars. He’s treated as if his past involvement in Mideast diplomacy makes him an expert on how to make peace today. Yet every one of those diplomatic efforts failed. He has never facilitated real peace because he continues to pretend that both sides are to blame for the absence of peace.

The Jewish world is full of talented speakers, thinkers and writers. Surely, our institutions should be able to find more thoughtful lecturers than those same tired, old critics of Israel with their familiar and disastrous proposals.

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