A Rutgers University professor has published multiple social media posts containing antisemitic canards and caricatures, including blaming the Armenian genocide on Jews, describing Judaism as “the most racist religion in the world,” and calling Israel a “terrorist country.”
As first reported by the Israellycool blog, Michael Chikindas — a microbiology professor at Rutgers’ department of food science and director of the school’s Center for Digestive Health — promoted dozens of anti-Jewish conspiracies and comments on his Facebook page this past May, among them references to “international fat Jewish pockets,” and descriptions of “orthodox Judaism” and Zionism as “the best of two forms of racism.”
In one post, Chikindas claimed, “Israel is the terrorist country aimed at genocidal extermination of the land’s native population, Palestinians,” and added: “we must not forget that the Armenian Genocide was orchestrated by the Turkish Jews who pretended to be the Turks.”
He argued that Israel was failing in this attempted “extermination” mainly “because of the number of the Jews of ‘alternative’ sexual orientation (25% of the Tel Aviv inhabitants are gay/lesbians and Israel has more of these than the Netherlands).”
In an earlier post, Chikindas wrote “that Israel, the country of the Jews and for the Jews, has one of the highest percentage of gays in the world.”
The professor also called Judaism “the most racist religion in the world” and shared an interview with Christopher Bollyn, a conspiracy theorist who has claimed American Jews and Israel orchestrated the 9/11 attacks.
Chikindas’ Facebook timeline is filled with images depicting classic antisemitic libels, including a graphic suggesting Jews — portrayed by the Happy Merchant, a caricature of a hook-nosed Jewish male with a kippah — control the Federal Reserve, Hollywood, the “cancer industry,” “pornography,” “wars for Israel,” and “sex-trafficking,” among other things.
Another image featured the Jewish caricature — representing Israel — being carried by American soldiers and saying, “I am God’s chosen people, you filthy goyim.” A third cartoon showed a Jewish man with a large, hooked nose and a yellow “Jude” star on his suit jacket stealing money from a hungry American boy, and exclaiming, “be a patriot, goy! Somebody’s got to pay 10 billion to Israel.”
Other images depicted an Israeli flag overlaying the White House; accused Zionists of playing “the Anti-Semitism Card”; quoted former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters leveling charges of “apartheid” against Israel; and expressedsupport for the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.
Chikindas also published multiple posts referring to women — including Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev, First Lady Melania Trump, and President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka Trump — as “b**ches” and in some cases “sl*ts.”
After sharing an article claiming to expose the “global elite,” he wrote, “These jewish motherf*****s do not control me. They can go and f**k each other in their fat a***s — you see, I really do not have anything to loose (sic), hence nothing to be controlled.”
In an interview with The Algemeiner on Tuesday, Chikindas rejected accusations of antisemitism, indicating that he was once married to and had a child with a Jewish woman, and had some 25 percent Ashkenazi Jewish lineage himself.
When read comments he made about Judaism, Chikindas pointed to the Talmud — a text containing Jewish law and tradition — which he claimed features racist and supremacist passages, as well as to “extremely degrading racist messages” he said he received on YouTube from accounts with Hebrew-language handles.
These messages — written in Russian, sent from “Jews who were originally from Russia,” and containing vulgar, personal insults, according to Chikindas — were provided as further evidence of the religion’s supposed racism.
Chikindas also said that he was open to having a “civilized” discussion on these issues, and claimed that his postings did not violate any of Facebook’s policies.
Neal Buccino, a spokesperson for Rutgers, told The Algemeiner that “Professor Michael Chikindas’ comments and posts on social media are antithetical to our university’s principles and values of respect for people of all backgrounds, including, among other groups, our large and vibrant Jewish community. Such comments do not represent the position of the University.”
He added that while Rutgers respects the free speech rights of its faculty members, it also seeks to “foster an environment free from discrimination, as articulated in our policy prohibiting discrimination.”
“The university is reviewing this matter to determine if actions taken in the context of his role as a faculty member at Rutgers may have violated that policy,” Buccino added.
This is not the first time that a professor at Rutgers — New Jersey’s largest publicly-funded research university — was caught making comments that were criticized for being antisemitic.
Jasbir Puar, an associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers, has come under fire for comments she made at a 2016 faculty-sponsored event at Vassar College, where she repeated allegations that the bodies of “young Palestinian men … were mined for organs for scientific research,” according to a transcript of the talk provided by the Vassar alumni group Fairness To Israel.
She asserted at the time that Israel’s actions could be called a “genocide in slow motion,” and said, “We need [the boycotts, divestment and sanctions movement] as part of organized resistance and armed resistance in Palestine as well.”
In a 2015 essay, Puar also wrote that “Palestinian trauma is overshadowed” because “Israel in particular and Jewish populations in general have thoroughly hijacked the discourse of trauma through exceptionalizing Holocaust victimization.”
Mark G. Yudof, former president of the University of California and current chairman of the Academic Engagement Network (AEN), and Kenneth Waltzer, executive director of AEN, wrote in response to Puar’s 2016 comments, “Wild charges against Israel have often been aired on U.S. campuses over the past several years, and their moral perversity pointed out. But Ms. Puar’s calumnies reached a new low.”
“Characterizing Israel and Zionism in ways that anti-Semites formerly characterized Jews has become a stock in trade among anti-Israeli activists on college campuses,” they added.
Puar is set to publish a new book through Duke University Press next month, which argues that Israel seeks to injure and maintain “Palestinian populations as perpetually debilitated, and yet alive, in order to control them.”