A Kent State University associate professor of history is standing by his call for "jihad" and his statement that Israel is "a regime that is the spiritual heir to Nazism."
In an "open letter" to "academic friends of Israel," Julio Pino accuses the pro-Israel academic community of being "directly responsible for the murder of more than 1,400 Palestinian children, women, and elderly civilians."
In his statement that quotes former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and compares the academics to alleged Nazi collaborator and philosopher Martin Heidegger, Pino writes: "Your names are scrawled on every bullet fired, bomb dropped, body buried and burnt forehead in Gaza. May your names become a curse word on the lips of every justice-loving person on earth, along with 'Obama' and 'Netanyahu.'"
On Tuesday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center sent a letter to Kent State, a public university in Kent, Ohio, that benefits from more than $137 million in state appropriations, asking that they denounce the professor:
"We urge you to condemn the recent, highly offensive and blatantly anti-Semitic remarks of Julio Pino — an Associate Professor of History at your university," the organization wrote to Kent State University President Beverly Warren.
"Kent State is known for its proud legacy of Jewish studies, scholarship, and life; yet, when the state of Israel defends herself against thousands of rockets targeting Israel's heartland launched by terrorist Hamas and a newly discovered underground of terrorist tunnels, Pino victimizes other academics with his vile propaganda, espousing terror and tarnishing Kent State's good name while targeting Jewish and pro-Israel members of the campus community.
"We strongly urge you to unequivocally denounce and repudiate Pino's anti-Semitic diatribe. Such hate speech left unchallenged will only serve to create a hostile environment for Jews and others at Kent State," the Wiesenthal Center wrote.
The university agreed with the center, releasing a statement that said, "We condemn the professor's statement as reprehensible and irresponsible. At Kent State, we value collegiality and mutual respect. Assailing the public with broad statements of culpability violates these principles."
This is not the first time Pino has not only expressed views critical of Israel, but has gone to egregious lengths to express them.
A report by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America says Pino interrupted a student-run event on campus in 2011 featuring Israeli-Arab diplomat Ishmael Khaldi. According to the Kent State student paper:
"Standing at the back of the auditorium, Pino asked Khaldi how he and his government could justify providing aid to countries like Turkey with blood money that came from the deaths of Palestinian children and babies. The crowd fell into an awkward silence as the two continued to exchange words from across the auditorium."
"It is not respectful to me here," Khaldi said.
Pino responded by saying, "your government killed people," and claimed Khaldi was not being respectful to him.
"I do respect you, but you are wrong," Khaldi said. "It's a lie."
The exchange ended as Pino stormed out of the auditorium shouting "Death to Israel!"
A pro-Israeli group, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), also noted, "In 2002, Pino published a eulogy in the campus paper praising Palestinian terrorist Ayat al-Akras, who murdered two Israelis, Rachel Levy and Chaim Smadar," and "Pino has been accused of having ties to terrorists and had his home raided in 2009 by the U.S. Secret Service."
Pino told Watchdog.org in an email that he stands by "every word of my original statement."
"Israeli racism and apartheid must be opposed by all those who treasure justice, but American academics have a special obligation to speak out, in my opinion, given that the U.S. government endorses and arms the Zionist regime and no politician dares to expose the ugly truth of the Gaza massacre," he said.
"As for 'intimidating the students,' truth is like the lance of Achilles; it cures the very wounds it causes."
The university has not said if they intend to take further action against Pino.
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