Gilman Hall at John Hopkins University. Credit: Pixabay/David Mark.
(JNS) — Anti-Semitism watchdog groups are raising alarm over a graduate student and teaching assistant at Johns Hopkins University who threatened to fail pro-Israel students, while also making disparaging remarks about Israelis and white people.
“We find it alarming that a teaching assistant at a major university is expressing a clear intent to punish students on the basis of their race, Jewish identity or national origin as Israelis — all protected categories under state and federal non-discrimination laws,” Yael Lerman, director of the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department, said in a statement.
In November, the TA, who was identified by StopAntiSemitism as Rasha Anayah, at John Hopkin’s University’s Thor Research Group wrote a series of tweets where she not only threatened to fail pro-Israel students.
In one tweet, she asked: “Ethical dilemma: if you have to grade a zionist student exam, do you still give them all their points even though they support your ethnic cleansing? like idk.”
Her survey had the choices of “be a good ta” and “free Palestine! fail them.” The “fail them” response received 78 percent of the vote, to which she said “like i agree but also too many of you want me to get fired.”
Additional tweets from Anayah also included disparaging remarks about Israelis and white people., including: “y’all allah looking out for me. The majority of undergrads in chem here are white and i was blessed enough to be paired w a black woman to mentor who has good race analysis. Didn’t get pinned with an israeli or some b**ch white boy to have to share my knowledge with.alhamdulilah [Thank God].”
She also complained that a classmate who had been on Birthright Israel had a Tel Aviv street sign sticker on her laptop. “It stabbed me every time she opened it” and she would have “lost it” if she had been paired with her.
According to Canary Mission, Anayah is also treasurer of Students for Justice in Palestine at Johns Hopkins and was previously a board member for “Bears for Palestine” at the University of California, Berkeley, where she obtained a degree in chemical biology.
While Johns Hopkins has not issued a formal statement on the incident, Sunil Kumar, from the university’s provost office, said in an email to StandWithUs that it is “aware of the incident.”
The statement further noted that while privacy concerns prohibit them from providing more information: “We wish to assure you that we take seriously any and all allegations of discrimination, harassment, or other misconduct – including anti-Semitism.”
“Any link between grading and bias runs counter to our values and policies, and we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that does not occur.”