A college professor of the Middle East and Islamic Politics at the University of Denver recently said that the Israeli intelligence body, the Mossad, was responsible for the attack on Salman Rushdie in New York.
On the show “Iran Podcast,” Professor Nader Hashemi while explaining the events surrounding the terrorist attack on Rushdie with host and Iranian journalist Negar Mortazavi, describes several explanations behind the attacker’s motives and whether it is related to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Near the end of the show, Hashemi explains that the most likely possibility of what happened was that “this young kid, Hadi Matar, was in communication with someone online who claimed to be an IRGC supporter and lured him into attacking Salman Rushdie.” This so-called person, according to the Professor, “claimed to be affiliated with the Islamic Republic of Iran and could’ve been a Mossad Operative.”
The explanation by Hashemi drew outrage from various groups and individuals on social media, pointing out that information by investigators shows that Rushdie’s attacker had close ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its Shiite Lebanese terrorist proxy Hezbollah.
Hashemi then backed up his theory by blaming Israel’s opposition to the revival of the Iran nuclear agreement, prompting the interviewer Negar Mortazavi to say that hawkish influence inside Iran and Washington D.C. were also trying to “sabotage diplomacy” in several ways. In response to the statements made by the Professor, social media users on Twitter expressed their outrage against Hashemi and the University of Denver, arguing that the public institution was catering to the propaganda of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Alireza Nader, an Iranian scholar and commentator on Twitter, posted the full podcast link and timestamp where the professor made his statements. Nader then explained that Hashemi provided no evidence for his explanation, pointing out that his position as a college professor has ramifications for young American college students.
Other Iranian experts like Karmel Melamed, an Iranian American journalist based in Southern California, also took to Twitter to comment on the college professor’s comments, calling him a propagandist for the Ayatollahs in Iran to “deflect from their criminal activities.”
Speaking to the Foreign Desk, Melamed said he was “utterly disgusted after listening to Professor Hashemi’s comments on the podcast when he claimed without any solid evidence or any credible facts that Israel’s intelligence agency attempted to kill Salman Rushdie.”
“Sadly, there is a growing trend among certain pro-Iranian regime “academics” in major American universities to spread this vile form of Jew-hatred by hiding behind anti-Israel comments. When they attack Israel, the only nation-state of the Jewish people they are attacking Jews,” explained Melamed.
Regarding the outrage from Iranian and Jewish Americans over Hashemi’s comments, Melamed stated that he regularly interviews and speaks with many Iranian American activists and leaders of various faiths who outright “reject this vile form of Jew-hatred.”
On Twitter, the leading non-partisan American-based group, Stop Antisemitism, commented on Hashemi’s statement, outlining the professor’s history of calling Hamas terrorists “moderate,” excusing Palestinian terrorist violence, and demonizing the state of Israel.
The issue of college professors in America blaming Israel for terrorist attacks and spreading pro-Islamic Republic messages has been significantly increasing over the past few years in the education sphere. In many public colleges, college professors and faculty continue to espouse anti-Israel and antisemitic statements against Jews while promoting or whitewashing the actions of groups like Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist movements that mirror the goals of the Islamic Republic of Iran on college campuses.
Additionally, colleges in America employ pro-Islamic Republic officials like Mohammad Mahallati, who have covered up human rights abuses by the Islamic Republic of Iran, spread pro-Islamic Republic messages to college students in classes, and refused to denounce the regime today. In response to colleges, Iranian activists, human rights groups, and others have called on colleges to fire such individuals from teaching in universities, spreading awareness to college students on social media and through rallies about the individual and their professors.
In Congress, Republicans and Democrats have responded to the outcry from many protesters and reports about pro-Islamic Republic professors, calling on colleges to explain their actions. “The University of Denver must demand Professor Hashemi’s immediate resignation because these types of academics should not be poisoning the minds of America’s youth with any form of hatred– especially Jew-hatred,” said Melamed.